A New Ruling Will Make Section 8 Housing Less Restrictive as of Jan. 1

Three houses in a Cleveland, Ohio neighborhood.

Low-income families in 23 metro areas across the country will have better chances at finding housing in more affluent neighborhoods in the new year, thanks to a recent federal court ruling.

According to the Washington Post, a federal judge recently overturned the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s decision to delay implementing an Obama-era rule that would expand housing choices for families receiving Section 8 vouchers.

Currently, when most families receive Section 8 housing vouchers, the amount of money they get is based on rental prices averaged across an entire metro area. The subsidies typically aren’t enough for low-income families to afford to live in middle-class neighborhoods.

This leaves many families who rely on public housing assistance to live in “deeply segregated, high-poverty communities,” the Washington Post reported.

In Obama’s last weeks in office, HUD decided that, instead of basing housing vouchers on rental prices for an entire metro area, it would go by average rental prices in individual neighborhoods.

Essentially, a Section 8 recipient who wanted to move into a rental home in a pricier neighborhood would be granted a bigger government subsidy than a Section 8 recipient moving into a home in a less expensive neighborhood.

However, under Trump’s administration, HUD wanted to hold off on implementing this new ruling for about two years to provide more “time to fully understand its effects.”

But last week, a federal judge declared the delay was unnecessary and ordered the department to put the rule in place by Jan. 1.

This will give families with Section 8 housing vouchers more choices to find housing, including in more affluent neighborhoods where there are better job opportunities, lower crime rates and higher-rated schools.

Check out the Washington Post article for more information, including the list of 23 metro areas where the new rule will go into effect.

Nicole Dow is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.