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The Housing Choice Voucher program is the federal government's program for assisting very low-income families, elderly, and the disabled 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. Housing Choice Vouchers are administered locally by Public Housing Agencies (such as the Housing Authority of the County of Butler).
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Eligibility for a housing voucher is determined by the Public Housing Agency (PHA) 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. During the application process, the PHA will collect information on family income, assets and family composition. The PHA will verify this information with other local agencies, your employer, bank and will use the information to determine program eligibility and the amount of housing assistance payment you will receive. If you are determined eligible, the PHA will put your name on a waiting list. Once your name has reached the top of the waiting list, the PHA will contact you and issue you a voucher.
The participating family is responsible to pay the rent and the utilities for which they are obligated under the lease. They are also responsible to follow all the terms of the lease. Serious or repeated lease violations can result in the termination of housing assistance under the federal regulations. If the family damages the rental unit beyond normal wear and tear, they are responsible to pay for the damages. The landlord must collect these damage amounts through the local court system.
Any existing rental unit may be eligible; single family homes, condominiums, apartments, mobile homes, townhouses, duplexes, etc., located in Butler County. All rental units must conform to Housing Quality Standards and meet local code requirements.
The landlord must attract a family that has already been determined as eligible and has been issued a voucher by the Housing Authority. The landlord is responsible to screen the family for suitability as a tenant, just as they would any prospective tenant. If the landlord decides to rent to the family, a Request for Tenancy Approval (RFTA) is completed and submitted to the Housing Authority. Eligible families are given the RFTA at the time they are issued a voucher. The Housing Authority schedules an inspection of the rental unit within 15 days of receiving the RFTA. If the unit meets Housing Quality Standards and the rent amount is approved by standards set by HUD, the contract is signed by the Housing Authority, the Housing Choice Voucher participant and the landlord. The landlord is expected to collect a security deposit and the family's share of the rent. The landlord is expected to maintain the property's overall condition and see that the basic plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling systems, etc. are functioning properly. Should the family violate the terms of the lease or fail to pay the rent, the landlord needs to notify the Housing Authority so that they may take proper action and the landlord would then go through proper eviction procedures.