Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A First: 79 Voucher Payment Standards for All 6 PDX Metro Housing Authorities.

HUD approved new PDX FY 2016 FMR's in early February, providing a 28% boost from last years level.

Readers may recall that housing authorities adopt "payment standards" that establish base amounts that generally are within 90-110% of the FMR.  Moving to Work housing authorities [Vancouver and Home Forward in our area] may have greater flexibility, up to 120% of the FMR.

Housing authorities can vary payment standards by bedroom size or area, or both.

While FMR information is readily available there is [oddly] no requirement that PHA's publish payment standards in a uniform manner. (I think they should be included in annual plans from the PHA's at a minimum).

In fact, in 35+ years in Oregon I have rarely if ever seen a comprehensive listing of Portland metro voucher payment standards so I recently reached out to 6 Portland metro housing authorities to request that information and to assemble it into a single Excel file HERE, and embedded below, showing payment standards for 0-4 bedrooms.  

I very much appreciate the assistance of those housing authorities who provided updated payment standard data to me and also commend those who post payment standard information on their web sites and/or in their PHA annual plans. 

Currently Home Forward uses 9 zip code/neighborhood sub areas to set payment standards and they also have separate payment standards for 3 bedroom houses and apartments, so they have a possible total of 54 payment standards. Adding in the other 5 counties there are a total of 79 possible payment standards in the Portland metro area.  

Because payment standards for different areas for the same size unit can be identical, the actual number of unique payment standards is less than the possible number of payment standards. For example instead of a possible 14 different 2 BR payment standards in the Portland metro area, there are a total of 10 unique values, ranging from 87% to $118% of FMR. 

My default I have set up the main worksheet with a filter that displays 2 BR FMR's for all 14 different areas. 

For 2 BR's you can see that PDX metro payment standards are as low as $1,050 (87% of the FY 2016 2 BR FMR of $1,208) for Outer SE (97233,97236,97266) and as high as $1,425 (118% of FMR) for both Northwest Portland ( 97210, 97229,97231) and  Inner and Center NE Portland ( 97212,97213,97218,97232).  

Outside of Multnomah County the lowest 2 BR payment standard is in 90% of FMR / $1,088 in Vancouver and Yamhill, and the highest is 100% of FMR / ($1,208) in Clackamas and Columbia counties.

Inclusionary Zoning and Payment Standards; 45% of PDX Oregon Payment Standards Are Too Low to Pay for Rents Set at 80% of MFI. 
The Columns to the far right show whether the payment standard is within the allowable rent for rentals whose affordability level is set at 80% of MFI. [This is the affordability level set in the recently enacted Oregon lifting of the preemption against local inclusionary zoning]. 

You can filter by housing authority, or bedroom size, or "Yes"/"No" results to identify those areas where the payment standard is either above or below the allowable rent at 80% MFI. [The 80% MFI level is the level used for the recently enacted Oregon inclusionary zoning statute].  

I count a total of 33 payment standards in Oregon where the payment standard is lower than the 80% MFI level. That means that only 41/55% of the 74 possible payment standards for the 5 Oregon PHA's in the Portland metro area are high enough to pay for a 80% MFI rental unit.

That percentage is even lower for 2 BR units. I calculate that only 3 of 13 (23%) of Oregon PDX 2 BR payment standards are high enough to make a 80% MFI unit ($1,323) affordable.

Note: These payment standards are being implemented at somewhat different time periods; Check with your local PHA to determine actual effective dates. 

Originally created and posted on the Oregon Housing Blog

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