What are Housing Choice Vouchers?
The federal housing assistance program that would eventually become the Housing Choice Voucher program (also known as “Section 8”) was established in the U.S. Housing Act of 1937, during the Great Depression due to the housing crisis which accompanied a massive economic collapse. In 1974, the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 was passed. This act established the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program. It is funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The HCV program is the government’s primary program to assist income-eligible households with the opportunity to afford decent, safe and sanitary housing.
The Housing Authority of Bexar County (HABC) is a public housing agency (PHA) that administers the Housing Choice Voucher program and adheres to the HUD regulations located in 24 CFR Part 982.
Who is eligible?
Eligibility is determined based on the total annual income and family size of the household. Annual income cannot exceed 50% of the area median income for Bexar County. Family assets are also taken into consideration when determining eligibility.
How do I apply?
Pre-applications are taken during waiting list events. Notification to the general public is made through various media and social sources. Currently, the waiting list is closed and no applications are being accepted.
What happens when I’m awarded a voucher?
Participants in HABC’s Housing Choice Voucher program may lease an approved housing unit where vouchers are accepted. The paricipant pays a portion of the rent (according to household income), and HABC pays the difference – the “Housing Assistance Payment” (HAP). Participants will not be approved for housing units that exceed more than 40% of household income for their share of rent and utilities.
What are the Payment Standards for HABC’s jurisdiction?
Effective April 1, 2018, HABC is following the new HUD guidelines for Small Area Fair Market Rents (SAFMR) based on the zip code where the unit is located. Please call for updated SAFMRs.
What if I need to move outside of HABC’s jurisdiction?
A participant who wishes to move to outside of HABC’s jurisdiction must consult with our office to verify the procedures.
What are the Participant’s obligations?
The tenant is expected to comply with the lease and the HCV program requirements, pay their share of rent on time, maintain the housing unit in good condition and notify HABC of any changes in household income or composition. Failure to comply with these requirements may subject the family to an informal hearing. Hearing results can vary from immediate corrective measures being implemented to termination from the HCV program.
What are the Owner’s obligations?
The Owner/Landlord is required to provide decent, safe and sanitary housing to a tenant at a reasonable rent. The unit must pass a housing quality standards (HQS) inspection and the standards must be maintained as long as the owner receives housing assistance payments (HAP). 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 HABC. Beginning July 1, 2018, landlords will be provided a total of 2 free inspections prior to tenant move-in. Owners will be required to pay $75.00 for each subsequent inspection until the unit is approved to occupancy.
As participants, the Owner benefits from timely and guaranteed subsidy payments for each month that all program requirements are met. Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) are distributed via direct deposit.
What are HABC’s obligations?
The Housing Authority of Bexar County (HABC) administers the Housing Choice Voucher program and pays housing assistance. HABC also enters into a contract with the Owner to provide housing assistance payments on behalf of the family. If the Owner fails to meet their obligations under the lease, HABC has the right to terminate assistance payments. HUD mandates that HABC conduct annual re-examinations and review the family’s income and composition. In addition, annual inspections of the housing unit are performed to ensure that HUD’s required housing quality standards are met.
What are HUD’s obligations?
HUD provides funds to allow HABC to make housing assistance payments on behalf of the program participants and pays HABC fees for administering the program. HUD governs the program requirements.
Already an HCV Participant? You may qualify for the FSS program! Click here to learn more.