Frequently Asked Questions about the Housing Choice Voucher Program
Q.1. How does the Housing Choice Voucher Program Work?
A.1. Interested persons submit an application during open enrollment
- Applications are stored on the waiting list
- Applicants are selected from the waiting list when funding becomes available (applicants are selected based on a working and residency preference)
- Applicants are interviewed, preferences are verified, household income is verified, and criminal background history is checked
- Applicants determined eligible receive a Housing Choice Voucher and an orientation briefing and instructions on what to do next
- Qualified applicants search for and select suitable rental housing
- The AHA inspects the selected dwelling unit
- If the dwelling unit passes inspection the AHA:
- Performs a rent reasonableness assessment
- Negotiates a reasonable rent with the owner
- AHA signs a contract with the owner
- Tenant signs a lease with the owner
- AHA establishes the tenant portion of rent and housing assistance payment
- AHA authorizes the client to move in to the dwelling unit
- AHA pays a portion of rent to the owner
- Tenant pays a portion of rent to the owner
- Total of both payments equals the contract rent
- AHA performs a bi-annual unit inspection
- Continued Tenant eligibility is assessed annually
- Criminal background history is checked annually at time of re-certification
- General Information:
- Clients are assisted in privately owned rental housing (apartment, single-family home, duplex, mobile home)
- Tenant identifies rental housing of their choice
- Landlord determines to rent to the tenant
- Landlord is responsible to maintain and manage dwelling unit
- Landlord is responsible to enforce their lease
Q.2. When can I apply for the Housing Choice Voucher Program?
A.2. The AHA anticipates that it will resume accepting applications annually and will issue a public notice in advance of any open enrollment. To apply, applicants can go to www.arlingtonhousing.us. Instructions and a link will be provided on the main page. During an open enrollment period, applications will be received on-line, 24 hours per day. The AHA anticipates that it will receive thousands of applications during this period, which will provide a sufficient supply of applicants. The AHA will suspend accepting applications after the open enrollment period ends until such time that it determines it necessary and appropriate to resume accepting applications in the future.
Q.3. I am already on the waiting list. Do I need to apply again?
A.3. Yes. All active applications from the waiting list will be terminated before an open enrollment period begins, All interested persons, including previous applicants, must apply during the Open Enrollment period to be considered. The Arlington Housing Authority is migrating to a more frequent open enrollment process where open enrollment will occur annually. It is anticipated that an annual open enrollment process will provide a more efficient and more effective administrative process for applicants and staff.
Q.4. The application process requires applicants to have an email address. I don’t have an email address. How can I get one?
A.4. Applicants may obtain and utilize an email address from any Internet provider. Google, Yahoo, and many other Internet providers are available for use. As a help to applicants who need an email account, click here for Google email. The AHA does not endorse any Internet provider.The software utilized by the AHA provides applicants access to the AHA’s applicant portal, via the Internet, to check the status of their HCV application or to update the information on their application from the convenience of their home 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. The AHA will send notices, invitation appointment letters and other information to applicants by email.
Q.5. Can I apply for housing assistance in Arlington if I do not live or work in Arlington?
A.5. The HCV program is a federally funded program and anyone can apply. Applicants that live in Arlington or are employed in Arlington qualify for a local preference (see details in Q&A #6 above). Applicants who do not qualify for a local preference may be eligible for assistance; however, applicants meeting the local preferences will be served first. Be advised that almost every jurisdiction (city or county) is served by a public housing agency. Residents of that jurisdiction may apply to the public housing agency that serves their jurisdiction during their open enrollment period. NOTE – applicants selected for HCV assistance that do not reside in the jurisdiction in which they applied are required to reside in the jurisdiction providing the assistance for at least the first year.
Q.6. Is the working preference available to the elderly or persons that have a disability?
A.6. Yes. The AHA adopted a working preference as criteria for the selection of applications from its HCV program waiting list. This preference is adopted on the basis of the Board of Commissioners’ philosophy that the housing voucher resource is available to help those who are willing to help themselves. The working preference is a criterion that sorts the waiting list by applicants who are working from applicants who are not working. Applicants meeting this local preference (i.e.; applicants that are employed) are selected before applicants that are not employed. Applicants whose head of household or spouse is elderly (age 62 or older) or applicants whose head of household or spouse is disabled (applicants that qualify for and receive social security disability income) are awarded the working preference. This is a reasonable accommodation to the elderly and persons with disabilities. Applicants that are working, including applicants that are elderly and applicants with a disability, are ranked higher on the HCV waiting list than applicants who are not working or not elderly or not disabled. For the purpose of maintaining the HCV waiting list, the AHA treats applicants that are disabled or elderly the same as applicants that are working. Applicants that are working, or elderly, or disabled are served before applicants that are not working. While the working preference is the second preference, the first preference is issued to persons that live or work in Arlington.
Q.7. How long do I need to wait before I receive assistance through the Housing Choice Voucher program?
A.7. There is no predetermined waiting period to receive housing assistance. Each public housing agency is allocated a prescribed amount of rental housing assistance funding by HUD annually. The amount of funding is directly related to the maximum number of households that can be assisted. The AHA utilizes all allocated funding for their intended purposes annually serving the maximum number of persons that HCV funding will allow. The HCV program is in great demand. There are a greater number of persons that apply for HCV assistance than the AHA has resources to assist. As a result, applications are placed on the waiting list until such time that funding becomes available. In Arlington, typically between 25 to 40 HCV participants exit the program monthly. The AHA selects applicants from the HCV waiting list to replace the participants who exit the program to maintain the HCV program operations at 100%.
Q.8. As a result of a physical disability, I am homebound and I do not have access to a computer or the Internet. How can I apply for assistance through the Housing Choice Voucher program during the open enrollment period?
A.8. As a reasonable accommodation to persons with similar circumstances, you may have your advocate make application for you via the Internet or you may contact the AHA by telephone at 817-276-6722 during the open enrollment period. An AHA representative will assist you to submit an application.Save your AssistantCheck username, password, and PIN number for future reference
Q.9. I misplaced my receipt and PIN number. How can I get my PIN number?
A.9. Applicants that applied during the open enrollment period (June 18 – June 24, 2015) may obtain a copy of their application and PIN number as follows:
- Go to www.waitlistcheck.com/TX433
- Log into Waitlist Check
- Enter the applicant’s name, date of birth, and social security number
- View and print the application which will contain a unique PIN number
- Go to www.assistancecheck.com
- Log into AssistanceCheck for Applicants using your unique PIN number
- Use AssistanceCheck to access your application, make changes, and check the status of your application
Q.10. Can I apply after the enrollment period ends?
A.10. No. The AHA is only able to accept applications during the open enrollment period. Prior to accepting applications for the HCV program, the AHA posts notices in the Star Telegram newspaper, issues a press release, and posts information on its website as a public announcement of its plan to resume accepting applications. The AHA will issue a public notice when it determines it necessary and appropriate to resume accepting applications in the future. The AHA anticipates that open enrollment will occur annually.
Q.11. How much does it cost to have my name added to the waiting list?
A.11. There is no cost to apply or to receive rental housing assistance.