Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Portland Metro PHA's: 118 Different HUD Housing Voucher Payment Standards for 3 Housing Authorities/Counties Receiving Metro Supportive Service RLRA Funding; Multnomah County Has 90 Voucher Payment Standards.

In 2016 I assembled for the first time all the HUD voucher payment standards for the 6 Portland metro housing authorities in an Excel file that can be found in my blog post HERE. [I limited the number of bedroom sizes from 0 to 4]. 

I recently reached out and got the current HUD voucher payment standards for the 3 Portland metro counties/housing authorities who receive Metro supportive housing funds.  

Washington county and Clackamas county payment standards are up to date, but Home Forward payment standards require updating as they originally published in December of 2020. Home Forward has indicated they expect to update their payment standards by early July. 

The Metro supportive services long range rental assistance [RLRA] uses FMR's instead of payment standards and as I have explained this causes inequities that could provide windfall rents to RLRA owners vs owners with HUD housing voucher tenants. 

These voucher payment standards allow a detailed geographic specific view of how much owners would received using 120% of FMR rents for the RLRA program vs the rents they would receive from the HUD housing voucher program. 

I combined the housing authority payment standards in a new EXCEL payment standard workbook HERE

  1. It includes 2022 data for the three Portland Metro counties including all PHA published bedroom sizes from SRO units to 8 bedroom units.
  2. A separate worksheet in the workbook has the 6 Portland metro housing authority payment standards from 2016.
  3. I also added a worksheet that will convert a 4 BR FMR to FMR's for 5-8 Bedrooms AND a convert  a 0 BR FMR to a SRO FMR. [HUD has formulas for doing so and they are used to do these calculations].

The Portland Metro Has Only 10 Different FMR's, But Housing Authorities Have Created 118 Different Combos of BR Size and Submarket Areas. 

In the three counties within the Metro supportive service tax jurisdiction there are 118 housing authority determined and published payment standards

  • 10 payment standards in Washington county (including a SRO payment standard)
  • 18 in Clackamas County (no SRO payment standard)
  • 90 in Multnomah county (includes SRO payment standard , separate 3 bedroom apartment/3 bedroom house payment standard, and no 8 bedroom payment standard)

The picture pasted below shows the 12 different payment standards/geographic areas for 1 BR units. Note that ALL area currently have RLRA rents at $1,814 /120% of the $1,512 FMR while the voucher payment standard in those areas varies from $1,105 to $1,512, 73.1% to 97.8% of FMR.

In Washington County There are Only 10 Different Published Payment Standards

  • Each HUD FMR has ONE Payment Standard
  • ALL areas and ALL bedroom sizes have a HUD voucher payment standard that equals 100% of FMR.[My understanding is that this was also the case for 2021]
  • This means that the  [RLRA] rent as a percentage of the  HUD voucher payment standard rent is 120% for all areas and all bedroom sizes.
  • This effectively means that Metro Regional Long Term Rental Assistance [RLRA] rents that are set at 120% of FMR will also be the same as 120% of the payment standard for all areas and all bedroom sizes. 
  • While this still means the RLRA rent will be 20% higher than the HUD voucher payment standard rent it won't be 33%-50% higher and it is one of the two options I recently recommended to the Metro Supportive Services Oversight Committee to reduce disparities between the RLRA and HUD voucher program. 
  • I applaud Washington county for this simplification of payment standards and note that required rent reasonableness determinations conducted by the housing authority are intended to document that the rent in a specific unit in a specific location is consistent with comparable units. 

In Clackamas and Multnomah County: These Counties Have the Same 10 FMR's as Washington County, But Instead of 10 Payment Standards There are 108 Different Published Payment Standards [Multnomah County has 90 of those 108 payment standards]. 

  • These two counties have  108 different payment standards. After removing duplicate payment standards for different subareas there are 45 unique payment standards (vs 10 in Washington county). 
  • NO area and NO bedroom size has a HUD voucher payment standards that equals 100% of the current FMR (and all areas and all bedroom sizes are below 100% of FMR).
  • This means that the ratio of RLRA rent to the HUD voucher payment standard set by the housing authority is MORE than 120% for all areas and all bedroom sizes
  • Home Forward has out of date payment standards AND  9 sub areas. 
  • Gresham, Outer SE and NE have a 1 bedroom payment standard of $1,105 that is only 64% of the HUD current FMR of $1,512. Home Forward needs to increase that payment standard to at least 80% of FMR ($1,209) when they are revised by early July. Even with changes gaps of more than 20% between RLRA rents and HUD voucher payment standards will likely remain, and revisions to the calculation of the RLRA rents or revision of the payment standards to get to 100% of FMR may be required.
  • The 97035 zip code where I live includes both Multnomah and Clackamas county. The 1 Bedroom HUD FMR is $1,512. The HUD voucher payment standard determined by the housing authorities is $1,204 for Multnomah county and $1,479 for Clackamas county--that's a 25% difference for the same zip code that needs to be addressed by Multnomah County in their upcoming publication of revised payment standards. 

I'm going to be encouraging PHA's to prominently display their current payments standards in a similar section of their website, likely in the voucher landlord or tenant section. 

I will likely add additional Portland metro PHA payment standards for Yamhill, Columbia, and Clark county in Washington once they appear to have incorporated the April HUD update to the Portland metro FMR. 

Originally created and posted on the Oregon Housing Blog

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