Rosy HUD projections mean rental aid could drop for Sacramento families

By Brooke Purves

Families waiting to get into a housing voucher program may have to be extra patient.

In its annual study, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development projected that Sacramento-area fair market rents will drop in 2015 to their lowest since the height of the Great Recession.

That means HUD will shell out less money to local housing voucher programs.

For example, funding for Shelter Care Plus, which offers rent subsidies to homeless individuals with HIV/AIDS and other underserved health issues, was cut by $300,000 for 2015.

No one will be booted from SCP housing, said Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency spokeswoman Angela Jones. But it does mean that the money currently supporting more than 150 of the 500 total families being served won’t be reallocated when those families leave the program.

HUD-projected rent prices also directly affect how much individual vouchers can be worth, so families in assisted housing may have to pay a larger percent of their rents. A projected dip in rents means smaller vouchers. That’s even though Sacramento Steps Forward executive director Ryan Loofbourrow said his organization hasn’t seen actual rent prices drop.

Loofbourrow did note, though, that a $2.4 million bonus to create permanent supportive housing units put total HUD money in Sacramento at around $18.7 million, which is still more overall funding than last year.

Overall, the projected fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Sacramento County this year is $1,012—$60 less than last year’s.

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