Joseph Campagna

Joseph Campagna

Our friend Joseph Campagna is a real Thought Leader in the Developmentally Disabled Housing market. Here are his comments on this week's meeting at the New York Housing Conference:


"The objective of HUD’s proposal is to give voucher holders more access to “high opportunity” neighborhoods by increasing the subsidy in those neighborhoods which generally have higher rents but decreasing the rents in remaining neighborhoods. The impetus of the proposal is from a small experiment done in the Bronx in the 1990s and a more recent change in Dallas whereby families relocating to higher opportunity neighborhoods had much better social and economic outcomes.

All things being equal, I don’t think anyone would dispute those general findings.  However, in a low vacancy market such as NYC, the panel participants were concerned that it would just shift more cost burden to voucher holders with no real opportunities to find housing in the “high opportunity neighborhoods.”  Not all metro areas will be subject to the proposal.  However, NYC is listed to be affected.

For the I/DD population, the OPWDD subsidy is tied to HUD Fair Market Rates (FMR).  Any reduction in FMR is a step backwards for an already insufficient subsidy amount.  This is even more significant since most new affordable housing is NOT in the “high opportunity neighborhoods,” (Manhattan) but places in the Bronx and Brooklyn.

The public comment period is until 8/15/16.  Below is a more detailed explanation of the issue and a response position to the proposal.  If you agree, we encourage you to endorse it here at New York Housing Conference.

Joseph Campagna
Special Needs Housing Consultant

Tel: 212-363-0394

HUD has proposed drastic changes to the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program which will have a major impact on New York City’s rental market. HUD is soliciting public comments through August 15th. If you support the goals of reducing areas of concentrated poverty and increasing access to high-opportunity neighborhoods but are concerned about the nearly 56,000 impacted households whose Section 8 subsidy will decrease, forcing tenants to move in a tight rental market or pay more of their income towards rent to stay in their current home, please consider endorsing our joint comments or submit your own comments.

Overview of HUD Proposal:

HUD proposes to introduce Small Area Fair Market Rents (SAFMR) to New York City. With promising outcomes in a Dallas demonstration program, HUD proposes new rules for New York City and other regions with high levels of voucher concentration to both encourage and enable voucher holders to move to areas of higher opportunity and lower poverty. Instead of a citywide fair market rent (FMR), rents will be set by zip code. This “cost effective” proposal will raise allowable rents in some zip codes and lower them in others to more accurately reflect housing sub-markets within a region. This proposal is full of promise and may work well in some localities but in a high-cost, extremely low-vacancy city like New York, it will have disastrous consequences. Nearly 56,000 voucher holders’ rental assistance payments would go down.

HUD’s proposal is made without a Section 8 budget increase, so housing “opportunity” for some low-income families will come at the expense of others. Families who choose to stay in their current homes in low-income areas or those who are unable to move, will literally pay the price of higher rents for families using their voucher in more expensive neighborhoods. Half of impacted households are elderly and/or disabled with average annual income of less than $15,000. In a red hot real estate market which has driven homelessness to all-time heights and a vacancy rate of 3.4%, classified at emergency level by HUD, finding an apartment at all will be a challenge, even in an only marginally lower-poverty neighborhood.

With almost 200 SAFMR zip codes in New York City, this proposal would also be a very complicated and confusing system for new voucher holders and landlords to navigate.
— New York Housing Conference