Against the background of an emerging rental affordability crisis, we examine how the standard rule that households should not spend more than 30% of their income on housing expenditures leads to inefficiencies in the context of federal low‐income housing policy. We quantify how the current practice of locally indexing individual rent subsidies in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program regardless of quality‐of‐life conditions implicitly incentivizes recipients to live in high‐amenity areas. We also assess a novel scenario for housing policy reform that adjusts subsidies by the amenity expenditures of low‐income households, permitting national HCV program coverage to increase.

 

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