After Scrutiny, CHA Cuts Value of ‘Super Vouchers’

Michelle Manchir, Chicago Tribune, August 18, 2014

Chicago Housing Authority voucher recipients will no longer receive enough assistance to place them in the city’s most luxurious high-rise buildings under a new policy, the agency announced Sunday.

The policy targets “super vouchers” that allow low-income recipients to receive up to 300 percent of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Fair Market Rent, which for the Chicago area is $826 for a one-bedroom apartment. The new limit will be 150 percent, according to the release.

The policy change comes barely a month after the agency came under scrutiny for its use of the vouchers to put families in apartments where rent can start at $2,300 a month. In July, Republican U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock of Peoria called for an investigation to ensure the program is not wasting tax dollars.

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The CHA said its “exception payments,” or the extra-funded vouchers, affect less than 2 percent of its overall voucher portfolio. Those vouchers aim to “provide CHA families the ability to choose where they want to live and enjoy the great diversity that Chicago communities have to offer.”

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