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Small Area Fair Market Rent Demonstration Evaluation Final Report


May 8, 2019

Abt evaluated HUD’s Small Area Fair Market Rent (SAFMRs) demonstration, which tested whether basing housing subsidies on market rents in specific ZIP codes would give households that received Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV) better access to areas of opportunity. The evaluation found that HCV recipients were more likely to live in high-rent—and higher opportunity—areas.  In the demonstration, participating public housing agencies increased or decreased subsidies for rents based on market rates in specific ZIP codes, making it easier for families to afford units in higher opportunity areas. Traditional housing voucher subisidies are based based on metropolitan-wide rents, which means that recipients are typically priced out of high-opportunity areas and are more likely to live in areas with greater poverty and lower access to opportunities environmental quality.