SECTION 8 WAITING LIST CLOSED
The following are commonly asked questions that will help you understand the program:
What are housing choice vouchers?
The housing choice voucher program is the federal government's major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market. Since housing assistance is provided on behalf of the family or individual, participants are able to find their own housing, including single-family homes, townhouses and apartments.
Housing choice vouchers are administered locally by public housing agencies. (PHAs) The PHAs receive federal funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to administer the voucher program.
A family that is issued a housing voucher is responsible for finding a suitable housing unit of the family's choice where the owner agrees to rent under the program. This unit may include the family's present residence. Rental units must meet minimum standards of health and safety, as determined by the PHA.
A housing subsidy is paid to the landlord directly by the DHA on behalf of the participating family. The family then pays the difference between the actual rent charged by the landlord and the amount subsidized by the program.
Am I eligible?
Eligibility for a housing voucher is determined by the DHA based on the total annual gross income, criminal background, family size and is limited to US citizens and specified categories of non-citizens who have eligible immigration status.
During the application process, the DHA will collect information on family income, assets, and family composition. The DHA will verify this information with other local agencies, your employer and bank, and will use the information to determine program eligibility.
If the DHA determines that your family is eligible, the DHA will put your name on a waiting list by date, time and local preference if applicable. Once your name comes to the top of the waiting list the DeLand Housing Authority will contact you by mail. It is very important and the applicant's responsibility to notify the agency in writing if they change their mailing address.
How do I apply?The housing authority has to be accepting applications in order for you to apply. Since the demand for housing assistance often exceeds the limited resources available to HUD and the local housing agencies, long waiting periods are common.
Housing vouchers - how do they function?
The housing choice voucher program places the choice of housing in the hands of an eligible individual family. A family is selected by the PHA to participate and is encouraged to consider several housing choices to secure the best housing for the family needs. A housing voucher holder is advised of the unit size for which it is eligible based on family size and composition.
The housing unit selected by the family must meet an acceptable level of health and safety before the DHA can approve the unit. When the voucher holder finds a unit that it wishes to occupy and reaches an agreement with the landlord over the lease terms, the DHA inspector must inspect the dwelling and determine that the rent request is reasonable prior to tenant moving in, if not already living in unit.
The DHA determines a payment standard that is the amount generally needed to rent a moderately-priced dwelling unit in the local housing market and that is used to calculate the amount of housing assistance a family will receive. However the payment standard does not limit and does not affect the amount of rent a landlord may charge or the family may pay. A family which receives a housing voucher can select a unit with a rent that is below or above the payment standard. The housing voucher family must pay 30% of its monthly adjusted gross income for rent and utilities, and if the unit rent is greater than the payment standard the family is required to pay the additional amount. By HUD regulation, whenever a family moves to a new unit where the rent exceeds the payment standard, the family may not pay more than 40 percent of its adjusted monthly income for rent.
The rent subsidy
The DHA calculates the maximum amount of housing assistance allowable. The maximum housing assistance is generally the lesser of the payment standard minus 30% of the family's monthly adjusted income or the gross rent for the unit minus 30% of monthly adjusted income.
Can I move and continue to receive housing choice voucher assistance?
A family's housing needs change over time with changes in family size, job locations, and for other reasons. The housing choice voucher program is designed to allow families to move without the loss of housing assistance. Moves are permissible as long as the family notifies the DHA ahead of time, terminates its existing lease within the lease provisions, and finds acceptable alternate housing.
Participants cannot destroy or leave unit with damages and expect to move on to another unit
Under the voucher program, new voucher-holders may choose a unit anywhere in the United States if the family lived in the jurisdiction of the PHA issuing the voucher when the family applied for assistance. Those new voucher-holders not living in the jurisdiction of the PHA at the time the family applied for housing assistance must initially lease a unit within that jurisdiction for the first twelve months of assistance. A family that wishes to move to another PHA's jurisdiction must consult with the PHA that currently administers its housing assistance to verify the procedures for moving.
Roles - the tenant, the landlord, the housing agency and HUD
Once the DeLand Housing Authority approves an eligible family's housing unit, the family and the landlord sign a lease and, at the same time, the landlord and the DHA sign a housing assistance payments contract that runs for the same term as the lease. This means that everyone -- tenant, landlord and DHA -- has obligations and responsibilities under the voucher program.
When a family selects a housing unit, and the PHA approves the unit and lease, the family signs a lease with the landlord for at least one year. The tenant may be required to pay a security deposit to the landlord. After the first year the landlord may initiate a new lease or allow the family to remain in the unit on a month-to-month lease.
When the family is settled in a new home, the family is expected to comply with the lease and the program requirements, pay its share of rent on time, maintains the unit in good condition and notify the DHA of any changes in income or family composition.
The role of the landlord in the voucher program is to provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing to a tenant at a reasonable rent. The dwelling unit must pass the program's housing quality standards and be maintained up to those standards as long as the owner receives housing assistance payments. In addition, the landlord is expected to provide the services agreed to as part of the lease signed with the tenant and the contract signed with the PHA.
Housing Authority's Obligations:
The PHA administers the voucher program locally. The PHA provides a family with the housing assistance that enables the family to seek out suitable housing and the PHA enters into a contract with the landlord to provide housing assistance payments on behalf of the family. If the landlord fails to meet the owner's obligations under the lease, the PHA has the right to terminate assistance payments. The PHA must reexamine the family's income and composition at least annually and must inspect each unit at least annually to ensure that it meets housing quality standards.
The Housing Authority, landlords, and clients combine the whole to form the Section 8 Program. One could not survive without the other. We all must work together to maintain an understanding and partnership.
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