Boston Globe: Current voucher program gives families little choice of where to live

Source: Boston Globe

Current voucher program gives families little choice of where to live

Letter to the Editor

Contrary to the point of the federal housing choice voucher program popularly known as Section 8, and as demonstrated in your July 7 editorial “Baker must do more on integration,” families participating in the program often do not have a real choice of where they can live.

As the largest regional administrator of the housing choice voucher program in Massachusetts, we at Metro Housing|Boston know that implementing the Small Area Fair Market Rent program would help families we work with find affordable homes and, perhaps, job opportunities in more communities.

The current federal payment standards are exactly the same in 31 of the 33 communities we serve. This means the maximum amount that the voucher will cover is the same, regardless of whether the apartment is in Boston, Brookline, Chelsea, Melrose, Newton, or Winchester. This defies logic and keeps families in low-cost, high-poverty areas. Small Area rents would allow true choice.

As a regional organization, we have seen families priced out when previously affordable neighborhoods and communities become too expensive. Moving to stay ahead of the next rent increase destabilizes households and results in near-constant turnover of social supports, such as doctors, schools, and friends.

Christopher T. Norris

Executive director

Metro Housing|Boston



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