The Housing Choice Voucher Program provides rental assistance so that eligible families can afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing, while pursuing their goals of economic independence and self-sufficiency. Congress authorized the program in 1974, and it allows families to choose where they live in the community.

TheHousing Choice Voucher program offers two types of assistance. Under the certificate program, families pay 30% of their adjusted income for rent (less allowance for utility costs). The Housing Authority pays the difference between this amount and what the landlord charges for rent. The voucher program, provides a fixed subsidy based on a formula, and the family pays the difference between the subsidy and the amount the landlord charges for rent.

Regardless of the type of assistance, the Housing Authority requires that the home or apartment be used only as a residence, and that it meet Housing Quality Standards established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Rental fees must be reasonable, and cannot exceed the Fair Market Rent established by HUD for the area where the dwelling is located. Following a  Housing Authority inspection, the landlord must sign a contract agreeing to provide maintenance services.

Admission Preferences…

1) What is a preference?

a) The Housing Authority has a system of local preferences to be used in selecting applicants from the Waiting List. A preference overrides date and time of application. The more preferences a Housing Authority has, the less impact date and time will have.

2) How can I claim a preference?

a) You can claim one or more preferences on your initial application. Additionally, at any point in time, you can claim a preference by updating your existing application with the Housing Authority. Whenever the Housing Authority adds local preferences, existing Waiting List applicants are given an opportunity to claim the new preferences via a written update request to the applicant.

b) The Housing Authority will only schedule you once for a preference interview. If you miss your preference interview, you will not be given another appointment to prove the preference. Your application will be added to the Waiting List without benefit of the preference.

3) What preferences are in place at the Housing Authority of East Baton Rouge Parish?

a) Local preferences are outlined in the Housing Authority’s Annual Plan which is updated annually. Currently, the HAEBRP utilizes the following preferences:

Elderly/Disabled Preference – The HA will give elderly (62 years of age or older) head-of-household, spouse or co-head and/or disabled families (head, spouse or co-head) preference.

Homeless Veteran Preference – The HA will give homeless veterans preference. Applicant must provide written verification of both veteran and homeless status from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System (VA). Determination of homelessness and veteran status will be made by the VA through their local office and/or the One Stop Homeless Services Center in coordination with the VA.

4) What happens if I am unable to prove my preference?

a) If the Housing Authority denies a preference, the Housing Authority will notify you in writing of the reasons why the preference was denied and offer you an opportunity for an informal meeting. If the preference denial is upheld as a result of the meeting, or you do not request a meeting, you will be placed on the waiting list without benefit of the preference. You may exercise other rights if you believe you have been discriminated against.

b) If you falsify documents or make false statements in order to qualify for any preference, you will be removed from the Waiting List in accordance with PHA policy.

Am I Eligible?

1) What is an eligibility interview?

a) The purpose of the eligibility interview is to determine if the applicant meets the criteria for admission to the HCV Program.  Information provided at the interview (such as income, family composition, etc.) will be verified in accordance with PHA and HUD requirements.

b) 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.  Applicants must also pass a criminal background screening and cannot be subject to a lifetime sex offender registration.  In general, the family’s income may not exceed 50% of the median income established for East Baton Rouge Parish, although the HAEBRP targets assistance to those families at the extremely low-income (30%) level.

c) Applicants are responsible for informing the Housing Authority of changes in family circumstances (including income, family composition and mailing address) and are responsible for responding to all requests from the Housing Authority.

2) What documentation do I need to bring to my eligibility interview?

a) You need to bring all information regarding income and assets (such as employment income, benefit and support information, contributions, account information, real property information, etc.), familial status (such as birth certificates, social security cards, divorce decree, child support orders, etc.) for all members of your household.  Additionally, if you have a household member 18 years of age or older attending school full-time, you must bring contact and enrollment information to the interview.

b) If the Housing Authority determines at the interview that more information or verification is needed, you will be given a written notice requesting the additional information within a specified time period.  If you fail to provide the requested information by the deadline, an ineligibility letter will be sent and you will be removed from the Waiting List.
c) Applicants have a right to request an informal hearing if they disagree with the determination that they are ineligible for the HCV program.  If you desire such a hearing, you must submit a written request within ten (10) days of the date of the determination notice or your right to a hearing will be waived.

3) Who needs to be present for the eligibility interview?

a) The head-of-household (applicant) and all household members (individuals that will be living with the head-of-household) that are 18-years or older must be present at the eligibility interview and must sign the required documentation.

4) If I am declared ineligible for the program, can I reapply?

a) If you are declared ineligible, you are eligible to reapply for the Waiting List as long as the Waiting List is open.  You application will be processed in the date, time and preference order of your new application.

b) Applicants have a right to request an informal hearing if they disagree with the determination that they are ineligible for the HCV program.  If you desire such a hearing, you must submit a written request within ten (10) days of the date of the determination notice or your right to a hearing will be waived.

Applying for Housing…

Following a public notice in the newspaper, interested persons are invited to make application for the public housing waiting list, which documents time and date they applied. Preference is given to individuals who meet the qualifications listed. Family size and required number of bedrooms are also taken into consideration during the selection process. All personal information is verified for accuracy. The Housing Authority may require prospective clients to sign a release to obtain documentation from other agencies.

Housing Choice Voucher Facts

The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) 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 or individual, participants are able to find their own housing, including single-family homes, townhomes 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.

The Housing Authority of East Baton Rouge Parish (HAEBRP) 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 healt and safety, as determined by the HAEBRP. A housing subsidy is paid to the landlord directly by the HAEBRP 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.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE (ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS)?

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. Applicants must also pass a criminal background screening and cannot be subject to a lifetime sex offender registration. In general, the family’s income may not exceed 50% of the median income established for East Baton Rouge Parish, although the HAEBRP targets assistance to those families at the extremely low-income (30%) level.

FY 2018 Income Limits effective April 1, 2018

Median Income

FY2018 Income Limits

1-Person Household

2-Person Household

3-Person Household

4-Person Household

5-Person Household

6-Person Household

7-Person Household

8-Person Household

$74,800

Extremely Low

$15,750

$18,000

$20,780

$25,100

$29,420

$33,740

$38,060

$42,380

Very Low

$26,200

$29,950

$33,700

$37,400

$40,400

$43,400

$46,400

$49,400

Low

$41,900

$47,900

$53,900

$59,850

$64,650

$69,450

$74,250

$79,050

HOUSING VOUCHERS – HOW DO THEY FUNCTION?

The HCV program places the choice of housing in the hands of the individual family. Families are encouraged to consider several housing choices to secure the best housing for the family’s needs. A housing voucher holder is advised of the unit size for which s/he is eligible based on family size and composition.

HOW DO I APPLY?

When the determination is made to accept applications, the HAEBRP advertises through advertisement in the local newspaper and the agency website (www.oteywhitedev.com/~ebr/) stating the date(s), location(s) and all other pertinent information needed to apply. Since the demand for housing assistance often exceeds the limited funding available to the HAEBRP, long waiting periods are common. In fact, the HAEBRP will close its waiting list when it has more families on the list than can be assisted in the near future. The HAEBRP does not provide emergency housing.

THE RENT SUBSIDY

The HAEBRP calculates the maximum amount of housing assistance allowable. The HCV family must pay 30% of its monthly adjusted gross income for rent and utilities. By law, at no time may a family pay more than 40% of their adjusted monthly income towards rent and utilities. The HAEBRP will pay the difference in rent to the owner on your behalf.

TENANT’S OBLIGATION

When a family selects a housing unit, and the HAEBRP 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 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 HAEBRP of any changes in income or family composition.

LANDLORD’S OBLIGATION

The role of the landlord is in HCV program is to provide decent, safe and sanitary housing to a tenant 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 tenant and the contract signed with the HAEBRP.

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN REAUTHORIZATION ACT OF 2013 (VAWA) INFORMATION

HCV Homeownership Program

Introducing a new program being offered by the East Baton Rouge Parish Housing Authority called the Housing Choice Voucher Homeownership Program for existing Housing Choice Voucher holders.  This program is designed to promote and support first-time homebuyers by allowing the voucher to be used for monthly homeownership expenses, rather than for monthly rental payments.  Monthly expenses include the principal and interest on a mortgage, real estate taxes, insurance, and the Housing Authority’s established allowances for utility, routine maintenance, and major repairs.

Note: Applications will be accepted when the waiting list reopens.

What families are eligible to apply for homeownership vouchers?

Current Housing Choice Voucher holders only!  First-time homeowner or cooperative member:  A family that has not owned or had ownership interest in the past three years.

Minimum income requirement: Except in the case of disabled families, the qualified annual income of the adult family members who will own the home must not be less than the Federal minimum hourly wage multiplied by2,000 hours(Example:  $6.55 X 30 hours a week = $196.50, $196.50 X52 weeks = $10, 218.00 Minimum Annual Income)  For disabled families, the qualified annual income of the adult family members who will own the home must not be less than the monthly Federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit for an individual living alone multiplied by 12.  The PHA may also establish a higher minimum income requirement for either or both types of families.  Except in the case of an elderly or disabled family, welfare assistance is not counted in determining whether the family meets the minimum income requirement.

Employment requirement. Except in the case of elderly and disabled families, one or more adult sin the family who will own the home is currently employed on a full-time basis and has been continuously employed on a full-time basis for at least one year before commencement of homeownership assistance.

Participants will be required to attend homeownership educational workshops and counseling, good credit and credit scores will be required to qualify for a mortgage loan. (For example:  no open collection accounts and no open judgments.  Credit scores are determined by each individual mortgage lender.)  Upon completion of the workshops and counseling a homebuyer’s certificate of completion will be issued to each participant.  Each participant will be scheduled an appointment to meet with a mortgage originator to start the pre-approval loan process at a local lender.

Additional eligibility requirements will be imposed by theEBRPHA.