Federal housing vouchers for low-income renters are too low to cover the market rent in many of the nation's job centers, according to a data analysis from Zillow
In its study, Zillow focused on the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Housing Choice Voucher program, which is designed provide renters with enough funding to cover 40 percent of the rentals in their market. The value of the vouchers is set according to HUD's Fair Market Rent index (FMR). However, Zillow's research determined that this threshold is not being met in 75 of the 100 largest counties, while in 15 counties the voucher holders could only rent less than 10 percent of available rentals.
Zillow added that low-income renters across the country can expect to spend more than 45 percent of their monthly income on rent, which is far higher than the 30 percent level suggested by federal policy. Zillow also noted that HUD's FMRs have not increased at the same rent as rising rents in many markets.
"Many markets with strong rent growth tend to also have the types of jobs that could help renters climb the socioeconomic ladder," said Zillow Chief Economist Svenja Gudell. "However, many low-income households, even those with a voucher, are increasingly being priced out of these markets, unable to find affordable housing options near these jobs. If rents and HUD's Fair Market Rents continue to move at different paces, this affordability crisis will only worsen for low-income renters."