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Housing,

How Do Homeless People Get Into Section 8 Housing?

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The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) conducted a survey in 2015 that reflected that Section 8 housing subsidy program was more effective than any other housing assistance program, at minimizing Homelessness. The vouchers were considered as more than just crisis assistance in offering secure housing.

According to the public housing estimates, the subsidies are never enough to meet the need for such assistance, and also that the subsidies kept on reducing.

How hard is it for a homeless person to get on Section 8 housing

There are a variety of eligibility requirements for Section 8 housing, which differ by state and sometimes the city. These requirements can be burdensome and completing the process can be difficult for many homeless, worsened by the fact that many have substance abuse and/or mental health issues.

The fact really depends on the following factors:

  • How many vouchers are in the system in a given area as they are not distributed evenly
  • How certain state/ region is taxed for the local voucher pool and the status of the housing market there.
  • Number of people with preference is on the list already and if the person applying has a preference
  • How many vouchers there are and are new vouchers injected in the system from the Fed

For example, in highly taxed areas, rents have shot up a good deal in the last few years, where new construction has been slow to meet demand. There is a low vacancy rate in such areas and population not making it a high priority to get new vouchers from the Fed so the system is very dependent on ‘churn’ of the voucher given up by people who already have them.

This creates a storm, and people with a preference have a wait of 6–10 years, people without one have very little chance of getting top of the waiting list.

What is “preferences”?

People applying for Section 8 come from two pools of applications, those are:

  • Preference: Elderly (65+), Families with Children, Non-Elderly Disabled persons, and Veterans.
  • Non-Preference: People who do not fall in the above categories or can’t prove it, but who meet the financial requirements a: The Poor/ homeless.
  • An exception takes place if the homeless person is particularly referred to the Housing Authority by DHS (the Department of Homeless Services).

In practice, people with a ‘preference’ get vouchers first. During the process of people in the first categories apply; people in the second group keep waiting. In numerous places that means forever.

The sheer homelessness in and of itself is not a preference within the Section 8 system. There are undersized ‘pilot programs’ that serve a handful of people in an individual state, but its insufficient and totally unapproachable once full. In certain cases, communities will have extra vouchers for homeless households, but this is also exceptional.

How to approach

  1. If you are homeless and eligible and in need of a voucher, you have to prove you have a preference. In case of your being over 65 years or having young children, it is as simple by providing some common identifying documents.
  2. Being disabled is not as straight forward, particularly true if you have a clear disability, don’t receive SSDI, and have limited to no treatment history. In this case, you file a non-preference application and need to upgrade it by proving you are disabled through gathering old records and seeking new lines of treatment.
  3. For veterans, it can be an equally annoying and long road. There are special vouchers for veterans whose service history is solid. Generally, people qualify for lesser and varying degrees of services from a prompt provision of a voucher to nothing at all. To find out where one falls can be a hard exercise. Some qualify for short term housing assistance but not ongoing ones. For example, one may not get a Veteran focused Section 8 voucher, but might get SSVF services which will pay rent for a shorter time.

Ineligibility

  1. Before the provision of this assistance, applicants will undergo a criminal background check. Federal law excludes Section 8 vouchers for registered sex offenders or who were convicted of making methamphetamine in public housing. Normally, illegal drug use will keep you out of Section 8 housing.
  2. Your proceeds may not exceed one-half of the average income for where you live and your family size. Even if you meet the 50 percent ceiling, you might have narrow chances to get Section 8 housing. Federal regulations reserve 75 % admissions for those whose income is 30 percent or less of the area mean income.
  3. Households can be eligible with one or more elderly or disabled residents under the care of a live-in aid or who are heads of the house or spouses; an elderly or disabled person may live alone and qualify as a family. However, unrelated occupants are not eligible unless they can prove a significant relationship.

The Section 8 system is a very intricate one with many factors going into a wait time. It is not pretty clear how long your wait will be.

Housing, Pennsylvania,

Pennsylvania Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

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What You Need To Know

A federally funded program that helps households with their home energy bills in all seasons. Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program is aimed at making winters and summers more comfortable for families. They pay the bills to make sure that the house stays habitable for its residents. This is achieved by providing heat in winter and air conditioning in summer. This plays a part in the healthcare of the people and keeps away any safety problems that may occur. There are different kinds of assistance that are provided by the Pennsylvania LIHEAP program. Amongst these, there are:

  • Bill payment assistance
  • Energy crisis assistance
  • Weatherization and energy-related home repairs.

The administration of this program has been carried out by the Administration for Children and Families. This program aims to make sure that no families suffer from harsh weather conditions.

Are You Eligible?

To qualify for the LIHEAP program, the annual income of a household is considered. The community program has to make sure of the following aspects as well:

  • A resident of the Pennsylvania state
  • Need for Financial assistance especially for home energy costs.

The household income that is considered is through the help of the following table. The annual income before taxes must be less than or equal to:

Size of Household Maximum Annual Income Level ($)
1 18,735
2 25,365
3 31,995
4 38,625
5 45,255
6 51,885
7 58,515
8 65,145

In case there are more than eight people in a household, an additional amount of $6,630 is added per person. It is vital to keep in touch with the managing agency in your area. This would allow you to know about the most recent and accurate guidelines.

Automatic eligibility is present for those families who are already a part of other programs. Amongst these programs there is:

  • Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP
  • Supplemental Security Income – SSI
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families – TANF
  • Certain Needs-tested Veterans Benefits

The eligibility of families going through immediate danger can also apply for crisis grants in this program. Qualified families receive a one-time payment that is sent to their fuel provider. The type of fuel does not majorly matter here. LIHEAP makes sure that the utility is properly provided to the highest number of families. These grants amount to $200 to $1,000 depending upon certain factors. Amongst these factors there are:

  • Household size
  • Income
  • Fuel Type

How To Apply

Families can apply to be a part of LIHEAP in three different ways.

  • Its application can be found on the COMPASS website. This online tool has been set up for the residents of Pennsylvania to apply without a problem. Applications for health and human service programs can be found along with benefits information.
  • The residents can also consider a written application by downloading it from the site. They have to simply print it, fill it and return it to the appropriate country office. The applications are present in both English and Spanish to cater to a larger audience.
  • Along with these aspects that make accessibility easier, there is also a local county assistance offices. They are present in the counties to help people with such an application. They provide the required guidance.

Once your application has been reviewed, there is a 30 day waiting period. On acceptance, you will receive a notice of eligibility and the approximate amount you will be provided.

In cases of crisis grants, the LIHEAP has a crisis program. It has outlined various emergencies where it will cater to the victims. Amongst these, there are:

  • Broken equipment or lines that requires fixing.
  • Scarcity of fuel
  • The shutting off of the main heating source
  • Fuel supply for less than 15 days
  • The danger of utility service termination. The family will be aware of this termination 60 days before when the notice has been sent.

For Further Information

Pennsylvania LIHEAP page can be visited in case of any queries or confusions. There is also a document present that may help. It contains general information about the program. There is a LIHEAP hotline available for the families; this is especially for those in crisis situations. This crisis situations assistance is available 24 hours a day.

1-866-857-7095

They have even made sure to provide the necessary services for people with hearing impairments or as such disabilities. For assistance, certain agencies can also be contacted as well that provide more details:

  • LIHEAP State or Territory agency
  • LIHEAP Indian Tribe or Tribal Organization agency

 

 

Housing, Ohio,

Ohio Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)

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What You Need To Know

A federally-funded program that goes by the name of the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP). Administered through the Ohio Department of Development, Office of Community Service (OCS), HEAP provides for low-income families. It aims to improve their lifestyle by providing them with financial aid for their home heating. This allows individuals to spend their money on other necessities of their lives without worrying about energy costs.

A one-time payment is made to the eligible individuals and it is paid directly to the vendors. This payment takes place for the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) regulated utility customers. For any non-regulated utility customers, vouchers are issued. The same can be said for master-metered and other applicants who do not have a utility bill in their name. This allows the program to make life easier for a larger number of people. It is especially important in the winter heating season. It helps to protect and safeguard people from health issues as well as any safety hazards.

Amounts allocated to the qualified families differ according to their eligibility factors. Considering that HEAP is federally funded, it has limited finances to help out. Therefore, it makes sure to allocate the budget in a manner that a large number of families are assisted. It also ensures that the most deserving families are catered to in the best manner.

Are You Eligible?

There are certain requirements associated with HEAP. This includes some basic aspects including the fact that the person should be:

  • A resident of the state of Ohio
  • S. national, citizen or legal alien
  • In need of financial assistance for heating or other home energy costs

The annual income of the person must also be either less than or equal to the following figure. It should be calculated before any taxes are deducted. It can also be said that this amount must be below 60 percent of the State Median Income.

Size Of Household Maximum Annual Income Level ($)
1 25,413
2 33,233
3 41,052
4 48,871
5 56,690
6 64,510
7 65,976
8 67,442

In case the household size is greater than eight members, add $1,466 extra for each person.

HEAP requirements also take into account the household income and residential status of applicants. Automatic eligibility is granted to people who are either a part of certain benefit programs themselves or their families are. Amongst these benefit programs, there is:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP
  • Supplemental Security Income – SSI
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families – TANF
  • Certain needs-tested Veterans benefits

A pre-screening tool is available to help people determine their eligibility. It is not the final application. Instead, it is a way for the people to realize whether they have the potential of receiving the benefits or not.

How To Apply

The application process for Ohio HEAP is said to be a simple one. An individual who believes they are eligible for its benefits can obtain and fill out an application. The form can easily be found in the nearest office available. The application is also available on the website. However, it is important to make sure that the individual goes through all guidelines and instructions related to the application. This would help them to save time as well as increase chances of acceptance.

A person can obtain the application involved in this process through:

  • The toll-free number set up for Ohio HEAP
  • Visitation to local community action agencies
  • Local libraries
  • Visitation to county Departments of Job and Family Services
  • A request at the area agencies
  • A request at the local utility offices.

Certain documents would need to be attached to the form. Therefore, it should be made sure that along with the application, the following is mailed as well:

  1. A proof for income in the past year
  2. A copy of the most recent utility/fuel bill
  3. Other documents as specified

The agencies available in your area can also help you in the application process. They can provide you with the necessary guidance and assistance that makes the whole procedure easier.

For Further Information

Ohio HEAP page has been set up to cater to the queries of people. It is easily accessible through internet browsers. A toll-free number has also been set up during business hours to provide any help required to people. It can be used five days a week from Monday to Friday:

1-800-282-0880

Ohio HEAP is also mindful of those people who have disabilities. Therefore, to make sure that proper services are provided to them, a toll-free number has been set up. This is for those hearing-impaired people who have a telecommunication device for the deaf:

1-800-686-1557

Housing, Iowa,

Iowa Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP)

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What You Need To Know

LIHEAP is a program that helps low-income households to manage their home energy bills. Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is making winters and summers easier for people with low income. A program that helps low-income households in managing their home energy bills. It is a federally-funded program that helps increase safety for individuals. The LIHEAP program has proven effective in reducing any health issues as well as fires or evictions.

In Iowa, the LIHEAP program is aimed at providing you with different types of assistance, including:

  • Bill payment assistance
  • Energy crisis assistance
  • Weatherization and energy-related home repairs

Iowa LIHEAP program has been administered by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF). The qualified households of this program are provided with a one-time payment. This is given in order to help them with their household heating, no matter what fuel type is used. It also goes hand in hand with the Weatherization program which helps to improve energy efficiency. The homes remain habitable with financial relief.

Are You Eligible?

To qualify for the LIHEAP Program, the homeowners or renters must be in line with the federal poverty guidelines. They must be at or below 175% of the 2017 guidelines. The annual household income before the deduction of taxes must be less than or equal to:

Household Size Annual Gross Income ($)
1 21,858
2 29,593
3 37,328
4 45,063
5 52,798
6 60,533
7 68,268
8 76,003

In instances where the households have more than eight residents, an additional $7,735 is added for each. It is important to stay in touch with the most recent guidelines. Therefore, the appropriate managing agency present in the area must be approached.

Eligibility for LIHEAP also usually allows you to apply for the Weatherization Assistance program. To avail this service, the applicant must be at or less than the following amounts:

Household Size Annual Gross Income ($)
1 24980
2 33820
3 42660
4 51500
5 60340
6 69180
7 78020
8 86860

If the household’s size is greater than eight than an addition $8,840 is added per person.

The payment received by the qualified applicants is, therefore, dependent upon various factors. Amongst these there are:

  • Household income
  • Household size
  • Type of Fuel Used
  • Type of Housing

LIHEAP’s objective is not to pay the whole bill but instead to cover the greatest needs. They wish to provide the necessary services for those that are unable to afford them. Eligibility also depends on factors like:

  • Are they applicants of other social programs such as SNAP, SSI, and TANF?
  • Are the applicants residents of the Iowa state as well as US citizens or registered legal aliens?
  • Is the heating system shut off?
  • Is the electric or gas heat shut off?
  • Are they out of or low on fuel?

If yes, then they are more likely to be eligible for the LIHEAP program.

How To Apply

The application process for this program can easily be found online. You can access the appropriate page through the Iowa Department of Human Rights website. In case, online is not the way for you, you can also contact your local outreach office. An appointment with an Iowa program representative must be set up through the local Division of Community Action Agencies. This representative will be able to carry out any necessary document verification. These documents are mentioned in the Iowa LIHEAP list that can be found on the website as well. Therefore, the representative can reject or accept your application.

Applications are opened from 1st November to 30th April every year. In the case of household members that are above 60 years or have a disability, the date is 1st October. These applications are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The “where to apply” page on the website allows you to see a network of agencies spread across the state. These offices are set up to make it easy for people to approach their local county office. They will help you concerning the application for services. You can simply locate your region’s office through the website which lists all the counties in Iowa.

The qualified applicant is notified as the payment is made to a utility or heating fuel vendor. This shows that the applicant is eligible for the protection of any energy utility disconnection. This is especially helpful in Iowa’s annual winter disconnection moratorium.

For Further Information

For contact purposes, you can simply access the Iowa LIHEAP page. More detailed and in-depth information can be found about LIHEAP through

  • LIHEAP State or Territory Agency
  • LIHEAP Indian Tribe or Tribal Organization agency

 

Florida, Housing,

Florida Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

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What You Need To Know

The low-income households in Florida required financial help for heating and cooling. Therefore, to help them out, LIHEAP provides grants. These grants help to fund the costs that help with the utility payment assistance. The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program has been set up to allow residents of Florida to avoid any safety issues. This includes health concerns that may take place due to harsh weather conditions. The program is aimed to pay their home energy expenses. This program is divided into three specific categories that include:

  • Home energy assistance
  • Crisis assistance
  • Weather-related or supply shortage energy crisis assistance.

In either case, the assistance requires certain criteria to be met before it can cater to the needs of applicants. LIHEAP is a program that has been administered through the help of the Administration for Children and Families. This is also known as ACF. The Department of Economic Opportunity plays a role in this program. Amongst these, they:

  • Apply for the funding from the federal government
  • Distribute funding through grants to non-profit agencies and local agency providers.
  • Monitor local agency providers to make sure that the funding is in compliant with the laws and rules. These are set by the state and the federal government.
  • Provide technical assistance to local agency providers to make sure that they are compliant with the necessary requirements.

It is important to remember that the Department of Economic Opportunity cannot:

  • Determine the eligibility of applicants
  • Help citizens get an appointment
  • Help citizens apply for assistance
  • Provide applications
  • Provide funds or direct assistance to citizens.

These services are actually the responsibilities of the local agency providers in Florida. The LIHEAP program in Florida can be summarized through the following aspects:

  • You can apply for the grant three times a year but not every month.
  • LIHEAP will pay for the natural gas and propane bill in the winter season if that is a primary source of heat. Otherwise, it will not be catered to.
  • The program is not aimed at paying your water, sewer and telephone service. It is focused on home energy.
  • The local agency provider makes a one-time payment directly to the vendor of the qualified family or individual.

 

Are You Eligible?

To enjoy the benefits of this program, there are certain factors to be met. These include that the person should be:

  • A resident of Florida State
  • In need of financial assistance, specifically in terms of home energy costs.
  • The household income before tax deduction is also considered. It needs to be either less than or equal to the following figures:
Size of Household Maximum Annual Income Level ($)
1 18,735
2 25,465
3 31,995
4 38,625
5 45,255
6 51,885
7 58,515
8 65,145

The household size can be greater than eight members. In this case, an additional amount of $6,630 has to be added per person. Guidelines may differ according to time and place, which is why it is important to approach the appropriate managing agency.

Automatic eligibility is also provided to certain applicants. These are those who are part of or their family is a part of other benefit programs including:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Certain needs-tested Veterans benefits

How To Apply

The process for this benefit program can be found through the local LIHEAP provider. They will give you the appropriate applications, documents and guidelines to be followed. This would help you to easily apply for the program as well as increase your chances of qualifying for it.

The local provider can be found through the county office. These have been set up in almost all the counties of the state. Therefore, with the agency name, address and telephone number you can get in contact and start the process. It is a sensible step to consider making an appointment with these agencies. This is due to the high number of requests that come in for help. Therefore, if you wish to properly complete your application, a staff person may be of great help.

For Further Information

A LIHEAP homepage is available in case of any queries that need to be answered. For more detailed information, you can also get in contact with them through the data outline. Therefore, all your confusion will be dealt with accordingly.

In cases where you wish to complain about the local agency provider, there is an appropriate authority that can be approached. This is not the DEO but the supervisor or the executive director of the agency.

 

Housing,

Advantages of Renting To Section 8 Tenants

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Renting property to the Section 8 tenants has its pros and cons but there are sure some advantages that overweigh the drawbacks.

If you are landlord looking to rent your property for the first time or in the business already, you must have considered renting your property to Section 8 tenants. Its benefits include government-subsidized income and free advertising. There are certain hardships of being a Section 8 landlord that overshadow the prospective rewards.

Here are the strategies for the landlord to adopt, in case you opt for renting out to low-income tenants of Section 8 housing program.

What is Section 8 and the initial procedure?

Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, which was founded in 1937, is an inexpensive housing initiative that permits landlords to rent homes at comparatively lower market rates to qualified low-income tenants.

In principle, this program pays the balance of a rent payment that exceeds 30% of renters monthly earnings. Being a federal program, run by Housing and Urban Development (HUD), it is carried out by the local Public Housing Authority of the individual state.

Before approval, building/ property is inspected and accepted by the local housing authority and the leasing amount must be at or below the Fair Market Rent set by HUD.

The Public Housing Authority will directly pay the subsidy amount to the qualifying property/landlord. The remaining amount of rent will need to be paid by the tenants.

Voucher types

There are following two types of vouchers

  1. The tenant-based voucher is connected with the tenant and this assistance moves with the tenant. The demand for Section 8 housing far surpasses the supply. Means vouchers are limited and applicants have to register in long waiting lists. And when the vouchers are received the tenants have to abide by strict rules.
  2. The Project-Based voucher is attached to a specific property. When tenants move into such property, they receive the same type of financial assistance with a difference that if they move the Section 8 program benefits stay with the property, benefiting the next resident.

Advantages of Renting to Section 8 Tenants: PROS

 

Renting to tenants having housing vouchers is a great decision for many property owners with a range of reasons; it is profitable, it is easier to work with the housing authority more than many people think, and properties usually rent more quickly. The manner in which it will work for you as a landlord chiefly depends on how you run your business. For example, huge property management companies easily handle the extra work that accompanies Section 8 rentals, while private landlords may not have the time to invest in the program. The benefits of renting out to tenants with vouchers include;

1)    Regular Rent Payments: The property owner is prevented of the delayed payments by the low-income tenants as the major portion of the rental amounts are paid by the Government and the tenant are also bound to pay their share on time.

2)    Pre-Screened Tenants: the tenants are prescreened by the authority for the criminal history and drugs testing for all family members providing extra protection to the property and the landlord. The program also provides you with current and previous addresses of the tenant.

3)    Constant Tenant Base: With the long lists of tenants in waiting in urban areas, your property remains rented continuously, improving the market-worthiness of your property and better chances of getting it rented.

4)    Free Advertising: HUD offers information to potential tenants, regarding the eligible housing units and lists of landlords ready to accept housing vouchers. This free advertising also increases the value of your property.

5)    Business Support Scholarship: Section8 landlords are offered scholarships by companies, to obtain property management training and discounts on property maintenance supplies.

At the same time many property owners consider the following as the disadvantages in renting their property to tenants of Section 8 housing program:

  • The landlords have to follow Rental Pricing Regulations like Fair Market Rent(FMR).
  • The properties in Lower Income Areas involve Risks of Renting like increased chances of property damage and water/ safety issues being ignored by the city authorities.
  • The owner has to wait initially for the rent as voucher payment is received after the tenant moves in
  • You will not be entitled to the security deposit(which is typical in most rentals) as HUD does not pay security deposits and pay only the monthly rent, which could be a problem for some owners.
  • Annual Property Inspections are made to check around 13 aspects of security and you have to continuously keep your property meet the set criteria with becoming difficult with some unruly tenants.
  • Sometimes owners find it difficult to sell their property with Section 8 tenants. Potential buyers, not interested in accepting vouchers may not want to deal with the hassle of ending leases to be able to rent to the free market again.

Conclusion

With the long tenant wait list for low-income rentals, you will always have tenants ready to move in and sign a lease. At the same time, you have the luxury of renting to the prescreened as renting to the free market, you cannot be guaranteed the tenants will be the most responsible.  While in renting to the section 8 tenants, who might be paying you as per FMR (which also increases 8% annually) but you got some government guarantees assurances of the damages to your property. The tenants in the section 8 program are also long term occupants.

 

Housing,

A Tenant’s Responsibilities under the Section 8 Voucher Program

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Tenants who receive Section 8 housing choice vouchers are obligated to follow several rules for the continuation of their vouchers. The responsibilities imposed upon them under Section 8 assistance are always in addition to the compulsions they already have under their respective State tenancy laws.

 

Tenants with Section 8 rent assistance must obey the provisions of their landlord’s lease, or the Authority may terminate their assistance. Thus, it is stressed to Voucher-holders that they must pay their contribution of the rent on time, maintain tidiness, avert any damage to the dwelling, forbid occupancy of the residence by unauthorized people, and not disturb neighbors, etc.

 

Once Section 8 approves an eligible family’s lease and housing unit, the family and the landlord sign a lease and, at the same time, the property owner and the local Housing Authority sign a housing assistance contract valid for the same term as the lease. This could translate as the client, the landlord and the Housing Authority have commitments and responsibilities within the rental voucher program

 

Here is the list of mandatory tasks, in detail, one has to complete as a Section 8 participant;

  1. Finding an Eligible Accommodation

In certain cases, the Section 8 program pays a major portion of a tenant’s monthly rent but the tenant has to find a private residence himself, one that fulfills the eligibility criterion of the program.

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has developed a website (Socialserve.com) where vouchers accepting property owners can post their housing units. Usually, the local housing authority also has a similar list for the convenience of Section 8 approved tenants.

It is on the part of the Voucher recipient to organize a meeting with owners or visit to these voucher accepting properties in the area where his application is approved for, including providing documents to the respective landlord and the Section 8 office. It is only then the officials will pay the visit to verify the HUD’s Housing Quality Standards.

A tenant must find a place to live and submit the “request for tenancy approval form” within 60 days after receiving the housing voucher. Most of the states do not offer an extension to this period except the City of Madison’s housing authority that allows ONLY one 60 days extension to this on written request. HUD says “one or more” extensions are allowed, so check with your local housing authority. (Note: since HUD doesn’t prohibit more than one extension, it’s possible you could dispute this if you are unable to find a place to live).

 

 

 

 

  1. Tenant to personally Live in the Unit

 

The voucher recipient is bound to personally live in the house which is approved and whose rent is paid directly to the owner, which means that the sub-leasing (even to other family members) is strictly prohibited according to the program rules.

 

  • Paying the Security Deposit

 

Voucher holders are supposed to pay the amount of security deposit to the landlord from their pocket. Those unable to pay this amount can apply to other local or federal assistance programs with the possibility of their getting the required money.

 

  1. Paying their Portion of the Monthly Rent

 

As per the program regulations and criteria the tenant is usually responsible for paying a certain percentage of the monthly rent of the accommodation which is calculated through his/her monthly income which is generally 30 to 40 percent of the tenant’s earning. The housing authority is supposed to pay the rest directly to the landlord, who signs a contract with the authority.

It is expected of the tenants to pay their portion of the rent on time, failing to do so time after time can result in discontinuation of their benefits.

 

  1. Abiding by the Lease Agreement Rules

 

Tenants of Section 8 are bound to follow the terms of the lease agreement they sign with the property owner, like a regular tenant. They do not have any additional protection from other tenants. Conditions of the lease agreement apply to them in the same way as they do to the millions of others. They are anticipated to keep the housing unit in a clean and livable condition without damaging it, not hurting other’s right to live comfortably in the same building or neighborhood. Section 8 tenants are particularly advised to desist from indulging in any kind of illegal activity. If there arises any maintenance, health or safety issue they are required to inform the owner.

 VI.         Updating Section 8 of Any Changes

The amount of assistance under the program mainly depends upon the two major facts i.e. the family income and household size. Any change in the status of these two needs to be immediately informed to the Section 8 office. For example, the birth of a new baby, any family member getting or losing a job, death of a family member, etc. Failing to report such change, a tenant could lose his/her voucher completely and even face legal action.

VII.         Notifying the Housing Authority and Landlord When Moving-out

There is a whole set of steps and processes that Section 8 tenants have to take when choosing to move out of a property they rented under this housing assistance.  They must notify the landlord before vacating in addition to informing the local housing authority managing the program at their locality.   In normal conditions, a tenant can move when his lease expires or after giving a formal written vacation notice 30-60 days in advance (depending on the state he is living in).

HUD says you cannot move-out with any debts owed to a landlord (that you rented with a Section 8 voucher) or Services or utility company (on a property you rented a Section 8 property). If you are moving out, and it’s not an unusual circumstance, try to make an even moving-out, the lease must be canceled (by agreement), not just broken.

 

In case there occurs a disagreement while leaving the legal assistance is always available to resolve the issue through Judicare.

 

Housing, News,

Can Non-Citizens and Undocumented Immigrants Get Section 8

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According to a study conducted in 2015 by Family Options Study for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the section 8 housing subsidy program was more effective in addressing the issue of homelessness than any other such program. The permanent vouchers were considered as more likely than a crisis assistance program in providing permanent housing solutions to the homeless which were increased the Obama administration. All homeless people can, in theory, get into section 8 housing.

In 2016, it was observed that these HUD homelessness grants were focused on refocusing solutions meant for urban areas where the competition was found sharp and emerging concerns of subsidies running out.

In 2017 the New Trump administration proposed around nine key cuts to HUD findings including lowering Housing assistance. Then in 2018 around $300 million cuts on this program was announced which amounts to almost 4.8 percent on the housing vouchers. According to public housing authorities, the even existing funding was not enough to grow or even maintain the program and initiated preemptive strategies. This included the withholding the housing vouchers and excluding certain communities from receiving the assistance.

Restricted or Unrestricted

  • Federal housing programs are either restricted or unrestricted. Restricted program means that at least one person of the household must be either a citizen or an eligible noncitizen while unrestricted means that anyone can apply regardless of their immigration status.
  • Section 8 and the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher programs allow families that are considered ‘mixed families’ to be eligible for this assistance. Mixed households are those that include members who are not citizens and do not have appropriate immigration status, to be eligible for assistance.
  • The HUD, however, adjusts the rent amount, the tenant pays based on the number of people in the household who are eligible immigrants. These programs do not require that the head of the household be a citizen or eligible immigrant. This is called prorated assistance or prorated rent.

Eligibility for noncitizens

Eligible noncitizens include the following:

  • Lawful permanent residents, any noncitizen living in the U.S. under legally recognized and lawfully recorded permanent residence. Also known as a “Green Card holder.”
  • Registry immigrants, People admitted for permanent residence by the U.S. Attorney General.
  • Refugees or foreign nationals in the U.S. who are unable or unwilling to return to their countries of origin because of fear of persecution.
  • Conditional entrants, Foreign nationals granted permanent resident status on a conditional basis have to remove the conditions of their status within two years from initial approval. Examples include a spouse of a U.S. citizen or foreign investor.
  • Parolees, Inadmissible foreign nationals allowed to leave an immigration inspection facility although not formally admitted to the U.S. Usually granted for humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.
  • Withholding grantees, Withholding from Removal granted by a judge to a foreign national slated to be returned to his or her country of origin. Granted on the basis of likelihood of persecution upon return.
  • Persons granted 1986 amnesty status, under the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act. persons who resided illegally in the U.S. prior to 1982 and meet certain conditions.
  • Victims of trafficking, or relatives of such a victim by meeting requirements of 2000 Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act.
  • Residents of the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau or Guam

Latest developments

In 2017, The Trump administration projected a rule intended to prevent undocumented immigrants from receiving federal housing assistance, the latest step in its efforts to ramp up enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws.

More recently in May 2019, Public housing authorities say they were blindsided by a proposed federal rule banning many immigrants from receiving housing assistance — and, they said, they will fight to keep it from being implemented, even if that means ending up in court. HUD Secretary Ben Carson told lawmakers, in a country with 4.2 million families waiting for Section 8 housing vouchers, it makes no sense to keep sheltering residents living in the US illegally.

As per HUD statement, a survey reflected that only 1 in 4 families who meet the criteria for housing assistance actually receive it. Some 2.6 million families are waiting for these vouchers, while another 1.6 million households are waiting for public housing. Cities, counties, and states have 60 days to comment on the proposed rule, which was issued May 10, 2019. This could affect roughly 55,000 American-born children, because many receive partial subsidies to live in public housing with parents or grandparents who do not have their papers, according to a National Housing Law Project analysis of HUD data.

He defended the proposed rule to expel from public housing immigrant with green cards, refugees or asylum-seekers. The rule would require inhabitants under age 62 to verify their immigration status and their public housing or housing voucher eligibility.

Some child and immigrants welfare associations have criticized the proposal. They have argued that the rule is pointless because by law, many migrants, including undocumented people, already are ineligible to receive housing subsidies. But the rule would ban every member of a household from receiving a subsidy even if just one family member is ineligible, including those over 62.

 

Housing, News,

San Diego County to Receive Millions for Section 8 Housing to Accommodate Low-Income Families

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The Section 8 Housing Program is a low-cost shelter project financed by the federal government planned for the families who have below-average gross income per annum, in the region they live. All those families in the United States with low or ones with too little income, who could not afford to pay monthly rent, are eligible to apply for Section 8 Program, provided that they meet the criteria and submit required documents.

The City of San Diego is experiencing an escalating housing market and unprecedented market rents. Therefore, additional incentives and strategies are necessary to ensure that recipients of incentives are housed in a timely manner while ensuring safe, decent and quality dwelling units.

The San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) is a public housing agency that provides housing opportunities for low-income and homeless individuals and families in the City of San Diego. In a recent move, SDHC announced that the agency is expected to receive approximately $20 million in federal funding to provide additional rental assistance to households with low income, including families experiencing homelessness, beginning with the Fiscal Year 2020, which starts on July 1, 2019.

“This is great news for San Diego. These additional funds will help the San Diego Housing Commission raise its rental assistance payment standards again as we continue to help as many low-income families as possible pay their rent in the expensive and tight rental market in the City of San Diego,” SDHC President & CEO Richard C. Gentry said.

The applicants for this scheme are evaluated on the rationale of income limits, family size, structure, expenditure behavior, criminal record, expropriation/ expulsion record and more. The family units, qualified for Section 8 low-income housing obtain support in the form of special housing vouchers that are issued by the Public Housing Agencies. PHAs are given finances from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Entitled families for this low-income housing program included in the waiting list in the specific area and on their turn, the PHA validate the eligibility to ascertain the conditionality of the criterion. It is important to note that due to the waiting lists are long of Section 8, sometimes it can take a few years before a family can get on top of the waiting list and until then a family can get disqualified for this assistance.

To get the permanent receipt of these vouchers, the eligible family needs to retain the eligibility conditions. The families can also join in particular self-reliance programs to be trained in how to attain sustainable financial independence without government support.

 

To find out more about Section 8 low-income housing in the U.S., look at the sections below:

  • What is Section 8 housing?
  • What are housing choice vouchers?

 

What is Section 8 housing?

Many families in the United States, who cannot pay for better accommodation, have to live in the second rate low-income housing units having very poor health and safety standards. If a family’s yearly income is less than the average income in the area, the family is entitled to apply for government support i.e. the Section 8 housing program. The objective of the Federal Government’s funded Section 8 program is to offer monetary assistance to appropriate low-income households, making them find a proper hired home in a good locality and pay a part of the rent through a lodging voucher.

At the local level, this program is executed by public housing agencies that establish eligibility and provide the vouchers. By serving families afford an upright house in a safe district, the federal government directly donate to an improved life standard and additional prospects for these families. Ultimately many households get to know the ways to able to uphold autonomous financial survival, free from reliant on public support.

The eligibility criterion for Section 8 low-income housing, families must earn 80 percent of the average area income. Very low-income families earn 50 percent the mean area income, whereas extremely low-income households earn 30 percent of the average income in their area. Families with lower are given preference for housing vouchers by moving them to the top of the waiting list. PHAs are, obligatorily provide 75 percent of the low-income housing vouchers to extremely low-income families. The PHAs publish the average income amounts each year as these amounts are diverse in all states and regions.

Besides earnings, the eligibility conditions of the families applying for this program are appraised against other aspects like the number of family members, family formation, way of life, operating expenses, expulsion record, possessions, and nationality. The PHA will gather information about the family earnings through banks, employers and other local bureaus to authenticate their suitability for the program.

At the other hand, the PHA has the authority to offer local preference at any time it deemed necessary. These can include, some families need this housing assistance more than others and, depending on the location and average area income, the PHA may give the first choice to a homeless family, a family that pays more than 50 percent of its income on rent or a family that has been forced to displace. As Section 8 housing vouchers are widely required, PHAs holds the right to shut the waiting list not receiving any more applications. In some states, the waiting lists have been closed for years.

What are housing choice vouchers?

The federal government of the United States planned the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program to extend monetary backing to low-income families, disabled handicapped persons and senior citizens incapable to pay monthly rent. The main goal of the program is to help low-income family units find a hired house by providing a portion of the rent through a lodging choice voucher. Program participants are able to look for accommodation in the private sector suitable for their family and needs, not to reconcile for substandard or unhygienic homes.

If you are approved for a low-income housing voucher, you can start looking for a good home. Once you find a reasonably priced and decent rental unit, the PHA will carry out a health and safety examination to confirm that the accommodation is habitable and is above the average of all PHA sanitary standards.

These housing units can be townhouses, flats or single-family homes, depending on the family’s structure and preference. In addition, the home does not need to be situated in a low-income region or a subsidized housing plan. To rent the home, the landowner is required to agree to have tenants who are in receipt of Section 8 aid.

The part of the rent amount is paid by the housing coupon and rest by the lodging family. Typically, the family pays 30 percent of its total monthly income for rent and utility bills, and in case the rent amount is higher than the standard, the family is liable for paying the remaining amount. In any case the, applicants do not have any right to use or withdraw the money and can only use the Section 8 low-income housing voucher to pay a defined part of the rent directly to the property owner.

 

 

Housing,

Beware of Section 8 Housing Scammers

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The Section 8 housing program, operated by the U.S. federal government’s Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), provides support to particularly low-income households by issuing “housing choice vouchers” via local housing authorities and other agencies.

The Scams

Individuals and Families trying to receive rent subsidies under the government’s Section 8 voucher scheme are being tricked into paying to go on a waiting list by scammers pretending to offer access to the federal housing subsidy program. Among other techniques, the scammers are even using fake Section 8 websites to list non-existent rental homes and then charging their victims two months’ rent.

As the Section 8 program’s beneficiaries are the people already living below the poverty line and therefore, by definition, those who can least afford to be scammed, that are being specifically targeted.

The vouchers help people pay for privately owned housing units that might otherwise be well outside their affordability. This is the reason why would-be renters are anxious to get hold of these vouchers.

In principle, the vouchers are not readily available as the availability depends on annual allocation made by HUD to individual state. As a standard practice, the renters have registered on a state-by-state waiting list and wait for their application appraisal. Due to the limited funds available for a specific time, agencies in some states use a lottery system to distribute vouchers. The time required to obtain these vouchers can vary from a few days to years, with no obvious timeline available on how to get on the waitlist.

And this is where the opportunity lies for merciless scammers to intrude.

Common ways of Scammers

There could be following the main scams.

  • The reprobates have established counterfeit sites that appear to be associated with HUD using Section 8 name prominently and official logos. These forged sites often show up on or near the top of online searches for Section 8 waiting list information, and this is where the victim entrapped.
  • In other cases, these criminals may send out spam emails promoting the sites and availability of vouchers to tempt victims to them.
  • Most of such sites charge a small fee to get on the imaginary waiting list along with queries about the confidential information like Social Security numbers and bank account details. Others may charge additional money by falsely claiming to help increase applicants’ chances of getting a voucher earlier. Fees are asked to be paid via money-wires or with a reloadable debit card.
  • This simply results in the victim’s financial loss and risk of identity theft. This comes with the harsh truth that most of the people don’t realize they’ve been scammed until they try to find out what happened to their application after current waiting lists are closed.
  • Additionally, these fake sites pretend to have a list of houses available for rent under the Section 8 program. Victims interested in renting these homes are asked to pay the first and last months’ rent upfront. In reality, the listed homes might exist and even be available for rent; the money paid out by target victim just goes straight into the crooks’ hands.

Precautionary Approaches

Those who are hoping to get a Section 8 voucher, here are things you need to know:

  1. As per federal laws, there is no charge to get your name on a waiting list and by no means paying a fee can increase chances of getting a voucher.
  2. Housing authorities do not use money-wiring services or reloadable debit cards as payment methods.
  3. The Housing authorities do not promote the Section 8 program by sending out emails, making phone calls or sending text messages.
  4. Individual housing agencies administer their own Section 8 programs and one should contact them directly to find out how to get on the waiting list. Applicants should try to find out official address and contact of their local agency.
  5. While searching online, phrases containing “section 8”, the first result will be an ad titled “Apply for Section 8 Online”. This is a scam!
  6. Scammers usually operate through social media or online classified sites. When someone offers to “transfer” their Section 8 voucher to you for a few hundred dollars, it’s a scam because Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers are non-transferable.
  7. In case of a “landlord” is asking you to wire a security deposit or reservation fee before you actually have seen the rental, it’s a potential rental deposit scam. The bogus landlord uses fake rentals in hot rental markets to persuade renters they require to reserve that deal by sending them money.
  8. The confidential financial information should not be shared on a website you find through a search.
  9. If you are applying for Section 8 housing subsidy, it’s free and there is NEVER a fee to apply. In fact, it is against HUD regulations (and the law) for a public housing authority to charge an application fee for Section 8. But the scammers have not stopped from creating fake application websites asking for fees for fake Section 8 applications.
  10. If you, or someone you know, need to know more about the real Section 8 program, use the contact details above or visit HUD.gov information on Section 8 Rental Certificate Program.
  11. Just because something appears high in search engine results does not necessarily mean it’s legitimate. Be sure to double check the URL or type it in directly if making a purchase or sharing personal information online.

Reporting

If by any chance you have seen any kind of the above-mentioned scam, you should file a complaint with FTC (Federal Trade Commission) and HUD.

Better Business Bureau also offers help in case of such scamming incidents.

HUD has an Office of Inspector General (OIG), which is the law enforcement branch of the department. OIG is supposed to investigate fraud, waste, and abuse in the Section 8 program. You can visit, call, email, or fax to report fraud. The OIG may choose to let your local PHA investigate your report.