Housing Choice Vouchers

Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8)

Program Summary
The Sanford Housing Authority (SHA) is authorized to administer up to 741 Section 8 housing choice vouchers in Lee and Harnett counties. The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) 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 available in the private market. Program participants are free to choose any housing that meets the requirements of the program. SHA strongly encourages families to search for housing outside economically distressed neighborhoods.

In the housing choice voucher program, eligible families generally are required to pay 30 % of their adjusted income towards gross rent (owner rent and the amount of the SHA Utility Allowance for tenant-paid utilities that are not included in the rent to the owner). SHA pays the difference between the amount of the required tenant payment and the gross rent.

The amount of the subsidy paid by SHA is dependent upon the Payment Standard adopted by SHA for each unit size. If the gross rent for a unit exceeds the Payment Standard, a Section 8 housing choice voucher holder may choose to pay the higher rent. However, a Section 8 family moving into a unit is not permitted to pay more than 40% of its adjusted income for rent.

Regardless of the Payment Standard established for a unit size, SHA must determine that the rent asked is “reasonable” given the location, quality, size, unit type, age, amenities, services, maintenance and utilities to be provided by the owner.

The program functions as follows:

  • Families must apply to the waiting list
  • SHA selects from the waiting list and determines eligibility
  • SHA issues a housing choice voucher and the family searches for housing
  • Housing Quality Standards (HQS) inspection is conducted
  • SHA determines whether the rent to owner is reasonable
  • Landlord lease and Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) contract executed
  • HAP begins

Eligibility Requirements
When SHA selects names from the waiting list and invites the families selected to submit a full application for a housing choice voucher, it will verify all information pertaining to the family such as, total family income; the number of persons in the family; preference claimed at time of initial application or from updated information and conduct a criminal background check. A family’s income may not exceed 50% of the area median income limits established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which is based upon family size. After the verification process is complete, SHA will notify the family whether or not it meets the eligibility guidelines for assistance.

At least 75% of the families who are admitted to the housing choice voucher program during the SHA fiscal year must be extremely low-income. Extremely low-income families are those with incomes at or below 30% of the area median income.

Waitlist

THE HOUSING CHOICE VOUCHER PROGRAM WAITING LIST IS CURRENTLY CLOSED.

Families will be selected from the waiting list based on the selection preference(s) for which they qualify, and in accordance with SHA’s hierarchy of preferences, if applicable. Within each preference category, families will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis according to the date and time their complete application is received by SHA. Local preferences will be ranked as follows:

  1. Involuntary Displacement Preference, Homeless Veterans Preference, (6 pts)
  2. Single Elderly and chronically homeless or a person with disabilities that is chronically homeless, (5 pts.)
  3. Single persons who are elderly or disabled, (4 pts)
  4. Elderly or Disabled with Minor Children, (4 pts)
  5. Homeless Families that include minor children who are identified by a social service agency providing shelter or law enforcement, (4 pts.)
  6. Date and Time Preference (1 pt.)
  7. In Place – eligible applicants who reside in units at the time of the PBV property owner’s proposal selection date for Project-based assistance (10 points)

Housing Quality Standards, Inspection and Rent Reasonableness
HUD regulations require that all housing rented under the HCV program meet HUD’s basic standards for decency, safety and sanitation. SHA must conduct a unit inspection to determine that the rental unit meets HQS and any additional standards instituted by SHA before the family may move into the rental unit. Property owners who rent units to families who have a HCV may not charge the voucher holders more rent than is charged to other tenants in the same building or for similar rental units. Additionally, the property owner may not charge more rent than other property owners charge for similar rental units in the area. SHA will determine if the rent being charged is reasonable.

New Landlords
In order to participate in the SHA Housing Choice Voucher Program, the following documents are required from property owners:

Proof of Ownership
Government Issued photo identification
Social Security card
Certified copy of Deed
Current Year Tax Statement

Other Required Documents
IRS w-9 form
Owner/Agent Data Form
Owner Certification
Direct Deposit Application

Advertising
SHA has partnered with www.GoSection8.com, which provides an enhanced program to list rental properties on-line. Listings are available for search by potential HCV tenants seeking apartment units, duplexes, single-family homes or townhomes in the private market.

Lease-Up Process
STEP 1 – FINDING A TENANT
Through advertising or other referral, a tenant may come to you with a voucher, ready to lease a unit.

STEP 2 – OWNER APPROVES TENANT
Although the individual or family has already been determined by SHA to be eligible for the program, the owner must approve them as suitable renters. SHA is notified of owner approval when the Request for Tenancy Approval form is received.

STEP 3 – PHA APPROVES TENANCY AND UNIT
Once the individual or family has found a suitable unit and the owner approves, SHA will determine if the unit qualifies for the HCV Program. This step includes an inspection for “HQS.” If the unit doesn’t pass this first inspection, the owner will be given a reasonable time to complete re- pairs and have it re-inspected. A rent reasonableness assessment will be completed to determine if the rent you are requesting is comparable to other private market units considering the quality of your unit, amenities and neighborhood.

STEP 4 -CONTRACT AND LEASE ARE SIGNED
When the unit meets the inspection requirements, SHA will enter into a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Contract with the owner and the individual or family will enter into a lease agreement with the owner.

STEP 5 – HOUSING ASSISTANCE PAYMENTS MADE
With the HAP contract and signed lease agreement, SHA will make the monthly payments to the owner as long as the individual or family continues to meet the eligibility requirements under the program.