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.
Housing choice vouchers are administered locally by CMHA. CMHA receives federal funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to administer the voucher program.
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 CMHA.
A housing subsidy is paid to the landlord directly by CMHA 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.
CMHA 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.
Once CMHA approves an eligible family's housing unit, the family and the landlord sign a lease and, at the same time, the landlord and the CMHA sign a housing assistance payments contract that runs for the same term as the lease. This means that everyone -- resident, landlord and CMHA -- has obligations and responsibilities under the voucher program.
When a family selects a housing unit, and CMHA approves the unit and lease, the family signs a lease with the landlord for at least one year. The resident 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 CMHA of any changes in income or family composition.
The role of the landlord in the voucher program is to provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing to a resident 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 resident and the contract signed with CMHA. It is the obligation of the landlord to enforce all obligations under the lease agreement with the family.
The CMHA administers the voucher program locally. The CMHA provides a family with the housing assistance that enables the family to seek out suitable housing and the CMHA 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, the CMHA has the right to terminate assistance payments. The CMHA must reexamine the family's income and composition at least annually and must inspect each unit at least annually to ensure that it meets minimum housing quality standards.
To cover the cost of the program, HUD provides funds to allow the CMHA to make housing assistance payments on behalf of the families. HUD also pays the CMHA a fee for the costs of administering the program. When additional funds become available to assist new families, HUD invites CMHA to submit an application for funds for additional housing vouchers. HUD monitors the CMHA administration of the program to ensure program rules are properly followed.
The CMHA has removed the list of CMHA owned and Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) properties from it's website. The information may still be obtained by filing a public records request to CMHA.
Email Joy.Gazaway@cintimha.com with any additional questions.