What are Housing Choice Vouchers?
The housing choice voucher program is the federal government's major program for assisting very 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, participants are able to find their own housing.
The participant is free to choose any housing located within the City of Amsterdam 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 the HQS.
A housing subsidy is paid to the landlord directly 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.
Am I eligible?
Eligibility for a housing voucher is determined 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 Montgomery County. Median income levels are published by HUD annually. You can find the current income limits on the main Section 8 page.
During the application process, AHA will collect information on family income, assets, and family composition. AHA 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 it is determined that your family is eligible, we will put your name on a waiting list. Once your name is reached on the waiting list, you will be contacted via mail.
In an effort to keep the waiting list current, an update letter is mailed annually. Each applicant must return the letter received in order to remain on the waiting list.
It is imperative that you keep your address updated on your application. Any changes to the application must be submitted in writing to the AHA.
When a family selects a housing unit, and the AHA 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 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 AHA of any changes in income or family composition in writing within 10 days.
The rent subsidy
AHA 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.
Except for the rent to owner, owners may not charge any additional amounts and/or receive any payments or other consideration (from the family, the PHA, HUD, or any other public or private source) for rental of the contract unit during the HAP contract term.
The collection of side payments from HCV participants is a serious offense that is punishable under Federal law. Side payments include, but are not limited to, rent payments collected from HCV participants in addition to the agreed upon contract rent amount, fees for appliances or routine maintenance services or additional charges for utilities that are included in the rent or that the Landlord has agreed to pay. Additionally, requiring participants to perform services in lieu of payments (i.e, perform their own maintenance) is not permitted.
1. Comply with Lease – to pay your rent as due each month. Not to damage unit. Responsible for terms agreed upon in Lease. Failure to comply could result in termination of your participation in the Section 8 Program and/or eviction.
2. Notify AHA of any changes in your family composition or income, within 10 days, in writing. All changes must be reported weather an increase or decrease. This could result in change of your HAP Payment. Comply with the terms and conditions of your Certificate of Family Participation/Housing Voucher.
3. Do not sublet or lease. Any additional member to your household must be reported to the AHA and approved prior to allowing them residing in your unit. Failure to comply may result in termination.
4. Make no agreements with your landlord that are not contained in your lease or approved by your Section 8 Representative. All agreements must be in writing and a copy provided to the Amsterdam Housing Authority.
5. Notify your AHA Section 8 Representative of all complaints before any other action is taken. Notification must be in writing. Failure to do so could result in termination of your participation in the Section 8 Program.
6. Notify your AHA Section 8 Representative and your Landlord, in writing, thirty (30) days prior to your request to move or transfer. Written notification must include name, address, phone number, unit address. No transfer, termination, or move-out will be processed until our office has received the proper written notification and landlord approval. Once the notification is received you will be given an appointment to process the move.
7. Tenant and Landlord are required to notify AHA should there be any termination or interruption of any utility service, such as Gas, Electric, Water or Sewer.
8. It is your responsibility to be available, for the House Inspection and to notify your Landlord of the inspection.
9. It is mandatory that Tenant receives and retains all receipts for rent and utilities and other charges contained in your lease. Failure to do so could result in termination of your program participation.
10. It is your responsibility to maintain unit in Clean, Safe and Decent manner according to acceptable housekeeping standards.
11. Tenant is responsible for paying all damages caused by neglect or abuse by family or visitors. If the landlord requests a damage inspection, and damages in the unit beyond normal wear and tear are found, you may be terminated from the program.
12. Tenant must supply any information that PHA determines to be necessary. This includes, but is not limited to, evidence of citizenship and immigration status, information for use in annual or special certification of family composition, income and deductions.
52 Division Street
Amsterdam, New York