Changes to Voucher Program Increase Rental Choices for Section 8 Participants

In a tight rental market where rents continue to rise, Home Forward has made two changes to its Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) program to make it easier for voucher holders to find a home.

The first involves the lease agreement tenants enter into when they first start a relationship with a landlord.  "We have required 12-month terms for initial leases to help ensure stability for our participants," said Jill Riddle, director of Rent Assistance.  "However, we know that some landlords would prefer a shorter term, so we now will also accept a six-month lease."  After the initial period, leases may be set for different terms, including month-to-month. 

The second program change involves increasing payment standards in areas of Portland where apartment rents have been rising rapidly.  The agency now has higher payment standards -- the maximum subsidy a voucher from Home Forward can provide -- for one and two bedroom units in areas of inner central Northeast, inner central Southeast, Northwest, and downtown Portland.  The higher payment standards are not available in census tracts that have poverty rates above 20% to encourage housing choices in areas of the community with less poverty.

The areas with the higher payment standards are:

Area  Zipcode
Inner Central Northeast 97232,97212,97213,97218,97211             
Inner Central Southeast       97214,97215,97202,97206
Northwest/Downtown 97201, 97205, 97209, 97210, 97229,97231  

The higher payment standards do not apply in the following census tracts:

Area Census Tracts Excluded from Increase
(current standards remain in effect)
Inner Central Northeast 20, 22.03, 33.01, 34.01, 34.02, 73, 74, 75, 76   
Inner Central Southeast       8.02, 9.02, 10, 11.01, 20, 80                    
Northwest/Downtown 48, 51, 52, 55, 56, 57, 106

For a map of the areas where the new payment standards apply, click here.

For Home Forward's payment standards for all areas of the Multnomah County, click here.

Updated June 1, 2012