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Housing Choice Voucher Program Briefing

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Kristen Evans-Smith

on 11 May 2016

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Transcript of Housing Choice Voucher Program Briefing

Housing Choice Voucher Program Briefing
design by Dóri Sirály for Prezi
Purpose is to provide you with all the information you need to be a successful HCV participant
Briefing Overview
The size of unit you are eligible for is based on the size of your family.

One bedroom will be assigned to the head of household and his/her spouse.

One additional bedroom will be assigned for every two household members regardless of age or sex.
Voucher Size and Term
One of the advantages of having a housing choice voucher is the freedom it gives you. Vouchers are portable and tenant based, meaning you take the assistance with you out into the community to find the best living arrangement for you and your family. If you have been living in a high poverty area, you now have the ability to make a change to your surroundings.

We recommend you consider a number of factors as you search for the most appropriate housing choice. For instance, you will want to look for safe neighborhoods and proximity to jobs or job opportunities, transportation options as well as the relative location of quality schools, medical and shopping facilities.
You will receive:
Briefing Packet
Voucher
Request for Tenancy Approval
Special Needs Requests
If you have any special needs or have family members with special needs, you may request a reasonable accommodation in order to have equal access to the programs and services of the Housing Choice Voucher Program.

At the conclusion of the briefing, please let our staff know if you may need special assistance.
Roles and Relationships
Voucher
The Voucher is the legal document
between you and the Housing Authority which will allow you to receive housing assistance.

It states all the rules and regulations that you must comply with in order to continue to receive assistance.

Lease
The Lease agreement is the contractual agreement between you and the owner. It outlines the responsibilities and obligations of both parties.

It is recommended that you do not sign a lease with the owner until HADC has approved the unit rental amount and has passed inspection.
HAP Contract
The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP)
contract is the agreement between the owner and the housing authority that allows a portion of the family’s rent to be paid to the owner.

The contract clearly specifies that the Housing Authority may hold payments and/or terminate the HAP Contract if the owner fails to maintain the unit in decent, safe, and sanitary conditions.

The term of your voucher is the search time granted to the family during which a family must submit a Request for Tenancy Approval for a suitable unit
Tolling
“Tolling” means the “clock stops ticking” and the amount of time the request for that particular unit is in process will be added to the voucher expiration date.

For example:

Your voucher expires on June 1.

You submit a Request for Tenancy Approval on May 1.

The HADC makes a rent offer and the owner rejects the rent. Let say the entire process takes 10 days.

The new expiration date of your voucher is June 11
Finding a Place to Live
Payment Standards
Tips on Looking for Housing
1. Check classified sections of local newspapers
2. Check with friends or neighbors
3. Use the internet to search for free listings
4. Check with real estate offices or rental agencies
5. Always ask to see the unit you want to rent
HADC Jurisdictions
HADC administers the Housing Choice Voucher Program within DeKalb County with the exception of the City of Atlanta and Lithonia, GA
Fair Housing
It is unlawful to discriminate in housing based on:
Race
Color
National Origin
Religion
Sex
Familial Status
Handicap
If you believe your rights have been violated complete the Housing Discrimination Complaint Form in your packet
Voucher Portability
You have the opportunity to utilize your voucher anywhere within the United States with continued rental assistance.

The process of transferring your voucher to another Housing Authority is known as Portability

The city of your choice must have a Housing Choice Voucher Program

The Housing Agency in the area where you are moving determines the contract rent, bedroom size and amount of your Housing Choice Voucher
Family Obligations
As a participant in the Housing Choice Voucher Program, you have the responsibility to follow the rules and requirements of the program. Your assistance and tenancy may be terminated because of your actions or your failure to act.
Side Payments and Arrangements
Giving False and Misleading Information
Unauthorized Persons in the Unit
Criminal or Drug Activity by any Family Members
Renting from Relatives
Failing to provide complete and accurate information
Failing to report changes in family composition (birth, death, separation, etc.)
Violation of any family obligation
Failure to report income changes

You can forfeit your assistance by:
It is your responsibility to read and make sure you understand your obligations
Informal Hearing Procedures
If you wish to appeal the proposed termination or denial of assistance of your Housing Choice Voucher you must complete an Informal Hearing Request Form and submit the form to HADC within 14 calendar days of the receipt of your proposed termination.
The purpose of the informal hearing is to consider whether the PHA’s decisions related to the family’s
circumstances are in accordance with the law, HUD regulations and PHA policies
Is Fraud Worth It?
If you commit fraud to obtain housing from HUD you could be:
Evicted from your apartment or house
Required to repay all overpaid rental assistance you received
Fined up to $10,000
Imprisoned for up to five years
Prohibited from receiving future assistance
Subject to State and local government penalties
So Be Careful!
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
The violence against women act (VAWA) provides protection for certain victims of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, as well as members of the victims' immediate families.
You cannot be denied housing or housing assistance only because you are a victim
Your lease or voucher can be changed to evict only the perpetrator(s)
You can move to protect family members
Protections of VAWA do not protect you from denials or terminations in all circumstances
The Move Process Overview
Calculating Housing Assistance
Monthly Adjusted Income - Monthly income minus Eligible Deductions (child care, medical, full time student, minors)
Total Tenant Payment - The total tenant payment (TTP) represents the minimum amount a family must contribute toward rent and utilities regardless of the unit selected
Utility Allowance - Based on the Housing Authority schedule of average utility consumption by unit size
Example
Request for Tenancy Approval Packet
Must be completed in its entirety by tenant and landlord
Tenant and Landlord must sign RFTA and Acknowledgment of Initial Inspection Process
Ensure you visit the actual unit for rent; not just the model unit
An incomplete packet will cause a delay in processing
Occupancy Team will complete a rent reasonableness test and a rent burden test to ensure the affordability of your selected unit

If the rent is deemed reasonable the inspection will be scheduled

If not, the landlord must agree to lower the rent or the RFTA will be voided
Rent Burden/Rent Reasonableness
McCright Inspection Services will contact the landlord to schedule an inspection
If the unit is deemed not ready the RTA will be voided and no follow up inspection will be granted
If the unit fails inspection
one
reinspection will be granted. Repairs must be completed within 10 days
It is the landlord's responsibility to reschedule an inspection
Inspections Overview
Common Fail Items
Utilities not on
Inoperable heat supply
Missing or insufficient weather-stripping
Loose or torn carpet
Missing or cracked electrical outlet cover plates
Cracked or peeling paint on walls
Cracked or broken windowpanes
Evidence of roof leaks/pipe leaks
Dirty stoves and ovens
Insufficient bath ventilation

Be sure to review
A Good Place to Live
, included in the briefing packet
It is your responsibility to ensure the RFTA documents are complete and received by HADC prior to your expiration date
Providing information to Landlords
In accordance with Housing Choice Voucher Housing Choice Voucher program regulations, HADC must give the landlord/owner:
(i) The family's current and prior address (as shown in HADC records); and
(ii) The name and address (if known by HADC) of the landlord at the family's current and prior address.
No other information regarding the household will otherwise be disclosed or released outside of HUD, except as permitted or required by law.
Security Deposits
The landlord/owner or agent may collect a security deposit from the tenant. The security deposit amount collected must be in compliance with state and local laws.

Landlord/owner are prohibited from charging Housing Choice Voucher families more for a security deposit than their unassisted families. Security deposit charged must be fair and reasonable.

HADC does not assist families with the payment of their security deposit or damage deposits. Families are responsible for paying any security deposit directly to the owner.

Under HUD regulations, the tenant’s damage and/or security deposit is used to cover the cost of damages, just as in unassisted units. Under state law, tenants are responsible for the damages they have caused to their unit.

If the prospective landlord provides a written request, the following information may be provided:
Questions and Answers
Voucher Extensions
Voucher Extensions must be approved by your Initial Housing Authority
This may or may not be the Housing Authority of Dekalb County
Voucher Extension Requests must be made at least 7 days PRIOR to your voucher expiration
Full transcript