Program Eligibility Criteria
A person can apply to the program when the Waiting List is open. Anyone can apply for HCV assistance. When an application is “pulled” from the Waiting List, WHA determines if the family is eligible for the HCV Program. The WHA does not screen families for suitability as a renter but is required to screen for criminal background and income eligibility.
WHA screens applicants for criminal activity. An applicant must be determined ineligible for life if they were convicted of selling methamphetamines on federally funded property or convicted of a crime that requires "lifetime" registration as a sex offender. For all other criminal activity, WHA specifically looks at those committed in the last 3 years. Other factors would be the number of arrests and the severity of the law broken. Crimes of violence, destruction of property, and drug related crimes are especially scrutinized. The WHA may consider arrests beyond the 3 year timeframe if needed to make a determination.
HUD sets the income limits for families which can be found at http://www.huduser.org/datasets/il.html WHA must ensure that 75% of new admissions are in the Extremely Low Income (ELI) Limit which is those whose income is at or below 30% of the median income. But WHA may also admit up to 25% of new admissions per year families whose income falls in the Very Low Income (VLI) limit.
Typically, it takes 1 to 2 years to go from being on the Waiting List to being housed on the program. This timeframe can be shorter or longer depending on available funding and position on the Waiting List. Once a family is qualified to be on the program, they are issued a voucher for the number of bedrooms for which they qualify. At that point, a voucher holder can look for housing that meets their specific needs. While the voucher itself is not actually “worth” a dollar amount, WHA encourages voucher holders to find units within their voucher size and within the payment standards. The payment standards, which includes rent and utilities, is the gross rent for the family and is based on HUD determined Fair Market Rents (FMR) which also are based on combining the cost of rent and utilities for a unit. Annual FMR updates can be found at http://www.huduser.org/datasets/fmr.html.