Housing Choice Voucher Program
The Marble Falls Housing Authority administers the Housing Choice Voucher Program which is funded through the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Housing Choice Voucher program is the federal government’s major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly and the disabled afford decent, safe and sanitary housing in the private market. The family that is issued a voucher is responsible for locating a suitable unit that will pass housing quality standards, the owner agrees to the terms of the program and the rent is determined to be reasonable.
How to apply
The Marble Falls Housing Authority distributes and accepts applications between the hours of 8:00 am and 4:30 pm on the second Wednesday and the following Thursday and Friday of every month except on holidays. The Marble Falls Housing Authority will at times close and open the waiting list (with approval from the Marble Falls Housing Authority Board) and will announce through public notices in local newspapers.
Eligibility for the program is based on the total annual gross income and family size and is limited to United States citizens and specified categories of non-citizens who have eligible immigration status. In general, the family’s income may not exceed 50% of the median income for the county. By law, a PHA must provide 75% of its vouchers to applicants whose incomes do not exceed 30% of the area median income. Median income levels are published by HUD and vary by location.
During the application process, the PHA will collect information on the family’s income, assets and family composition. Some of the documents that will be required are certified birth certificate(s), social security card(s), state issued driver’s license/identification card, proof of income, proof of assets, divorce decrees and/or child support orders. This is a partial listing and other documents may be required.
If it is determined that the family is eligible for the program, the family’s application will be placed on the waiting list until funding is available to assist the family. Currently the waiting list is approximately 1 year for families in the 30% median income and 3-4 years for families in the 50% median income.
How the voucher works
The housing choice voucher program places the choice of housing in the hands of the family. A very low-income family is encouraged to consider several housing choices to secure the best housing for the family needs. A housing voucher holder is advised of the unit size for which it is eligible based on family size and composition.
The unit selected by the family must meet an acceptable level of health and safety before the PHA can approve the unit. When the voucher holder finds a unit that it wishes to occupy and reaches an agreement with the landlord over the lease terms, the unit must be inspected by the PHA and the PHA must determine that the rent requested is reasonable.
The PHA determines a payment standard that is the amount generally needed to rent a moderately priced unit in the local housing market and that is used to calculate the amount of housing assistance a family will receive. However, the payment standard does not limit and does not affect the amount of rent a landlord may charge or the family may pay. A family which receives a voucher can select a unit with a rent that is below or above the payment standard.
The voucher holder must pay 30% of its monthly adjusted gross income for rent and utilities, and if the rent is greater than the payment standard the family is required to pay the additional amount. By law, whenever a family moves to a new unit where the rent exceeds the payment standard, the family may not pay more than 40% of its adjusted monthly income for rent.
The PHA 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.