Housing Choice Voucher Program
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.
The participant is free to choose any housing that meets the requirements of the program and is not limited to units located in subsidized housing projects.
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 PHA 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.
Eligibility for a housing voucher is determined by the PHA based on the total annual gross income and family size and is limited to US citizens and specified categories of non-citizens who have eligible immigration status. In general, the family's income may not exceed 50% of the median income for the county or metropolitan area in which the family chooses to live. By law, a PHA must provide 75 percent of its voucher to applicants whose incomes do not exceed 30 percent of the area median income. Median income levels are published by HUD and vary by location. The PHA serving your community can provide you with the income limits for your area and family size.
During the application process, the PHA will collect information on family income, assets, and family composition. The PHA will verify this information with other local agencies, your employer and bank, and will use the information to determine program eligibility and the amount of the housing assistance payment.
If the PHA determines that your family is eligible, the PHA will put your name on a waiting list. Once your name is reached on the waiting list, the PHA will contact you for a briefing and issue to you a housing voucher.
Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG)
The Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) Program provides shelter and essential supportive services to the homeless population. As a result of the HEARTH ACT this grant expands the eligible activities for emergency shelter and homelessness prevention activities to include short-term and medium-term rental assistance and services to stabilize and rapidly re-house individuals and households who are homeless or at risk or becoming homeless.
Rapid Re-Housing Program (RRH)
The purpose of the Rapid Rehousing Program is to provide assistance to households affected by the March and August 2016 floods to obtain housing quickly.
Eligible Households are those:
- Displaced by the March and August 2016 floods.
- Earning less than 80% Area Median Income (AMI).
Priority will be given to those who are currently residing in Red Cross Shelters, FEMA Temporary Shelter Assistance placements (TSA), renters living in distressed homes or doubled with family and friends since the March and August 2016 floods.
- Rental Assistance – participants pay a portion of their monthly adjusted income towards rent and utilities.
- Case Management – includes developing a budget plan that indicates how the family will meet their monthly rental obligation for each of the 12 months on the program, assistance with education and employment, financial planning and permanent housing.