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The goal of Cityscape is to bring high-quality original research on housing and community development issues to scholars, government officials, and practitioners. Cityscape is open to all relevant disciplines, including architecture, consumer research, demography, economics, engineering, ethnography, finance, geography, law, planning, political science, public policy, regional science, sociology, statistics, and urban studies.

Cityscape is published three times a year by the Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

  • Small Area Fair Market Rents
  • Volume 21 Number 3
  • Managing Editor: Mark D. Shroder
  • Associate Editor: Michelle P. Matuga

Small Area Fair Market Rents, Race, and Neighborhood Opportunity

Kirk McClure
University of Kansas

Alex Schwartz
The New School

This article assesses the potential of Small Area Fair Market Rents (SAFMRs) to help Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) recipients, especially Black and Hispanic recipients, secure housing in high-opportunity neighborhoods. Examining large metropolitan areas, it is estimated that increasing the availability of rental housing in high-opportunity neighborhoods may not work well, especially when HCV recipients are Black or Hispanic. Racial segregation and discrimination may still discourage Black and Hispanic voucher holders from moving into high-opportunity neighborhoods when these neighborhoods are predominantly White. Moreover, widespread implementation of SAFMRs could make it more difficult for minority voucher holders to find eligible units because the maximum qualifying rents would be reduced in many neighborhoods with large concentrations of minority voucher holders. For the SAFMR program to succeed, supporting transportation and housing counseling services will be needed in addition to extensive landlord outreach.

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