Feds raise rates of fair market rent in Kitsap.

Starting April 11, the fair market rent, or FMR, for Kitsap County will increase by nearly 20%. The increase — amid an ongoing affordable housing shortage in the county — comes after the Bremerton Housing Authority challenged a proposed increase of 2% for fiscal year 2022, which was less than the rate of inflation, according to BHA.

Fair Market Rents (FMRs) are used to determine payment standard amounts for the Housing Choice Voucher program, to determine initial renewal rents for some expiring project-based Section 8 contracts, to determine initial rents for housing assistance payment (HAP) contracts in the Moderate Rehabilitation Single Room Occupancy program (Mod Rehab), rent ceilings for rental units in both the HOME Investment Partnerships program and the Emergency Solution Grants program, calculation of maximum award amounts for Continuum of Care recipients and the maximum amount of rent a recipient may pay for property leased with Continuum of Care funds, and calculation of flat rents in Public Housing units.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) annually estimates FMRs for Office of Management and Budget (OMB) defined metropolitan areas, some HUD defined subdivisions of OMB metropolitan areas and each nonmetropolitan county.

That level would have made it even more impossible for those who hold Section 8 vouchers to find housing in an increasingly competitive real estate and rental market, according to the housing authority.

The Bremerton Housing Authority partnered with Washington State University and Housing Kitsap to perform a rent survey that it presented to HUD, requesting the re-evaluation of FMR. HUD agreed to make the change.

“Although the affordable housing crisis is a multi-pronged issue, being able to pay more will support both our families and landlords trying to keep pace with the market,” said Jill Stanton, BHA executive director. 

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