WHAT IS THE HOUSING CHOICE VOUCHER PROGRAM (SEC 8)?
The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program provides housing assistance for qualified low-income families in the rental market. Voucher holders are able to select a unit from the private rental market. Program participants pay no more than 30% of their monthly adjusted income towards rent and utilities. The housing assistance payment subsidizes the balance of the rent to the property owner.
HOW CAN I BECOME PART OF THIS PROGRAM?
Eligibility for a HCV voucher is determined by the Housing Authority of Walker County (HAWC) based on the total annual gross income and family size and is limited to U.S. citizens and specified categories of non-citizens who have eligible immigration status. The family's income may not exceed 50% of the area median income. Median income levels are published by HUD and vary by location. During the application process, the HAWC will collect information on family income, assets and family composition. The HAWC will verify this information and will use the information to determine program eligibility. If it is determined that your family is eligible, your application status will be upgraded from the pending status to the eligible status. When your name is next on the waiting list, the HAWC will contact you and you will be issued a voucher.
WHEN CAN I APPLY FOR ASSISTANCE?
When a date is established on when we will accept applications for the section 8 program, the HAWC will post an advertisement in the classified section of the Daily Mountain Eagle newspaper (for up to one week) which covers the entire Walker County area. We will also have it posted on our bulletin board in our lobby and it will be announced on our telephone greeting which may be heard upon calling our office at your convenience. In addition, we will have it posted on this website. Be sure to check back at your convenience.
WHERE CAN I LIVE?
The HAWC covers the entire Walker County area. Once you are issued a section 8 voucher, you may search the private rental market anywhere in Walker County for a housing unit that is decent, safe and sanitary according to the Housing Quality Standards (HQS) established by HUD and the HAWC.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER I LOCATE A RENTAL UNIT?
When you have found a suitable unit and the owner agrees to lease the unity to your family under the housing choice voucher program, the HAWC will inspect the unit to assure that meets the Housing Quality Standards (HQS) guidelines. After the unit passes the HQS inspection and the rent has been approved, the landlord and the tenant enter into a lease agreement for an initial term of one year. The HAWC and the landlord sign a Housing Assistance Payments Contract (HAP) through which the rent is assisted on your behalf. You will be responsible for the monthly payment of the difference between the total rent and the housing assistance payment.
WHAT IF I NEED TO MOVE? CAN I CONTINUE TO RECEIVE THIS ASSISTANCE?
The Housing Choice Voucher Program is designed to allow families to move without the loss of rental assistance. We realize that a family's housing needs change over time for various reasons such as job locations, changes in family size, etc. Moves are allowed as long as the proper process is followed. Your Section 8 Coordinator will be happy to walk you through the process should this situation arise. You must live in the jurisdiction of the current housing authority for at least 12 months to be eligible to transfer under the "portability" option. A family that wishes to move to another housing authority's jurisdiction must consult with the housing authority that currently administers its rental assistance to verify the procedures for moving. Failure to follow the proper process may result in the family forfeiting their voucher.
If the unit I want to rent is too expensive, can I pay the difference to the landlord on the side?
No. To pay the landlord extra or additional monies on the side is fraud. This would be the landlord committing fraud and the family committing fraud. Both parties would be terminated from the program and may be prosecuted.