Civil rights groups are fighting the suspension of a HUD rule they say helps low-income families move to better neighborhoods.
Barnes, 37, had initially wanted to move to Garland from Richardson, Texas, because it was one of the few places in the Dallas area she could afford using her roughly $1,100-a-month federal housing choice voucher, and one she thought would provide a better neighborhood for her three kids. When Barnes realized she wanted out of Garland, she was able to move again to Royse City, a suburb in Rockwall County that fair housing advocates would call “higher opportunity”: It has better schools and a lower crime rate. Barnes was able to move not because of a radical change in her financial status, but because of a new way of calculating the payments for housing vouchers in the Dallas metropolitan area.
The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, run by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), subsidizes the housing costs of more than 2 million low-income households in America. Its current subsidies are based on the Fair Market Rent (FMR) standard, which public housing authorities calculate for each metropolitan area, and is generally around the 40th percentile of rents in the region.