Special Case Section 8 Vouchers
Section 8 vouchers are designed to help support low-income families that require assistance in basic human needs such as finding adequate housing and paying rent.
Often times, those who receive Housing Choice vouchers will only be required to pay 30% of their total rent costs; the outstanding balance is funded by the United States government. These kinds of vouchers are vital in getting families improved living situations thereby enhancing their overall quality of life and putting them in a position to one day be able to wholly support themselves.
Since no two families or their living conditions are exactly the same, the United States Department of Housing created what are known as "special case" vouchers; these help direct attention to the specific needs and situations of individuals and families. Some of these special cases include Section 8 for the Disabled, Homeownership Voucher, and Family Unification Program. Below, we'll detail the differences between these cases to better help you understand what program would be most beneficial to you and your family.
Family Unification Program
Sometimes shortened and referenced as the "FUP", the Family Unification Program aims to unite families who may have been separated or estranged or who may have been placed in foster care and no longer are eligible for assistance within the foster community. This includes 18-21-year-old individuals who are not in a position to qualify for other housing benefits due to having spent their youth in foster care.
This program is administered by the Public Housing Authorities with support from Public Child Welfare Agencies. Through carefully provisioned requirements, Public Child Welfare Agencies determine if a family is eligible for assistance, and if they decide that they do, they will then give the family a certification to enable them to join a public housing authority waiting list. Depending on the family's particular circumstance, their position on the waiting list may be high or lower than other families.
At this time, the Public Housing Authority must perform a standardized investigation that is meant to prove if the applicant meets all of the eligibility requirements.
It's important to ensure that the Public Housing Authority in your community works with the Family Unification Program before proceeding.
There are specific requirements in order to be considered eligible for the housing voucher program or the family unification program.
In the Family Unification Program, the Public Child Welfare Agency must determine that the lack of housing is one of the primary factors for the immediate placement of the family's children or the delayed discharge of a child to the family from what is otherwise referred to as out-of-home care.
If a family is living in unsafe or below-standard housing, are homeless or are in danger of being displaced or losing their home due to factors like domestic violence, overcrowdedness or are living in an area that is inaccessible to their disabled children, they will meet the requirement for inadequate housing.
For youths who are living independently, the Public Child Welfare Agencies must determine that they are between the ages of 18 and 21, have been out of foster care since they were 16 or older, and do not currently have an adequate living situation.
In an effort to assist those that may have had children at a time in their life where they were unstable, whether it was due to drugs, poverty, or lack of housing, the Family Unification Program is designed to assist those individuals to move on from their pasts and rejoin and rebuild their family.
Homeownership vouchers are not loan programs but they assist with meeting mortgage payments in order to give families greater stability and safety as they rebuild their lives. This voucher allows first-time home buyers to use their Section 8 benefits towards their mortgage payment.
In order to qualify, families must already be receiving assistance via Section 8 and must be first-time home buyers. In addition, the overall income of the adults in the family must not be less than the minimum hourly wage x 2000 hours as set out by the federal government.
Some restrictions will not apply should the family have members who are disabled.
Finally, at least one member of the family must have had full-time employment for a minimum of one year before they are eligible.
NED vouchers, or Non-Elderly Disabled vouchers, are specifically for disabled persons under 62 years of age who are currently living in an assisted living facility but are looking to transition out of them. They must have a PHA approved plan to be eligible for assistance.
While many people use Section 8 benefits for single-family homes or apartment units, those with disabilities may use it towards a group home or shared housing, including assisted living facilities; However, this must be requested as a reasonable accommodation.
While it is legal for landlords to turn down tenants utilizing section 8 housing vouchers, it is not legal to refuse occupants with disabilities. Your local PHA can assist with this if you feel your rights are being interfered with.
Conversion Vouchers are used to assist families and individuals whose living conditions have been affected by demolition or conversion of public housing units.
HUD-VASH is an agency that assists veterans who have a low-income or are homeless.
For further inquiries, contact your local PHA.