Section 8 Program and Affordable Housing Options

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1 Section 8 Program and Affordable Housing Options Massachusetts Families Organizing Change Building a Home a Statewide Conference Creative Community Living September 27, 2014

2 What is Affordable Housing? A housing opportunity designated for households who earn 80% of Area Median Income (AMI) or below Affordable housing opportunities are not uniform and are not always deeply subsidized Types of Affordable Housing Options in MA: Mobile Vouchers Section 8 voucher or MA Rental Voucher Public Housing A specific unit located in a community and owned by the local housing authority Project Based assistance attached to a specific unit, typically in a larger development Tax Credit Unit a specific unit that has a lower rent

3 Eligibility for Affordable Housing Eligibility varies by program All are income based (typically 30% - 80% of Area Median Income) Priorities and Preferences may vary Disability status is often considered depending on the type of housing assistance available

4 Tax Credit and Section 8 Project Based Units Best resource is MassHousing Listing of more than 800 projects in MA with units that are subsidized Some listings are for tax credit units and some for Section 8 Project Based units and chose rental housing to search the listings

5 Other Section 8 Project Based Units Many Local Housing Authorities (LHA s) and Regional Administering Agencies (RAA s) also have Section 8 Project Based units in a variety of private developments Each LHA and/or RAA would be able to provide specific project information for their projects Some waiting lists are maintained by the project and some by the housing agency

6 Public Housing Options through Local Housing Authorities (LHA s) Many cities or towns have a Housing Authority A complete list and specific program information can be found on the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) website at Types of assistance vary for each LHA Many have state funded and federally funded programs Contacting specific LHA s regarding types of programs and application process is best. There is a list of contact info available for each LHA on the DHCD website

7 LHA Listing Links A complete contact list can be found on the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) website at cts/local-housing-authority-listing.html The types of housing available at each LHA is available at applications/typesofhousing.rtf Definitions of state funded housing options ousingapplications/definitions.rtf

8 Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program MRVP Program Funded through the State Budget There are two components project based and mobile Administered by both LHA s and RAA s Income Eligibility is set at 50% of AMI Tenant Rent share is set between 30% and 40% of household income Can only live in MA

9 Section 8 Mobile Vouchers In MA, there are Section 8 Mobile Vouchers available through some of the LHA s and through DHCD The LHA s with a Section 8 mobile voucher program have a contract directly with HUD DHCD also has a contract with HUD and subcontracts the administration of their vouchers to 8 Regional Administering Agencies (RAA s) of which MBHP is one. The RAA s cover the entire state There are two centralized waiting lists one for DHCD and one that 91 LHA s currently use In addition, LHA s not participating in the centralized waiting list may maintain their own Section 8 waiting lists

10 Section 8 Mobile Voucher Waiting List Options LHA Lists DHCD List Apply one time, even online, and applicant is on a number of lists based on priorities and preferences Updates happen every 2 years and are important Apply to individual LHA s not using central list Administered by 8 regional nonprofits in MA Apply to only one and listed by regional preference Application available sing/rental-assistance/rentalapplications-anddocumentation.html

11 Maximizing Your Chances of Being Offered Subsidized Housing Apply to as many housing agencies and projectbased sites as possible At each agency, choose as many developments at which you would be willing to live Keep a record of everywhere that you apply Change your address in writing any time you move Respond to all wait list updates

12 Section 8 Program Highlights Federally funded program through US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Approximately 2.1 million vouchers nationwide Most new vouchers during the past 10 years are targeted for homeless veterans Section 8 Waiting List As of September 25, 2014 there were 27,985 applicants on the MBHP portion of the waiting list. Our top applicant has an application date of December 15, As of March, 2013 selections stopped due to Sequestration. Anticipate limited selections in late 2014 early 2015.

13 How does Section 8 work? Applicants must apply to open Section 8 waiting lists Once the applicant reaches the top of the waiting list: Invited in to complete eligibility process (application, documentation) Typically information is verified and cori/sori is checked Once eligibility is complete either approved or denied If denied Applicant has the right to request informal review/hearing Depending on the reason for denial, documentation will vary Decision is issued and is final If approved Applicant is invited in for issuance briefing which is mandatory Voucher issued and housing search can start

14 Using a Section 8 Mobile Voucher Applicant is required to complete independent housing search Time is often limited, though may be extended for certain reasons Owner must complete paperwork to be submitted to agency to conduct inspection A unit MUST pass a Housing Quality Standards (HQS) Inspection and be determined rent reasonable before a lease is approved

15 Using a Section 8 Mobile Voucher Paperwork There is a lot of paperwork involved at every phase of process Prior to completing a contract, the lease must be approved and additional paperwork completed at the housing agency On a regular basis (annually or biennially) reexamination must happen

16 Barriers to Using a Section 8 Mobile Voucher Rent is limited to between 90% and 110% of HUD published Fair Market Rent for area Unit MUST pass Inspection prior to being approved Start-Up costs are not covered by voucher (i.e. first, last and security deposit) Discrimination It is illegal to discriminate against a person because they are receiving rental assistance but it does happen

17 Common Section 8 Questions How much rent will I pay? At initial lease-up, a participant will pay at least 30% but no more than 40% of their income towards rent. Income from all sources is counted Deductions, in certain circumstances, are given to reduce income How long can I stay on the program? Currently, there are no time limits on Section 8 Participants are eligible for continued assistance as long as they are in good standing, able to find a unit within the given search times when relocating and until the 30% of the participants income is equal to or exceeds the contract rent Can I move someone in with me? Each LHA or RAA will have a specific policy regarding this but typically, yes, changes to family composition are permitted

18 Common Section 8 Questions What if I need special accommodations? Reasonable Accommodations related to a disability are often times made to allow full access and participation in the program. Anytime there are barriers and/or challenges a RA should be explored Where can I use my Section 8 Mobile Voucher? Anywhere in the US, including Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands and Guam Sometimes the new housing agency will absorb your voucher and sometimes they will bill your initial housing agency but portability is allowed What about discrimination? It happens It is illegal It needs to be reported

19 Additional Questions????? Contact Information Sue Nohl, Deputy Director Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership 125 Lincoln Street, 5th Floor, Boston, MA Phone: (617) Fax: (617)

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