Section 8: Unfair Market Rent, Lowered Payment Standard for Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

Can you find a 1 bedroom apartment for $780 plus electric or $857 with electric OR a 2 bedroom apartment for $950 plus electric or approx $1035 with electric in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii? I’ve checked Craigslist and West Hawaii Today’s real estate ads. Guess what? The average rental is about $1000 for a ONE bedroom without electric- most are much higher. Two bedrooms can run anywhere from $1250-2500. It’s not even a choice of my staying here and paying the higher rent. Yes I could do that, suffer for a while. But what if I have to move. Where will I go? I could end up on the street.

What is HUD thinking? The goal of the Housing Authority is not to just issue Housing Choice Vouchers and Section 8 Certificates, but to ENSURE that people can FIND housing within 60-90 days. Usually when a voucher or certificate is issued, it expires in 60-90 days and it is up to the PHA (Public Housing Authority) who issued it in the area to either extend it or not. In Hawaii, they likely will not because so many people are on the waiting list. These vouchers and certificates are lifelines for people like me, who are disabled, for people who are hard to house, people who are economically disadvantaged, low-income, the working poor, etc. We are at the lowest strata of society. Many people are able to greatly improve their lives as a result, move out of bad neighborhoods, etc. Indeed, that is the goal of the PHA Section 8 program, to increase desegregated populations and help people move out of poor economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. Historically, reducing the payment standard has often seen people having no choice but to move back into those neighborhoods and worse, lose their housing. It is not right nor is it fair. In the end, payment standards had to be readjusted anyway. Their formula is based on 5 years of aggregated data compiled since 2009, and also renter move-in data, but for non-metro areas they discount the move-in data and use nationwide data which is not applicable in high rent areas such as Hawaii. This needs to be addressed. I wrote to the Office of Housing’s D.C. office regarding Fair Market Rent’s unfair data collection process and the payment standard’s negative affect on the poor tenants on their programs. Will you? Don’t let the Federal Government balance the budget on the back’s of our poorest citizens! Their address and phone numbers are:

Phone: 1-202-708-1112
TTY: 1-202-708-1455
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
451 7th Street SW
Washington DC 20410

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