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Research Shows the Effects of Small Area Fair Market Rents

Seth Embry, PHADA Policy Analyst

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition for Federal and Federally Assisted Programs. Also known as the Uniform Relocation Act, the Uniform Act, or the URA, the original Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970 provides important protection and assistance for people affected by federally funded projects. Congress enacted this law to ensure that people whose real The final 2019 issue of Cityscape features a symposium of research on various elements of Small Area Fair Market Rents (SAFMRs) grouped into two categories: research on HUD’s SAFMR Demonstration and research concerning SAFMR implementation pursuant to HUD’s 2016 Final Rule and implementation mandate.

SAFMRs were introduced primarily to help families assisted by the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program to afford to rent homes in lower poverty communities and thereby reduce the presence of voucher holders in high poverty areas. HUD and other observers also noted that computing Fair Market Rents (FMRs) based on rent costs for an entire metropolitan area was ineffective and produced significant disparity between actual rent costs in an area and the FMR. There was spirited discussion, however, about whether SAFMRs were the best remedy to the inaccuracies of metro FMRs. Advocates for renters and children asserted that SAFMRs would provide the necessary incentives to help families move into high opportunity communities, while other experts, including practitioners and industry groups cautioned that SAFMRs would add complexity, costs, and reduce the number of families assisted in the HCV program.

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