Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program
What is the Housing Choice Voucher program?
The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program is tenant based rental assistance. Which means the rental assistance belongs to the person that receives it, and it is not attached to a rental unit.
How to qualify for the Housing Choice Voucher program?
To qualify for a voucher, you must be a low income family, disabled, elderly, or low income single person. The voucher will be yours as long as you are low income and you abide by program regulations. Portability is an option with a voucher. Which means you can take your rental assistance voucher with you to any Housing Authority in the United States that has a voucher program as long as you use your voucher in St. Joseph for the first year. At the eligibility interview the family will be required to provide proof of identity, income and citizenship status. The adult family members must all pass a criminal background check and cannot owe any outstanding debts to any Housing Authority or be under a penalty period.
How to apply for the Housing Choice Voucher program?
You must come into the office to pick up an application or print one off of the website provided here. Please fill application out completely and have all items listed below that pertain to your family.
- Original Social Security Cards for all family members.
- State issued Birth Certifications for all family members age 18 and over. Anyone not born in the United States must also provide proof of legal residency.
- Current letter/statement from employer reflecting current employment:
Hours per week and rate of pay. All proofs of income MUST be dated within the
last 60 days. WE CANNOT USE PAYCHECK STUBS.
- Current printout of the past 12 months of child support or a notarized statement if you are paid directly.
- Current statement reflecting income/benefits from social service agencies, the Social Security Administration, and the Division of Employment Security. All
proofs of income MUST be dated within the last 60 days.
- If you have previously received rental assistance anywhere it is your responsibility to provide us with a statement of good standing from the Housing Assistance program.
Please bring in completed application and the documents listed above to the St. Joseph Housing Authority where all adults 18 and over in the household are required to bring in a valid ID and fill out a background check. Then you will be explained the process.
What are the roles of the tenant, landlord, Housing Authority, HUD?
Many people think that once they qualify for assistance that they may keep it as long as they want. They feel that because they "fit" the income guidelines, SJHA must help them pay their rent each month. However, each month people are dropped from the Program because they have failed to meet their responsibilities as participants Participants can be dropped from the program for several reasons, including….
- Failure to notify SJHA and the landlord of a desire to move at least 60 days in
advance in writing. If the tenant moves and fails to give advance notification,
this is a violation of the lease agreement. The tenant may not be considered as a
candidate for continued or future assistance.
- Failure to make reimbursement to the owner for repairs that are not normal wear
and tear of the property.
- Failure to list those people living or staying in your dwelling on the lease.
- Permitting anyone other than those listed on the lease to receive mail at your
- Failure to assume the responsibility for good housekeeping habits.
- Failure to report all income changes immediately.
The role of the landlord in the Voucher Program is to provide decent, safe and sanitary housing to a tenant. The dwelling unit must pass the program's housing 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 SJHA.
Housing Authority’s Role
SJHA Administers the Voucher Program locally. The SJHA provides a family/individual with the rental assistance that enables them to seek out suitable housing and the SJHA enters into a contract with the landlord to provide rental assistance payments on behalf of the family. If the landlord fails to meet his/her obligations under the lease, the SJHA has the right to terminate assistance payments.
To cover the cost of the program, HUD provides funds to allow SJHA to make assistance payments on behalf of the families. HUD also pays the SJHA a fee for the cost of administering the program.