In response to Missoula’s skyrocketing rents, HUD has granted MHA a special “Success Rate Fair Market Rent” which is higher than the established FMRs.
“These new payment standards will allow our families with vouchers to be able to afford the rents in this escalating market,” says Jim McGrath, Director of HUD Programs.
In the Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) program, the amount of rent that a unit can cost is capped by the payment standard which is set based on the HUD-determined Fair Market Rent (FMR) for the area. FMRs are derived from census data from the previous years.
This year the FMR for Missoula rose by about 4%. However, market rents rose by as much as 16%.
“For the first time I’ve ever seen, our payment standards were so far below market that very few homes were within reach,” McGrath says.
The new Success Rate FMRs are 10% higher.
“Also, due to the number of tenants that received steep rent increases in the past year, members of the Board of Commissions expressed the hope that we could implement them quicker than the usual phased-in deployment,” McGrath says. “Thanks to another HUD waiver, we were able to make these effective for impacted families on November 1, even for ones not due for the change for many months.”