Vanessa Cooper, executive director of The Housing Authority of the City of Alameda, told Action Alameda News that the federal agency responded to regional pressure to increase fair market rents in Alameda County to reflect rising rental prices.
Fair market rents set the total rent that can be paid to a Section 8 landlord through housing assistance. If fair market rents fall too low below market rents, Section 8 landlords can drop out of the program, seeking higher market rents.
The housing authority worked with other regional housing authorities on a $110,000 rent survey last fall in the Alameda-Oakland-Contra Costa area; the point of the survey was to challenge HUD’s data which showed small increases and some decreases.
The local survey pushed HUD towards an average 34 percent increase in fair market rents, which were approved earlier this month.
The federal agency, however, hasn’t increased subsidy funding for Section 8 housing. The City of Alameda housing authority expects that this year it will exhaust roughly 60 percent of its applicable reserves to support low-income households in Alameda.
Over 400 Alameda landlords participate in the local Section 8 program; landlords that wish to join can call the housing authority for information.