Section 8 FAQs
How Can I Be A Part Of The Housing Choice Voucher Program?
The notice that announces the opening of the waiting list will contain the dates, times and the locations where families may apply, the programs for which applications will be taken, will provide potential applicants with information that includes the Vernon Housing Authority address, telephone number, how to submit an application, and information on eligibility requirements. The applicant must:
- Meet the definition of "family"
- Be income-eligible
- Be a citizen or a non-citizen who has eligible immigration status
- Clear the screening process
If the applicant family is determined eligible, the application will be placed on the waiting list.
What Is The Amount Of Assistance?
Once the applicant family's application reaches the top of the waiting list, a briefing session will be scheduled. Each adult member of the applicant family MUST attend the briefing. As long as the applicant family is still eligible, the Voucher will be issued by Vernon Housing Authority at the briefing session and the applicant family becomes a Voucher holder. Assistance is based
on the income, household size, voucher size issued and the size of the unit that the Voucher holder family chooses. The amount of subsidy is usually the difference between the Payment Standard for the unit size selected or the Housing voucher unit size (whichever is lower) and 30% of the family's adjusted gross monthly income.
The current 2017 Payment Standards for Vernon Housing Authority are:
Where Can I Live?
The Voucher holder can search the private rental market in the Towns of Vernon/Rockville, Ellington, and Tolland. If the family occupies a unit that qualifies, the voucher can be used in the leased unit. The housing unit must be decent, affordable, and sanitary according to Housing Quality Standards (HQS) established by HUD and the Vernon Housing Authority.
When you have found a suitable unit and the owner agrees to lease the unit to your family under the housing choice voucher program, the Housing Authority will inspect the unit to assure that it is suitable. After the unit passes HQS inspection, the unit is deemed affordable, and the rent has been approved as reasonable, the landlord and tenant enter a lease for an initial term of one year. The HA and the landlord sign a Housing Assistance Payment Contract through which the rent is assisted on your behalf. You will be responsible for the monthly payments of the difference between the total rent and the Housing Assistance Payment and will be responsible for any utility costs that are not included in the rent.
Can I Move And Continue To Receive This 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 rental assistance. Moves are permissible as long as the family notifies the HA ahead of time, terminates its existing lease within the appropriate provisions and finds acceptable alternate housing. A copy of the notice to the present landlord specifying what date the family would be vacating the unit must be given to the Vernon Housing Authority staff coordinator.
Under the voucher program, after the first year occupancy, a voucher holder may choose a unit anywhere in the United States and its territories, providing the jurisdiction in which the voucher holder wishes to move administers a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program. Once you leave the Vernon Housing Authority jurisdiction, the moving procedure is called "portability". The family must give a written request to Vernon Housing Authority staff specifying the area to which the voucher holder wishes to move, that date of the move, and the name and contact information of the "receiving" housing entity.
Restrictions on Portability:
- Families will not be permitted to exercise portability during the initial 12-month period after admission to the program.
- The family is in violation of a family obligation
- The family owes money to Vernon Housing Authority
- Unless the receiving housing entity is willing to absorb the family, Vernon Housing Authority may deny the move if the family wants to move to an area with a higher Fair Market Rent than that afforded Vernon/Rockville, Ellington or Tolland, if Vernon Housing Authority has insufficient funds to support such a move.
Roles and Responsibilities:
Once the Housing Authority approves an eligible family's lease and housing unit, the family and the landlord sign a lease and at the same time, the landlord and the HA sign a Housing Assistance Contract which runs for the same time as the lease. This means that everyone, tenant, landlord and Housing Authority has obligations and responsibilities within the voucher program.
Tenant's Role: When a family selects a housing unit, and the Housing Authority approves the unit and the 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-by-month lease. When the family is settled into a new home, the family is expected to comply with the lease and the program requirements, pay its share of the rent on time, maintain the unit in good condition and notify the HA of any changes in income or family composition.
Landlord's Role: 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 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 Housing Authority.
Housing Authority Role: The Housing Authority administers the voucher program locally. The HA provides a family with the rental assistance that enables the family to seek out suitable housing and the HA enters into a contract with the landlord to provide rental assistance payments on behalf of the family. If the landlord fails to meet their obligations under the lease, the Housing Authority has the right to terminate assistance payments.