HOUSING CHOICE VOUCHER PROGRAM
312 Gifford Street, 9th Floor
Syracuse, NY 13204
Fax (315) 470-4436
Housing Choice Vouchers
The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program is a federally funded program administered by local public housing agencies. The HCV program enables families to obtain decent, safe, and sanitary housing by subsidizing a portion of each tenant's monthly rent and paying it directly and promptly to the property owner. Any type of private rental housing is eligible. Single family dwellings, duplex units, row houses, manufactured homes, high rise buildings and townhouses are eligible. Paperwork is minimal and the owner retains normal management rights and responsibilities, including tenant selection, rent collection, property maintenance, and lease termination.
A family receiving a voucher from SHA may use it in the City of Syracuse and surrounding communities. In addition, the family may be able to use the portability feature of the HCV program and move anywhere in the country.
The Syracuse Housing Authority currently serves over 3000 families through the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program. Annually, SHA provides approximately $20 million in Section 8 rental assistance to the greater-Syracuse area.
OUR WAITING LIST IS CLOSED. WE ARE NOT ACCEPTING NEW APPLICANTS AT THIS TIME
Please be advised that in order to be eligible for the program, you must meet the income requirements outlined below.
2019 INCOME LIMITS
|VERY LOW INCOME|
|1 PERSON||27, 850|
Housing Choice Voucher Types
Tenant-Based Housing Choice Voucher
Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH)
Tenant-Based Housing Choice Vouchers
The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher is a federally funded program administered by SHA. The HCV program enables families to obtain decent, safe, and sanitary housing by subsidizing a portion of each tenant's monthly rent.
When an eligible applicant is selected from the wait list, they will be offered a voucher. Voucher participants must look for housing that is in good condition so that it will pass the Housing Quality Standards inspection and meet rent reasonableness standards. If approved, the Section 8 family will pay a percentage (generally, 30%) of its monthly income for shelter (rent plus utilities) and SHA pays the difference directly to the owner of the unit.
Under this program:
- A family that is issued a housing choice 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.
- Participants must be prepared to pay a security deposit.
- Property taxes must be current at that location.
- The rent must be reasonable in comparison to similar units.
- The Voucher participant and the Landlord have to sign a lease.
- The Landlord and SHA must sign a Housing Assistance Payment Contract.
- If the Voucher participant's income or family composition changes, they must report it to SHA within 30 days and their portion of the rent will be adjusted.
- Participants may not rent from close relatives unless the unit would provide reasonable accommodation for a disabled family member.
Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH)Vouchers
The HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing vouchers combines Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance for homeless Veterans with case management and clinical services provided by the Department of Veteran Affairs.
Mainstream vouchers enable families having a non-elderly person with disabilities to lease affordable private housing of their choice. Mainstream vouchers also assist non-elderly persons with disabilities who often face difficulties in locating suitable and accessible housing in the private market. The Mainstream Vouchers are only for eligible non-elderly persons with disabilities and their families who are currently experiencing homelessness, at risk of experiencing homelessness, transitioning out of institutional or other segregated setting or at risk of institutionalization.
Project Based Voucher (PBV) Program is a government-funded program that provides rental housing to low-income households in privately owned and managed rental units. Under the project-based voucher program the subsidy is attached to the unit. Because the assistance is tied to the unit, a family who moves from the project-based unit does not have any right to continued housing assistance. However, a family may be eligible for a tenant-based voucher when one becomes available. The family’s rent is based on approximately 30% of their adjusted monthly income. Anyone can apply to the project-based waiting list for properties that have PBV units. SHA has established Project Based Vouchers at the following complexes listed below:
Homes of Syracuse Courtyard at James
516 Burt Street 708 James Street
Syracuse, NY 13203 Syracuse, NY 13203
Eastwood Homes Harbor Lofts
300 Fobes Ave. 710 Emerson Ave.
Syracuse, NY 13208 Syracuse, NY 13204
Valley Vista Apartments Clinton Plaza
122 W. Seneca Turnpike 550 S. Clinton St.
Syracuse, New York 13203 Syracuse, NY 13202
Freedom Commons Ethel T. Chamberlain
200 Burt Street 610 W. Onondaga Ave.
Syracuse, New York 13202 Syracuse, NY 1302
Catherine Street Butternut Crossings
505 Catherine Street 406 Maple Drive
Syracuse, New York 13203 Syracuse, NY 13210
Housing Choice Voucher Programs
The Family Self-Sufficiency Advantage Program
The Family Self-Sufficiency Advantage (FSSA) is a voluntary employment and savings incentive program designed to assist families in becoming economically independent and self-sufficient. This unique incentive program is offered to current participants of the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program.
Some of the benefits include: Obtaining the education or training needed to make a living wage, case management and support services, preparation for Homeownership, receipt of an escrow check that the participant builds as they increase their income upon successful completion of their contract and pride in achieving their goals!
The SHA Homeownership Voucher Program provides the opportunity for existing voucher holders to utilize their voucher subsidy to pay towards a home mortgage, instead of using the family's voucher subsidy to help with rent.
Upon becoming eligible for a mortgage and purchasing a house, SHA will make monthly mortgage assistance payments on behalf of the family. The amount of this assistance (like the HCV program) is based upon the family's income.
Who is eligible for the program?
- The family must be a current participant in the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program.
- The family must qualify as a first-time home buyer.
- The family must meet other eligibility requirements of the Homeownership voucher program.
- The family must meet mortgage eligibility requirements.
- The family must complete Home Headquarters home buyers’ course.
- The participating family must meet all additional eligibility requirements that would be reviewed with the family during the intake process.
General Information for Landlords
The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program is designed to assist very low-income families in affording decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market. Since housing assistance is provided on behalf of the family or individual, participants can find their own housing, including single family and manufactured homes, apartments, and townhouses. The participants can choose any housing that meets the requirements of the program.
How to List a Vacant Property at Section 8
A landlord can add their unit to the Section 8 Rent Listings by calling (315) 470-4400. Please be prepared to provide the following information:
- Bedroom Size
- Address of Unit
- Monthly Rent
- Square Footage
- Age of Building
- Utilities Paid for By Tenant
- Amenities Provided by Owner
- Contact Information
Once the property is rented, please contact the SHA Section 8 office so that the unit can be removed from the list.
Before a tenant can move into the property, SHA is required to inspect the unit. The inspector is looking for minimum Housing Quality Standards (called HQS) to ensure that the unit is decent, safe, sanitary and in a livable condition. If the unit does not meet HQS, the landlord will be asked to make repairs to the unit prior to the client moving in. SHA will not sign the Housing Assistance Payment Contract or pay rent towards a unit until it passes inspection.
Please see the attached HQS checklist used by the inspectors:
The Department of Housing and Urban Development has implemented new laws regarding deteriorated paint (potentially containing lead) in units built before 1978. HQS inspections conducted by the SHA are required to follow these laws.
If deteriorated paint is found during an inspection, the inspector will note the violation and indicate on the inspection report whether the amount of deteriorated paint is above or below the HUD established de minimis level and that the paint must be addressed in accordance with lead safe work practices.
If the amount of deteriorated paint is below the de minimis level then the unit is re-inspected after the violations have been corrected (the deteriorated paint has been addressed).
If the amount of deteriorated paint exceeds the de minimis level, the unit is referred to the Onondaga County Health Lead Dept for inspection and clearance. The unit will not be passed until clearance is received from the County.
HUD established de minimis levels:
- 20 square feet on exterior surfaces;
- 2 square feet in any one interior room or space; or
- 10 percent of the total surface area on an interior or exterior type of component with a small surface area (such as windowsills, baseboards, and trim).
How Much Rent Can be Charged?
The landlord provides the desired rent for the unit. However, the rent must be reasonable compared to other units of similar location, quality, size, type, and age. If the rent is not reasonable to similar units, the landlord may be asked to lower the rent to accommodate the tenant interested in moving into the property. In addition, rent increases must also be reasonable in relation to comparable unassisted units in the area.
If the landlord chooses to increase the rent, they can do so one year after occupancy. The landlord must provide a copy of the rent increase notification to the SHA Section 8 Office at least 60 days prior to the desired effective date.
The tenant will pay the difference between the actual rent charged and the HAP amount. Both the tenant and SHA will pay their portions of the rent at the beginning of every month. A delay in SHA’s portion of the payment may be expected when the tenant first moves into the unit. However, a prorated rent can be paid on a mid-month move. Please contact the SHA Section 8 office for more details on when exactly payment will be sent.
The landlord has the right to select the tenant for their unit, using whatever criteria they would normally use. However, the landlord cannot discriminate against an individual because of creed, color, disability, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, military status, age, sex, marital status, or familial status. Also, a landlord cannot discriminate against an individual based on their source of income.
Tenant Related Issues
If a landlord has repeated problems with their tenant, they have the right to enforce the lease and take the necessary actions against the tenant. If the landlord does start proceedings against a tenant, they must notify the SHA Section 8 office. If the landlord sends any correspondence, such as a warning letter or a notice to vacate, please provide a copy of this correspondence to the SHA Section 8 office. In some cases, SHA may take action against the tenant to terminate the assistance prior to the eviction.
Damages beyond the normal wear and tear and are tenant-related can be paid for by the tenant. The landlord should have a standard practice listed in the lease as to how damages will be paid for by the tenant. After the tenant moves out, the landlord may take compensation for damages beyond the normal wear and tear from the tenant’s security deposit.
How Does a Family Obtain a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher?
Interested families should complete an Application for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program to have their name placed on the waiting list. There are no provisions for emergency housing. As subsidies become available, families will be contacted in order from the waiting list by their preference and date of application based on Section 8 HCV guidelines.
What Happens When a Family is selected off the Waiting List?
When a family comes to the top of the waiting list, they will be invited to complete a full application which will include the household composition, income and criminal background checks for all adults. Assuming that all guidelines are met, a voucher will be issued. The family will be given at least 60 days, but no more than 120 days to find a suitable unit.
Where can the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher be used?
The SHA HCV Program (Section 8) administers vouchers for the City of Syracuse and surrounding communities. The landlord must be willing to sign a Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) Contract with the HCV program, and the unit selected must pass the SHA Housing Quality Standards Inspection. The rent for the unit must be reasonable compared to other units that are similar in the area. The subsidy can be used at the family’s present unit, given that all guidelines are met. A family cannot rent from a close relative, unless, because of a disability, it is considered a reasonable accommodation.
There are also provisions which allow a family to use their subsidy anywhere in the United States (including Puerto Rico). This is called portability. SHA must be contacted before transferring your subsidy to another area.
The SHA HCV Program (Section 8) encourages participants to consider locating units outside of high poverty areas. Tenants should consider where they might find better housing, schools, shopping, and job opportunities.
How is Rent Assistance Provided?
SHA calculates the amount of assistance each family receives. The level of assistance is based on family size and income. A family is expected to pay approximately 30% of its income towards rent. When a family finds a unit and signs a lease, SHA will sign a HAP Contract with the owner. Each month, SHA will make housing assistance payments directly to the owner. These payments are guaranteed monthly income to the owner as long as program requirements are met.
What are the Obligations of the Family?
When a family’s unit is approved and the HAP contract is executed, the family must follow the rules outlined by HUD and the PHA in order to continue participating in the Housing Choice Voucher Program. The list of Obligations of the Family can be found in the family’s voucher paperwork. The voucher is signed by the family and a SHA official.
What are the Tenant’s Responsibilities?
- The tenant must comply with the lease. It is the tenant’s responsibility to obey all lease obligations. This responsibility includes paying their share of the rent when it is due. The tenant must occupy the unit with the authorized household members of the family. The tenant must obey the rules and regulations of the building, as well as all of the rules written in the lease. The tenant should be careful not to damage the unit. If the unit needs repairs, notify the landlord right away. The tenant must notify the landlord and SHA 30 days in advance, when they are ready to move. If the lease is violated, the family can be evicted, and the Section 8 HCV Program will stop making the subsidy payments.
- The tenant must pay the security deposit and make utility payments.When a tenant moves into a new unit, the security deposit must be paid as required by the lease. If the tenant is responsible for utilities, payments must be made promptly each month. If utility payments are not made, the tenant is in violation of the lease and may result in the loss of subsidy.
- Report changes in income or family size.Changes in income or family size can affect the amount of subsidy that the family is eligible for. The family must report changes within 30 days, so that SHA can make any necessary adjustments. Failure to report income and family size changes in a timely manner can result in the loss of subsidy. Any decrease in income must be reported within 30 days. In addition, you must report all new sources of income regardless of the amount.
Grounds for Denial or Termination of Assistance
Denial or Termination of assistance occurs when a tenant is no longer eligible for subsidy due to a violation or failure to comply with the family’s obligation, tenant responsibilities or HUD program requirements. It results in the loss of subsidy to the family. A family whose assistance is terminated may remain in the unit, but they must pay the full contract rent to the landlord. In accordance with HUD regulations, a family has the right to request an informal hearing of the decision to terminate their assistance and an informal review for denial of assistance.
The ability of a family to transfer their Housing Choice Voucher to another Housing Authority is called Portability. Portability allows you to move anywhere in the United States (including Puerto Rico) with your Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8).
Porting-Out of SHA
If you are a current participant of SHA’s Housing Choice Voucher Program and you would like to port-out to another jurisdiction, you must first contact your Housing Specialist. You must inform them of the Housing Authority you intend to port-out to. You are required to complete the “Notice to Vacate” process with your current landlord. If you are in good standing with the program and have no lease violations, SHA Staff will then forward the appropriate information to the Housing Authority you are porting to. Once SHA ports your paperwork to the new Housing Authority, you will need to follow the new policies at the new Housing Authority. You will receive a full 120 days on your voucher to port to the new Housing Authority of your choice.
Porting-In to SHA
If you are a current voucher holder and you would like to port into the Syracuse Housing Authority Housing Choice Voucher Program, you must inform your current Housing Authority. They will send the required information to our office via mail or e-mail. After we receive the information from your current Housing Authority, we will schedule your family for a briefing that must be attended by all household members ages 18 and older.
SHA’s contact information for portability is as follows:
Syracuse Housing Authority T: 315.470.4468
HAPP (Section 8) Attn: Anny Dominguez F: 315.470.4436
312 Gifford St., 9th fl firstname.lastname@example.org
Syracuse, NY 13204
Frequently asked questions
What if I cannot find a suitable unit within the 60-day time limit?
You may request an extension from your Tenant Selector at the SHA Section 8 office. You may have up to an additional 60 days to look for a unit. You must submit documentation of your search for units, and it is up to Syracuse Housing Authority whether they will extend or not.
What if I cannot afford to pay my security deposit?
In some cases, landlords will permit tenants to pay security deposits over several months. Check with your landlord to see if he or she is willing to work out a payment schedule.
Must I get a unit with the same number of bedrooms as written on my Housing Choice Voucher?
No. You may rent a larger or smaller unit. As long as you can afford it and the rent is reasonable compared to other units in the Section 8 HCV program, you may rent a larger unit. As long as the unit meets the program’s housing quality standards and the occupancy standards for your family, you may rent a smaller unit.
My mother is in a nursing home. Can she use a Housing Voucher to help pay for her room?
No. Rooms in nursing homes are prohibited from the program. You may not use a voucher for single rooms in medical, psychiatric, or rehab centers.
My mother lives in congregate housing. Can she use a Housing Voucher to help pay for her unit?
Congregate Housing and Independent Group Residences may be alright. Check with SHA to determine if your situation is permissible.
What if I disagree with the Housing Authority about my eligibility or my subsidy level?
If you disagree with a decision of SHA, ask for a file review at our HCV office. Perhaps there was a mistake or perhaps you misunderstood. If you are still dissatisfied, you may request a hearing at the agency.
What happens if the landlord wants to raise the rent?
After the first year of the lease the landlord may choose to increase the rent. The landlord must give 60 days notice to the tenant and SHA for any rent increases. Under the Section 8 HCV Program, there is no limit to the amount a landlord can raise the rent, but the rent must still be reasonable for the unit as compared to similar units.
Usually, SHA will not be able to increase the subsidy when the rent increases. You must decide if you are willing and able to pay the difference. If you cannot or will not pay the new amount, you can give 30 days written notice to move. You must contact SHA and follow the procedures for moving.
What happens if my family size changes?
You should report any changes in your family size to SHA. A change in your family size may change the amount of the subsidy that is being paid. The agency will also want to be sure that your unit is large enough for your family. If it is not large enough, then you may have to move.
What if there are maintenance problems with the unit after I move in and the landlord will not fix them?
Call SHA and ask for a complaint inspection. SHA will notify the landlord if he or she is not maintaining the unit properly. If you or your guests cause any problems in the unit, you are responsible to correct these. Failure to do so could result in the loss of your rent subsidy.
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