Housing Voucher Utilization Data: Sources and Methodology
Updated November 11, 2013
The number of “Authorized Vouchers” that housing agencies can use is a number set and approved by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and reflects the historical allocation of funding by Congress. It does not reflect current relative need. The data for each agency were downloaded from HUD’s Resident Characteristics Report (RCR) and other HUD sources. To calculate voucher utilization rates for each year, we used the authorized count as of the prior December, except for 2004 and 2005, where we used data for January and June respectively, because comparable data were unavailable.
“Vouchers in Use” represents the average number of housing vouchers leased during the calendar year, as reported by housing agencies to HUD’s Voucher Management System (VMS). All Housing Choice vouchers, including those issued under the veterans’ supportive housing (VASH) program, were included in the figures for authorized vouchers and vouchers in use. Section 811 (i.e., five-year mainstream) vouchers were excluded from the data, to the extent that we were able to identify them. The data may not reflect corrections submitted by agencies after HUD released the data, but do reflect adjustments by CBPP to correct for obvious errors.
“Percent of Authorized Vouchers in Use” is equal to the average number of vouchers in use in a given year divided by total authorized vouchers as of the prior December, except for 2004 and 2005, as noted above. We used authorized vouchers as of the prior December in the denominator to account for the time it takes housing agencies to lease up new vouchers.
For an explanation of the estimate of the number of fewer families assisted in 2014 due to sequestration, please see the Methodological Appendix of the paper, “Sequestration Could Cut Housing Vouchers for as Many as 185,000 Low-income Families by the End of 2014.”
The amount received by private owners for voucher assistance payments in 2012 is the total reported Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) for calendar year 2012 from VMS.
Agencies marked with a single asterisk (*) are funded according to their agreements with HUD under the Moving to Work demonstration; such agencies are permitted to shift voucher funds to support public housing and for other purposes. Agencies marked with a double asterisk (**) were potentially affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. Leasing data for these agencies may be unusually low in some years due to reporting problems, an actual decline in leasing resulting from the dislocation of voucher holders, or the use of voucher funds for other purposes (such as the rehabilitation of damaged public housing) under special waiver authority granted temporarily by Congress.
“N/A” indicates the agency did not administer vouchers during that year or that the data reported for the year are incomplete.