Families participating in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program benefit from a subsidy each month to help pay their rent and utilities. The subsidy varies for each family depending upon the family's size and income.
The U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has mandated that PHAs in selected metropolitan areas, including Decatur Housing Authority, begin using Fair Market Rents (FMRs) based on zip codes, called Small Area Fair Market Rents (SAFMRs), to establish payment standards, effective April 1, 2018. SAFMRs regularly published by HUD, represent the cost to rent a moderately-priced dwelling unit in the local housing market. The purpose of this change by HUD is to provide HCV-assisted families greater access to neighborhoods with good schools, lower crime, better transportation, employment opportunities and quality housing.
In accordance with the federal regulations, housing authorities set payment standards that are between 90 percent and 110 percent of the Small Area Fair Market Rents. The Payment Standard is the maximum amount of assistance a family can receive.
Payment standards are not the maximum rent that can be charged by landlords. This is the maximum amount of assistance a family can receive, but the owner's monthly payment from the housing authority may be different. The amount of rent the family can afford is based on the family's income.
Regardless of the SAFMR or payment standard, the amount of rent an owner can charge must be "reasonable" in comparison to unassisted rental units in the neighborhood with similar amenities.