THE ALEXANDRIA REDEVELOPMENT AND HOUSING AUTHORITY

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1 THE ALEXANDRIA REDEVELOPMENT AND HOUSING AUTHORITY FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ) Q: Which program(s) does ARHA administer? A: ARHA administers the Public Housing, Housing Choice Voucher and Moderate Rehabilitation programs. Q: What is the Public Housing program? A: The Public Housing (PH) program was established to provide decent and safe rental housing for eligible low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. Public housing comes in all sizes and types, from scattered single family houses to high-rise apartments for elderly families. Q: What is the Housing Choice Voucher program? A: The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program allows very low-income families to choose and lease or purchase safe, decent, and affordable privately-owned rental housing. The voucher is a tenant based rental assistance and may be used anywhere in the continental United States including Guam and Puerto Rico. Q: What is the Moderate Rehabilitation program? A: The Moderate Rehabilitation (MR) program provides project-based rental assistance for low income families. Project-based assistance is tied to the individual unit and is not transferable. The program was repealed in 1991 and no new projects are authorized for development. Assistance is limited to properties previously rehabilitated pursuant to a housing assistance payments (HAP) contract between an owner and a Public Housing Agency (PHA). Hopkins Tancil (formerly known as the Berg) is ARHA s Moderate Rehabilitation project. Q: How can I receive rental assistance? A: All families in need of housing assistance must first place their name on the ARHA waiting list. Each program has a separate waiting list and applicants may apply for multiple programs simultaneously. ARHA will announce the opening and closing of the waiting list by publishing a public notice in the newspaper that serves the Washington metropolitan area; specifically the City of Alexandria. To check if a waiting list is open, you can also call ext 200. Q: Who is eligible? A: ARHA s rental assistance programs are limited to low-income families and individuals. Eligibility is determined based on: 1) annual gross income; 2) whether you qualify as elderly, a person with a disability, or as a family; and 3) U.S. citizenship or eligible immigration status. Applicants must also be at least 18 years of age or an emancipated minor. If you are eligible, ARHA will check your references to make sure you and your family will be good tenants. ARHA will deny admission to any applicant whose habits and practices may be expected to have a detrimental effect on other tenants or on the project's environment.

2 ARHA uses income limits developed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD sets the lower income limits at 80% and very low income limits at 50% of the median income for the county or metropolitan area in which you choose to live. Income limits vary from area to area so you may be eligible at one Housing Authority (HA) but not at another. The HA serving your community can provide you with the income levels for your area and family size, or you can also find the income limits on the internet at Q: Do I have to live in the City of Alexandria to apply? A: No, there is no residency requirement. Q: If I am currently a recipient of rental assistance can I still submit an application for a different program? A: Yes, however program regulations prohibit duplicate subsidy. This means it is possible to relinquish one type of rental assistance in favor of another, however you cannot keep both. An example would be a current Public Housing resident moving out of the assisted unit to accept the Housing Choice Voucher. Q: How do I get an application? A: When ARHA opens a waiting list; where the application will be accepted, including the date and time, is published in the city newspaper of general circulation. Applications are provided on a first come-first served basis only when the waiting list is open and will be provided on our website (www.arha.us). After an application is received and the preliminary eligibility determination made, applicants are placed on the waiting list. Q: How does the application process work? A: ARHA usually needs to collect the following information to determine eligibility: (1) Names of all persons who would be living in the unit, their sex, date of birth and relationship to the family head; (2) Your present address and telephone number; (3) Family characteristics (e.g., veteran) or circumstances (e.g., living in substandard housing) that might qualify the family for tenant selection preferences; (4) Names and addresses of your current and previous landlords for information about your family's suitability as a tenant; (5) An estimate of your family's anticipated income for the next twelve months and the sources of that income; (6) The names and addresses of employers, banks, and any other information that would be needed to verify your income and deductions, and to verify the family composition. (7) ARHA also may visit you in your home to interview you and your family members to see how you manage the upkeep of your current home. 2 P age

3 After obtaining this information, an ARHA representative will describe the program and its requirements, and answer any questions you might have. Q: How long will it take my name to reach the top of the waiting list? A: It is not possible to predict how long an applicant s name will be on the waiting list. It depends on the rate of turnover and the level of funding available. During this time, please notify the office in writing regarding any changes in family income, family composition (persons moving in or out of your household) or change of address. Q: What happens when my name reaches the top of the waiting list? A: ARHA will notify you with a letter requesting you update the information contained in the original pre-application. Applicants will receive two scheduled appointments for all adult members of the household to verify income and eligibility information. Failure to respond to the appointment letter will result in your being removed from the waiting list. Once ARHA receives the paper work back, the information will be verified and a voucher will be issued or a public housing unit will be assigned. Q: What size unit is appropriate for my household? A: Standard occupancy guidelines allow for up to two (2) persons per bedroom regardless of gender. Q: How are units assigned? A: Applicants will be made one offer of a unit in the Public Housing and Moderate Rehabilitation program for the first available vacant unit that meets the household composition requirements. Exceptions may be granted for medical reasonable accommodation and must be approved by the Property Manager. Q: What happens if I do not accept the unit I am assigned? A: Only one offer of a unit is made to each applicant. If the unit is declined the application will be closed and the applicant must reapply when the waiting list is open. Q: When will I receive my voucher? A: Applicants will receive the voucher once they are determined eligible to participate in the HCV program and have attended the program briefing. The briefing will outline the program requirements and provide information on selecting a unit. The initial voucher will be issued for 60 days. Applicants will be eligible for an extension as long as they can demonstrate they have been actively seeking a unit. The maximum time allowed to locate a unit with a voucher is 150 days. 3 P age

4 Q: If my time expires on my voucher, can I get more time or another voucher? A: Once the maximum time allowed for the voucher expires assistance will be denied. The application will be closed and you must reapply for assistance when the waiting list is open to be considered for future assistance. Q: After I have my voucher, what do I do to begin receiving my rental assistance? A: To begin receiving housing assistance, you must do the following: Find a unit to rent from a willing landlord. Submit an Inspection Request Form to the Regional Office handling your case. If the rent is within the limits set for the area, ARHA will arrange an inspection of the unit. The unit you select must pass a Housing Quality Standards Inspection. Q: Will I have to sign a lease? A: Applicants will be required to sign a lease for the subsidized unit either with ARHA (Public Housing and Moderate Rehabilitation Programs) or with a private landlord (HCV program). Q: What will I be expected to pay for rent? A: Your rent, which is referred to as the Total Tenant Payment (TTP) in these programs, would be based on your family's anticipated gross annual income less deductions, if any. HUD regulations allow HAs to exclude from annual income the following allowances: $480 for each dependent; $400 for any elderly family, or a person with a disability; and some medical deductions for families headed by an elderly person or a person with disabilities. Based on your application, an ARHA representative will determine if any of the allowable deductions should be subtracted from your annual income. Annual income is the anticipated total income from all sources received from the family head and spouse, and each additional member of the family 18 years of age or older. The formula used in determining the TTP is the highest of the following, rounded to the nearest dollar: (1) 30 percent of the monthly adjusted income. (Monthly Adjusted Income is annual income less deductions allowed by the regulations); (2) 10 percent of monthly income; (3) welfare rent, if applicable; or (4) a $25 minimum rent or higher amount (up to $50) set by an HA. Q: Will I have to pay a security deposit? A: Most, if not all rental properties will ask for a security deposit up-front before allowing a tenant to move in. Program participants are responsible for paying 100% of the security deposits. Q: Do you have emergency assistance? A: Unfortunately, ARHA does not have emergency assistance. Applications are only accepted from eligible families when the waiting list is opened. 4 P age

5 Q: Where am I on the waiting list? A: All waiting list inquiries must be submitted in writing. This may be done by completing a form in our office located at 18 Roth Street Alexandria, Virginia or simply writing a letter which includes the full name, date of birth and last four digits of the social security number for the head of household to the attention of the waiting list manager. A response will be mailed to you with your position on the waiting list within 10 business days. 5 P age

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