A new report from The Colorado Trust finds growing rental housing rates are squeezing the choices available for low-income families who rely on assistance from the federal Section 8 housing choice program.
Nationally, 2.2 million households have housing choice vouchers, or about 6 percent of the rental housing market. Once a voucher holder finds an apartment, they are only expected to pay approximately a third of their monthly income toward rent to their landlords, while the government covers the remaining cost.
Studies have found that vouchers only cover the cost of 15 percent of units in wealthier neighborhoods, but 68 percent in poorer neighborhoods. This means voucher holders are less likely to have the educational and professional opportunities, green spaces, lower crime rates and health care access that living in a more affluent area often allows—which, in turn, has long-term and sometimes serious implications for health and earning potential.
Housing vouchers issued under the Section 8 housing choice program don’t match average rents for one-bedrooms in many Colorado cities. Source (Colorado): Housing voucher payment standards from metro housing authorities; Rent averages from Rent Jungle as of August 2016.