On April 1, 2018, Pinellas County Housing Authority (PCHA) began using a new method to calculate the amount of money we will pay toward rent and utilities for each family on our Housing Choice Voucher and Homeownership Programs. Under this new approach, the standard we use to determine the maximum subsidy for a rental unit, known as the payment standard, is based on the rent estimates for each ZIP code.
WHY IS THE METHOD CHANGING?
Until now, the amount the HA would pay toward rent for families with vouchers was based on rental rates across the entire metropolitan area. The new approach uses localized rent in each ZIP code, called Small Area Fair Market Rents (SAFMR), to determine how much assistance families with vouchers can receive. Use of this new approach is mandatory by HUD for all HA’s in Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL MSA.
Families will be able to use their vouchers in more places than would have been possible before – including neighborhoods with higher rents that may have high-performing schools, low levels of poverty and access to grocery stores, parks and other modern amenities.
WHAT ARE PAYMENT STANDARDS?
Payment standards are used to calculate the maximum subsidy the Housing Authority (HA) will pay for a rental unit. Under the HCV program, participants are generally required to pay 30% of their adjusted income for rent and utilities. The HA then pays the difference between the family’s required contribution and either (a) the payment standard or (b) the gross rent (rent plus estimated utilities) of the unit – whichever is lower.
If the payment standard for a ZIP code is: $ 1,000
And the gross rent (rent + utilities) for a unit you are interested in is: $ 1,200
And your rent contribution (30% of your adjusted income) is: $ 600
The payment standard ($ 1,000) minus your rent contribution ($ 600) is: $ 400
The gross rent ($ 1,200) minus your rent contribution ($ 600) is: $ 600
$ 400 is less than $ 600, so the Housing Authority would pay $ 400 toward rent.
HOW WILL I BE AFFECTED?
Payment standards for certain bedroom sizes in zip codes 33709, 33781 and 33704 are decreasing (see below). PCHA has chosen to adopt the Hold Harmless policy for decreasing payment standards within its jurisdiction. If you currently reside in one of these zip codes and bedroom sizes, the payment standard will remain at or above the current payment standard for as long as you remain in your current unit.
Current Payment Standard—–1408—-1686—–1939
Decreased Payment Standard—1375—-1670—–1900
Effective April 1, 2018, for all voucher holders, if you move from your current unit, you may be subject to an increase or a decrease in the payment standard depending on the zip code of the new unit you choose. Below are the current ranges of payment standards by bedroom size for 2018. Payment standards are subject to change based on current fair market rents and availability of funding.
If you choose to move from your current unit, your housing advisor will provide you a complete list of zip codes accessible to your household based on your adjusted income and the respective payment standards for each ZIP code. You will receive this information at your moving appointment.