HUD Section 8 Rental Assistance

Overview

The primary purpose of the Section 8 Rental Assistance program is to provide rental subsidies for low-income families, helping them to afford to rent adequate, safe and affordable homes in Carteret County.

Expectations

The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) provides federal funding for the HUD Section 8 (Housing Choice Voucher) Program. HUD Section 8 assists low-income to very low-income families as well as the elderly and disabled to afford decent, safe and sanitary housing within the private rental market. The family is issued a voucher and is responsible for locating suitable housing. HUD Section 8 conducts an inspection to ensure the rental unit meets minimum housing quality standards specifically for health and safety. The Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) component subsidizes the balance of the rent to the owner or property management company.

  • Eligible family income must be below 50% of Area Median Income, which currently is $58,200 in Carteret County. This 50% equates to $29,100 for a family of four.
  • Assistance is available to 444 rental families; average of assisted families is 403 per month, with an average subsidy of $350 per month. Through this program we also have the option of using funds towards mortgage payments for participants that meet the criteria which includes being a first-time homebuyer.
  • Assistance is available to 444 rental families; average of assisted families is 403 per month, with an average subsidy of $350 per month. Through this program we also have the option of using funds towards mortgage payments for participants that meet the criteria which includes being a first-time homebuyer.
  • In 2010, 75% of our clients were defined as Extremely Low Income, with an average annual household income of $9330 for the Elderly and/or Disabled.
  • Voucher holders: 44% occupy one-bedroom unit, 36% occupy two-bedroom unit, 19% occupy three-bedroom unit and 1% occupy other units.
  • Our 2010 participants: 77% Caucasian, 22% African-American, >1% Hispanic and >1% other.

The HUD Section 8 Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program is a program for up to 30 families receiving rental assistance who would like to work towards self-sufficiency and, ultimately, become free of government assistance programs. The program provides an escrow (savings) account for clients while they are working toward self-sufficiency. As of December 31, 2010, 12 of the 27 active Self Sufficiency families have escrow accounts, with an aggregate balance of $40085. Fifty-Three (53) families have graduated from the program since its inception in 2000.

Since 2003, the United Way of Coastal Carolina has funded a transportation program for the HUD FSS program. These funds are used to assist HUD FSS clients with car repairs, delinquent car payments, car insurance, prepaid gas cards and other transportation issues. A FSS client must meet the qualifications to receive transportation assistance. These qualifications include being employed, actively seeking employment and/or enrolled in a job training or educational program. Due to the low United Way fund drive in 2009, the awarded amount decreased from $4,125 to $3,450 for fiscal year 2010-2011.

Triumphs

  • The HUD Section 8 program reorganized during the 2010 year and is now fully staffed.
  • The wait for Section 8 applicants has been reduced from approximately 3 years to approximately 2 years.
  • 50th FSS graduate received an escrow check in excess of $16,000.
  • HUD Section 8 program received a score of 96 on SEMAP (Section 8 Management Assessment Program). This score enables our program to remain listed as a “High Performing” Agency.

Stressors

  • The need for safe, decent and affordable housing remains an ongoing challenge for the residents in Carteret County. The majority of private market rental assistance in Carteret County is not affordable to households making less than 80% of the area median income ($58,200). The Fair Market Rent as determined by HUD in Carteret County is: $537 for one-bedroom, $645 for two-bedroom, $939 for three-bedroom.
  • Due to the economic climate, landlords who in the past did not require credit or criminal background reports are conducting these reports now. This puts an additional burden on our participants as many of them have credit issues generally caused by circumstances beyond their control. With more and more landlords denying participants for minor infractions on their credit or criminal reports the pool of availability is shrinking.
  • Carteret County still lacks an affordable public transportation system. With a large portion of the area in a rural setting, this continues to be a barrier for many low-income families.

Aspirations

  • Purchase a Windows-based system to replace the DOS-based Housing Authority Management system which is currently being used.
  • Culti- vate and re-establish partnerships with other local service providers to further aid HUD FSS participants obtain their personal goals in becoming self-sufficient.
  • Apply and obtain additional funding sources to assist clients in obtaining affordable housing in Carteret County.
  • Enhance current procedures of HUD Section 8 which will provide clearer understanding of the responsibilities of participants.
  • Increase active landlord participation by 25% by networking with local real estate agencies as well as private landlords.


 

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