The Housing Choice Voucher Program is a federal government program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe and sanitary housing in the private market. Housing assistance is provided on behalf of the family or individual, allowing participants to identify housing in the private market.
The participant is free to choose any housing that meets the requirements of the program and where the landlord is willing to accept the voucher payment. Housing Choice Vouchers are administered locally by LHA. LHA 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 the PHA.
A housing subsidy is paid to the landlord directly by LHA 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.
LHA currently has an allocation of 1,834 vouchers, to include 113 HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) Vouchers. The Housing Choice Voucher Program Administrative Plan establishes guidelines for applicant eligibility and continued rental assistance.
Reviews and Hearing
The Housing Voucher is the contractual document, which outlines your family’s obligations under the program. Violations of any of the family obligations are grounds for termination of your housing assistance. If the Housing Authority becomes aware of any program violations committed by you or your family members, your assistance can be terminated.
If your assistance is terminated, you have a right to a hearing. You must submit a written request for a hearing within 10 business days from the date of the letter you receive indicating that your assistance will be terminated. Hearing procedures are conducted as described below.
When a request for an informal hearing is received, a hearing shall be scheduled within 10 business days. Program participants will be informed of the date and time of the hearing and the location where the hearing will be held.
Program participants have the following rights and obligations as they relate to the scheduled hearing:
- To bring evidence, witnesses, legal or other representation at the family’s expense;
- To view any documents or evidence in the possession of the Housing Authority upon which we based the proposed action and, at the family’s expense, to obtain a copy of such documents prior to the hearing;
A copy of any documents or evidence to be used at the hearing must be provided to the hearing officer. Either party must receive requests for documents or evidence no later than 12 noon the day preceding the scheduled hearing. If the family requests copies of documents relevant to the hearing, the Housing Authority will make the copies for a charge of $0.25 per copy. In no case will the family be allowed to remove the file from the office.
After a hearing date is scheduled, the family may request to reschedule only upon showing “good cause,” which is defined as an unavoidable conflict which seriously affects the health, safety, or welfare of the family.
If the family misses the scheduled hearing appointment or deadline ordered by the Hearing Officer, the action of the Housing Authority shall take effect and another hearing will not be granted.
The informal hearing shall be conducted by the Hearing Officer who is neither the person who made or approved the decision, nor a subordinate of that person.
During the hearing, families have the right to:
- Present written or oral objections;
- Examine the documents in the file, which are the basis for the action, and all documents submitted to the Hearing Officer;
- Present any information or witnesses pertinent to the issue of the hearing;
- Request that Housing Authority staff be available or present at the hearing to answer questions pertinent to the case; and
- Be represented by legal counsel, advocate, or designated representatives at their own expense.
The Housing Authority has a right to:
- Present evidence and any information pertinent to the issue of the hearing;
- Have its attorney present; and
- Have staff persons and other witnesses familiar with the case present.
The hearing shall concern only the issues for which the family has received the opportunity for a hearing. Evidence presented at the hearing may be considered without regard to admissibility under the rules of evidence applicable to judicial proceedings.
No documents may be presented which have not been provided to the other party before the hearing if requested by the other party. “Documents” include records and regulations.
The Hearing Officer may ask the family for additional information and may adjourn the hearing in order to reconvene at a later date, before reaching a decision.
The Hearing Officer will determine whether the action, inaction or decision of the Housing Authority is legal in accordance with HUD regulations and the Administrative Plan based upon the evidence and testimony provided at the hearing. Factual determinations relating to the individual circumstances of the family will be based on a preponderance of the evidence presented at the hearing.
A notice of the hearing findings shall be provided in writing to the Housing Authority and the family within 10 business days and shall include:
- A clear summary of the decision and reasons for the decision;
- If the decision involves money owed, the amount owed; and
- The date the decision goes into effect.