Housing Choice Voucher Program
The Pickaway Metropolitan Housing Authority manages 661 Housing Choice Vouchers including those part of the special purpose vouchers referral programs.
The Housing Choice Voucher Program is the federal government’s major program for assisting 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.
The participant is free to choose any housing that meets the requirements of the program and is not limited to units located in subsidized housing projects.
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 PMHA.
Additionally, the unit must pass a Housing Quality Standards (HQS) inspection and have the rent determined to be reasonable.
A housing subsidy is paid to the landlord directly by PMHA 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.
During the application process, the PMHA will collect information on family income, assets, and family composition.
The PMHA will verify this information with other local agencies, your employer and bank, and will use the information to determine program eligibility and the amount of the housing assistance payment.
If the PMHA determines that your family is eligible, PMHA will put your name on a waiting list, unless it is able to assist you immediately.
Once your name is reached on the waiting list, the PMHA will contact you regarding next steps.
Housing Choice Voucher Staff
The following staff manage the Housing Choice Voucher, Veterans Administration Support Housing (VASH), Family Unification and the Domestic Violence Referral Voucher programs.
Housing Choice Voucher Specialist
Ph: 740-477-2514 Ext. 310
Am I eligible?
Eligibility for a housing voucher is determined by PMHA based on the total annual gross income and family size and is limited to US citizens and specified categories of non-citizens who have eligible immigration status.
In general, the family's income may not exceed 50% of the median income for the county or metropolitan area in which the family chooses to live.
By law, PMHA must provide 75 percent of its voucher to applicants whose incomes do not exceed 30 percent of the area median income.
Median income levels are published by HUD and vary by location. The current income levels for Pickaway Metropolitan Housing Authority are:
|INCOME GUIDELINES FOR HOUSING ASSISTANCE
|# of Persons in Family
||Very Low Income
||Extremely Low Income
How do I apply?
Families may apply to PMHA’s HCV wait list when the wait list is open.
To determine if it is currently open, please see the Application/Waitlist page.
Local preferences and waiting list - what are they and how do they affect me?
Since the demand for housing assistance often exceeds the limited resources available to HUD and PMHA, long waiting periods are common.
Placement on the wait list is based first by preferences and then date & time of application. PMHA’s preferences are:
- US Veterans – Form DD214 is required for all veteran applicants to show a minimum of 6 months of active duty and honorable discharge or documentation showing eligibility for veteran benefits.
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 PMHA to participate is encouraged to consider several housing choices to secure the best housing for the family 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 PMHA 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, PMHA must inspect the dwelling and determine that the rent requested is reasonable.
The PHA 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.
The rent subsidy
PMHA 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 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 for 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 PHA ahead of time, terminates its existing lease within the lease provisions, and finds acceptable alternate housing within 120 days.
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 PHA issuing the voucher when the family applied for assistance. Those new voucher-holders not living in the jurisdiction (Pickaway County) of the PHA at the time the family applied for housing assistance must initially lease a unit within that jurisdiction (Pickaway County) for the first twelve months of assistance. A family that wishes to move to another PHA's jurisdiction must consult with PMHA to verify the procedures for moving.
Roles - the tenant, the landlord, the housing agency and HUD
Once PMHA approves an eligible family's housing unit, the family and the landlord sign a lease and, at the same time, the landlord and PMHA sign a housing assistance payments (HAP) contract that runs for the same term as the lease. This means that everyone -- tenant, landlord and PMHA -- has obligations and responsibilities under the voucher program.
Tenant's Obligations: When a family selects a housing unit, and PMHA 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 PHA 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 the PHA.
Housing Authority's Obligations: PMHA provides a family with the housing assistance that enables the family to seek out suitable housing and PMHA 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, PMHA has the right to terminate assistance payments. PMHA must reexamine the family's income and composition at least annually and must inspect each unit at least bi-annually to ensure that it meets minimum housing quality standards.
HUD's Role: To cover the cost of the program, HUD provides funds to allow PMHA to make housing assistance payments on behalf of the families. HUD also pays PMHA a fee for the costs of administering the program. HUD monitors PMHA’s administration of the program to ensure program rules are properly followed.
Family Self-Sufficiency Program
The PMHA Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) Program is an up to seven-year, self-paced, voluntary program that was established to support Housing Choice Voucher Program residents in becoming economically self-sufficient. The FSS program enables HUD-assisted families to increase their earned income and reduce their dependency on welfare assistance and rental subsidies while potentially earning savings at the same time.
The "path" to self sufficiency" varies for each Family Self Sufficiency participant and can include goals such as:
- Furthering education including completing GED
- Obtaining Specialized Training
- Job Readiness and Job Placement Activities
- Career Advancement Objectives
- Budget/Credit Repair
- Getting bills under control
- Saving for a down payment on a home
The PMHA Family Self Sufficiency Program has had 79 Housing Choice Voucher Program participants who have graduated from the FSS Program.
Since the PMHA began the FSS program in 1996, a total of $360,568 has been dispersed in escrow payments to FSS participants as graduates or interim withdrawals.
Who is eligible?
Any resident of the Housing Choice Voucher Program who enrolls can be eligible for the FSS Program.
How does it work?
- Housing Choice Voucher Program participants will request to be placed on the FSS Waitlist. You will be contacted by the FSS Coordinator when an FSS participation slot is available.
- The FSS Coordinator will meet with you and help you:
- Establish and document goals.
- Sign the FSS Contract of Participation.
- Identify resources that will help you meet your goals.
- Once you begin working or your current earned (working) income increases, you may begin earning escrow. The escrow account will grow each month and will become the money that you would receive upon successful completion of your goals at graduation.
What are the benefits?
Participants earn escrow from increases in rent amounts due to increases in earned (working) income while meeting goals outlined in the FFS Participant Contract. This account belongs to the Housing Authority and is disbursed upon graduation from the program. While participating, families may make interim withdrawals to help meet the needs of their personalized goals if these are expenses that will assist in meeting established goals such as employment or education. Each graduate decides how this tax free money can best serve the future of their family once graduated.
What is escrow?
Escrow is a financial reward calculated by increases in the family income that results in increased rent. For example, if your rent increases by $200 because of an increase in household wages, you will potentially be credited $200 into your escrow account each time you pay rent!
|Example of Monthly Rent and Savings
||Renters Portion of Rent
||Funds into Escrow Savings Account
|Start of the FSS Program
|6 months later
*This is an example of how FSS could work for one family. Your monthly savings may be different.
Up to $150 per month x 12 months = Up to $1,800 per year. As your earnings increase, so does your benefit potential!
How do I apply?
To apply for the FSS program, applicants can submit an application to:
Ph: 740-477-2514 Ext. 301
FSS Fact Sheet
: provides general FSS program information.
March 2021 Newsletter