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HCV 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.

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 NSBH.

A housing subsidy is paid to the Landlord directly by the NSBH 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.

Housing Vouchers - How Do They Function?

The Housing Choice Voucher Program places the choice of housing in the hands of the individual family. A very low-income family is selected by NSBH to participate and is encouraged to consider several housing choices to secure the best housing for the family's needs. A housing voucher holder is advised of the unit size for which it is eligible based on family size and composition.

The housing unit selected by the family must meet an acceptable level of health and safety before the NSBH can approve the unit. When the voucher holder finds a unit that it wishes to occupy and reaches an agreement with the landlord over the lease terms, the NSBH inspector must inspect the dwelling and determine that the rent requested is reasonable.

The NSBH determines a payment standard that is the amount generally needed to rent a moderately-priced dwelling unit in the local housing market and that is used to calculate the amount of housing assistance a family will receive. However, the payment standard does not limit and does not affect the amount of rent a landlord may charge or the family may pay. A family which receives a housing voucher can select a unit with a rent that is below or above the payment standard. The housing voucher family must pay 30% of its monthly adjusted gross income for rent and utilities, and if the unit rent is greater than the payment standard the family is required to pay the additional amount. By law, whenever a family moves to a new unit where the rent exceeds the payment standard, the family may not pay more than 40 percent of its adjusted monthly income for rent.

Rent Subsidy

The NSBH calculates the maximum amount of housing assistance allowable. The maximum housing assistance is generally the lesser of the payment standard minus 30% of the family's monthly adjusted income or the gross rent for the unit minus 30% of the monthly adjusted income.

Can I Move and Continue to Receive Housing Choice Voucher Assistance?

A family's housing needs change over time with changes in family size, job locations, and other reasons. The Housing Choice Voucher Program is designed to allow families to move without the loss of housing assistance. Moves are permissible as long as the family notifies the NSBH ahead of time, terminates its existing lease within the lease provisions, and finds acceptable alternate housing.

Participants cannot destroy or leave the unit with damages and expect to move on to another unit.

Under the Voucher Program, new voucher-holders may choose a unit anywhere in the United States if the family lived in the jurisdiction of the NSBH issuing the voucher when the family applied for assistance. Those new voucher-holders not living in the jurisdiction of NSBH at the time the family applied for housing assistance must initially lease a unit within that jurisdiction for the first twelve months of assistance. A family that wishes to move to another PHA's jurisdiction must consult with NBSH that currently administers its housing assistance to verify the procedures for moving.

Roles - The Tenant, The Landlord, The Housing Agency, and HUD

Once New Smyrna Beach Housing approves an eligible family's housing unit, the family and the landlord sign a lease and, at the same time, the landlord and the NSBH sign a housing assistance payments contract that runs for the same term as the lease. This means that everyone -- tenant, landlord, and NSBH -- has obligations and responsibilities under the voucher program.

Tenant's Obligations: When a family selects a housing unit, and NSBH approves the unit and 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-to-month lease.

When the family is settled in a new home, the family is expected to comply with the lease and the program requirements, pay its share of rent on time, maintain the unit in good condition and notify the NSBH of any changes in income or family composition.

Landlord's Obligations: 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 quality 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 NBSH

Housing Authority's Obligations: NSBH administers the voucher program locally. NSBH provides a family with housing assistance that enables the family to seek out suitable housing and NSBH enters into a contract with the landlord to provide housing assistance payments on behalf of the family. If the landlord fails to meet the owner's obligations under the lease, NBSH has the right to terminate assistance payments. NSBH must reexamine the family's income and composition at least annually and must inspect each unit at least annually to ensure that it meets housing quality standards.

NSBH, landlords, and clients combine the whole to form the Section 8 department. One could not survive without the other. We all must work together to maintain an understanding and partnership.