Friday, December 13, 2019

2018 Oregon: HUD Vouchers Are 64% of Federal Rental Assistance Costs, 3rd Highest Percentage in the Country.

CBPP has published updated estimates of rental assistance units and 2018 costs for all states HERE; their Oregon profile can be found HERE

I took some supplemental information provided by CBPP and created a 4 page PDF table HERE and embedded below that breaks out rental assistance costs by program and then shows the share of total rental costs by program. 

  1. HUD and RD spent $426.7 million on rental assistance in Oregon.
  2. HUD spending on Oregon vouchers was $275 million, 64% of all rental assistance. 
  3. That 64% voucher share of total federal rental assistance spending in Oregon was the third highest in the country, following only California and Nevada (67%). In contrast, the national percentage of voucher spending to total federal rental housing assistance spending was 50%. 
  4. Oregon's 15% share of spending for project based rental assistance was substantially below the national average of 25%, as was Oregon's 7% share of public housing spending vs the national average of 15%. 
  5. Bottom line: Any change in voucher spending will impact Oregon much more than other states.

Originally created and posted on the Oregon Housing Blog.

Monday, December 9, 2019

VASH Vouchers Reduced Net Permanent Housing Need for Homeless Veterans by 67% in Jan 2019; Reduction Even Greater if Unused VASH Vouchers Were Fully Leased.

HUD published 2019 veteran PIT homeless data in November HERE before the full range of 2019 homeless PIT data was published.

It took me a while to figure this out but formerly homeless veterans with VASH housing vouchers do not count in the PIT counts of homeless veterans. They don't count because they are in permanent housing and PIT veteran homeless counts include ONLY unsheltered veterans or veterans living in temporary housing.

I thought it would be instructive to go back to January 2019 and capture the number of VASH vouchers in USE as of January 31 and compare that to the count of homeless veterans by state. 

The graph and table I created is pasted below and demonstrate that a "Housing FIrst" approach has significantly reduced the number of homeless veterans in every state in the country. 

  1. In EVERY state (and in the nation) the number of VASH vouchers in use (by formerly homeless veterans) in January 2019 exceeded the number of remaining homeless veterans. 
  2. Nationally if the 73,877 VASH vouchers in use in January 2019 were added to the 2019 PIT total homeless veteran count of 37,081 the total of homeless veterans (including previously homeless veterans who now have VASH vouchers) would jump  to 110,958.
  3. This means that the 73,877 VASH vouchers helped reduce the total count of homeless veterans (including previously homeless veterans) by 67%.  [The graph below illustrates this point].
  4. This leaves only 33% (37,081 of 110,958) of total homeless veteran's (including previously homeless veterans) permanent housing needs UNMET.  
  5. That 33% unmet need percentage for homeless veterans would be even LOWER if the full allocation of 97,576 allocation of VASH vouchers as of Dec 2018 were in use (23,699 allocated VASH vouchers were NOT in use as of January 2019) AND would be even lower if the any day now allocation of 5,000 FY 2019 VASH vouchers were also in use.
  6. In contrast to homeless veterans, only 25% of very low income renter households had rental assistance; this means that 75% of the housing need for all low income rental households is UNMET vs 33% for homeless veterans

Originally created and posted on the Oregon Housing Blog.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Oregon Housing is Revising Rent Increase Policy. My Suggested Improvements to the Draft.

On Friday the Oregon Housing Stability Council is being asked to weigh in on revisions to the OHCS rent increase policy adopted in April of 2018.  I have posted the relevant pages of the draft policy from the meeting packet HERE

The draft policy revisions are designed to "streamline processes, align with the current market, and enhance transparency". My suggestions are primarily intended to "enhance transparency".

In April of 2018 I raised a number of questions (HERE) about the then proposed policy and after reading the proposed policy my new observations and suggestions are below. 

Observation 1: The proposed policy briefing says (pg 71) that 600 requests have been reviewed under the former policy, but there is no data on what was requested and what was approved nor the times that it took to complete the reviews.  This information is vital to inform the decision making process. 

SUGGESTION 1. Retroactively (April 2018 to Nov 2019) and at least annually publish at the county level a summary of requests received, the existing and prospective increase rates requested, and the increase requests approved. 

Observation 2: The policy brief says (pg 91) that owners will be required to repay rents in excess of approved amounts but provides no information on how OHCS will discover excess rents. 

SUGGESTION 2: Clarify the procedure by which excess rents will be discovered, including the timing and the frequency of reviews intended to surface excess rents.

Observation 3: There is no way that I can see that a prospective tenant will know what the current allowable rent is except by contacting every project of interest. In the same geographic area, or even the same neighborhood, allowable rents for prospective tenants may differ significantly from the maximum rent using HUD income guidelines.

SUGGESTION 3:   Publish and regularly update the maximum allowable current rents for all projects (that are subject to the rent increase policy) on the web so that prospective tenants can effectively shop for the best choice/value for their needs. 

Observation 4: The enhanced review says that severe rent burdens will be part of the review criteria  (pg 79) and notes that OHCS already tracks severe rent burden data (pg 80). However, my recollection is that for 100% LIHTC projects tenant income data is not collected after the first anniversary and rent burden data calculated after the first anniversary may not be accurate if tenant income has increased.

SUGGESTION 4A: Clarify that the owner is permitted to obtain current income from existing tenants in preparing their request for an Elevated Review Rent Increase so as to accurately reflect severe rent burdens.

SUGGESTION 4B: Using the existing data source publish at least annually by county OHCS calculations of severe rent burdens for tenants of projects subject to the rent increase review policy. 

Observation 5:  I don't see any planned effort to solicit tenant or public input to the draft policy before possible adoption in January 2020. 

SUGGESTION 5:  Post the proposed policy for at least 14 days on the OHCS website and solicit public and tenant input as well as other stakeholders. 

 Originally created and posted on the Oregon Housing Blog.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Oregon: In Last 15 Months HUD Has Funded an Additional 1,095 Vouchers to Help Veterans and Non Elderly Disabled Renters.

My recent post HERE details the latest HUD funding for 446 additional Mainstream vouchers for Oregon non elderly disabled renters. (Here's a City of Salem announcement of their Mainstream voucher award).

HUD has also funded recently additional VA-VASH vouchers for homeless vets in Oregon. 

I combined the counts of new HUD-VASH vouchers for homeless veterans with the Mainstream vouchers into a single table showing the additions by Oregon housing authority. 

The table below shows that in the last 15 months HUD has funded an additional 1,095 Mainstream or HUD VASH deep subsidy vouchers in Oregon. [NOTE: I anticipate that HUD will announce another round of VASH vouchers in December so this total will likely increase (by perhaps 200+?)]. 

Using even a modest estimated HUD cost of $8,000 per voucher the annual cost for these additional 1,095 deep subsidy vouchers would be $8.76M per year/$17.5M+ per biennium. 

Originally created and posted on the Oregon Housing Blog

Monday, November 25, 2019

New Oregon HUD Mainstream Vouchers for Non Elderly Persons with Disabilities Increase Households Served by 79%.

In time for the holidays HUD just announced new Mainstream voucher allocations (Mainstream vouchers provide tenant based housing for non elderly persons with disabilities). 

Ten Oregon PHA's received an additional 446 Mainstream vouchers.

I was able to find Oregon Mainstream vouchers in use data as of September 30th and prepared the table pasted below showing the Mainstream numerical and percentage increase by PHA. 

  • Total Oregon mainstream vouchers increased from 568 to 1,014, an increase of 446 vouchers/79%.  
  • The City of Salem got the biggest numerical increase of 75 vouchers, while Lane county (278%/25 vouchers) and Yamhill county (242%/63 vouchers) got the biggest percentage increases. 
  • Nine Oregon PHA's still do not have ANY Mainstream vouchers. 

Originally created and posted on the Oregon Housing Blog.