On March 30, HUD published a notice titled “Fair Market Rents for the Housing Choice Voucher Program and Moderate Rehabilitation Single Room Occupancy Program Fiscal Year 2017; Revised.” The notice revises the Fair Market Rents (FMRs) for Portland, ME and Vallejo-Fairfield, CA. Additionally, the notice also responds to comments that were submitted by NAHRO and other interested stakeholders on how FMRs are calculated and what constitutes a “material change” in FMR estimation. While summarizing all the stakeholder comments and HUD’s responses is outside the scope of this blog post, listed below is one comment NAHRO articulated in its comment letter and HUD’s response.
The original notice publishing FY 2017 FMRs noted that The Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016 (HOTMA) required that HUD seek comment on “any proposed ‘material changes’ in methodology.” HUD sought comment on what should be considered “material changes.”
In its comment letter, NAHRO wrote the following:
HUD should take an expansive view of what constitutes a “material change” in FMR estimation methods . . . NAHRO’s rationale behind this recommendation stems from NAHRO’s belief in open, transparent government that clearly explains its reasoning behind changes and allows feedback, which NAHRO believes is in the best interest of program participants and all other interested stakeholders. (Page 3 and 4.)
HUD responded by writing:
HUD appreciates this comment and HUD is taking an expansive view on what constitutes a “material change” and intends to provide an opportunity for public comment on all FMR methodological changes in forthcoming proposed notices of material changes in FMR calculations.
This is welcome news because it ensures that HUD will not change the methodology for calculating FMRs without allowing NAHRO and other interested stakeholders to offer input.
The rest of HUD’s responses to NAHRO’s comments and the comments of other stakeholder can be found in the notice (along with the revised FMRs) here.