GFHA Administrative Plan for the Housing Choice Voucher Program
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Chapter 5: Briefings and Voucher Issuance
PART II: SUBSIDY STANDARDS AND VOUCHER ISSUANCE 5-II.A.OVERVIEW The PHA must establish subsidy standards that determine the number of bedrooms needed for families of different sizes and compositions. This part presents the policies that will be used to determine the family unit size (also known as the voucher size) a particular family should receive, and the policies that govern making exceptions to those standards. The PHA must also establish policies related to the issuance of the voucher, to the voucher term, and to any extensions of the voucher term.
5-II.B.DETERMINING FAMILY UNIT (VOUCHER) SIZE [24 CFR 982.402] The subsidy standard is for the purpose of determining the appropriate size Voucher to issue to the family. An applicant may rent a smaller or larger size unit than stated on the Voucher as long as the unit size meets the minimum subsidy standard and does not exceed the maximum subsidy standard.
GFHA Policy (Board Approved 11/04/2021)
Each adult shall qualify for one bedroom.
Single person households will qualify for a one bedroom voucher (rather than efficiency).
Two minors of the same sex will qualify for one bedroom, regardless of age or age difference.
Two minors of the opposite sex who are under 5 years of age will qualify for one bedroom.
A family that consists of a pregnant woman (with no other persons) must be treated as a two-person family.
Any family member temporarily absent from the household who has no other primary legal residence shall be counted when determining Voucher size.
GFHA will reference the following chart in determining the appropriate voucher size for a family: Voucher SizePersons in Household (Minimum – Maximum) 1 Bedroom1-2 2 Bedrooms2-4 3 Bedrooms3-6 4 Bedrooms4-8 5 Bedrooms6-10
5-II.C.EXCEPTIONS TO SUBSIDY STANDARDS In determining family unit size for a particular family, the PHA may grant an exception to its established subsidy standards if the PHA determines that the exception is justified by the age, sex, health, handicap, or relationship of family members or other personal circumstances [24 CFR 982.402(b)(8)]. Reasons may include, but are not limited to:
A need for an additional bedroom for medical equipment
A need for a separate bedroom for reasons related to a family member’s disability, medical or health condition
A child who is temporarily away from the home because of placement in foster care is considered a member of the family in determining the family unit size.
Any live-in aide (approved by the PHA to reside in the unit to care for a family member who is disabled or is at least 50 years of age) must be counted in determining the family unit size;
For a single person who is not elderly, disabled, or a remaining family member, an exception cannot override the regulatory limit of a zero or one bedroom [24 CFR 982.402(b)(8)].
GFHA Policy If circumstances are justified, GFHA may grant an exception to the subsidy standard based on:
Relationship of family members
Other personal circumstances
The family must request any exception to the subsidy standards in writing. The request must explain the need or justification for a larger family unit size, and must include appropriate documentation. Requests based on health-related reasons must be verified by a knowledgeable professional source (e.g., doctor or health professional), unless the disability and the disability–related request for accommodation is readily apparent or otherwise known. The family’s continued need for an additional bedroom due to special medical equipment must be re-verified at annual reexamination. GFHA will notify the family of its determination within 10 business days of receiving the family’s request. If a participant family’s request is denied, the notice will inform the family of their right to request an informal hearing.
5-II.D. VOUCHER ISSUANCE[24 CFR 982.302] When a family is selected from the waiting list (or as a special admission as described in Chapter 4), or when a participant family wants to move to another unit, the PHA issues a Housing Choice Voucher, form HUD-52646. This chapter deals only with voucher issuance for applicants. For voucher issuance associated with moves of program participants, please refer to Chapter 10. The voucher is the family’s authorization to search for housing. It specifies the unit size for which the family qualifies, and includes both the date of voucher issuance and date of expiration. It contains a brief description of how the program works and explains the family obligations under the program. The voucher is evidence that the PHA has determined the family to be eligible for the program, and that the PHA expects to have money available to subsidize the family if the family finds an approvable unit. However, the PHA does not have any liability to any party by the issuance of the voucher, and the voucher does not give the family any right to participate in the PHA’s housing choice voucher program [Voucher, form HUD-52646] A voucher can be issued to an applicant family only after the PHA has determined that the family is eligible for the program based on verification of information received within the 60 days prior to issuance [24 CFR 982.201(e)] and after the family has attended an oral briefing [HCV 8-1].
GFHA Policy Vouchers will be issued to eligible applicants immediately following the mandatory briefing. The PHA should have sufficient funds to house an applicant before issuing a voucher. If funds are insufficient to house the family at the top of the waiting list, the PHA must wait until it has adequate funds before it calls another family from the list [HCV GB p. 8-10].
GFHA Policy Prior to issuing any vouchers, GFHA will determine whether it has sufficient funding in accordance with the policies in Part VIII of Chapter 16. If the PHA determines that there is insufficient funding after a voucher has been issued, the PHA may rescind the voucher and place the affected family back on the waiting list.
5-II.E. VOUCHER TERM AND EXTENSIONS Voucher Term [24 CFR 982.303] The initial term of a voucher must be at least 60 calendar days. The initial term must be stated on the voucher [24 CFR 982.303(a)].
GFHA Policy The initial voucher term will be 60 calendar days. The family must submit a Request for Tenancy Approval and proposed lease within the 60-day period unless GFHA grants an extension.
Extensions of Voucher Term [24 CFR 982.303(b)] The PHA has the authority to grant extensions of search time, to specify the length of an extension, and to determine the circumstances under which extensions will be granted. There is no limit on the number of extensions that the PHA can approve. Discretionary policies related to extension and expiration of search time must be described in the PHA’s administrative plan [24 CFR 982.54].
PHAs must approve additional search time if needed as a reasonable accommodation to make the program accessible to and usable by a person with disabilities. The extension period must be reasonable for the purpose.
The family must be notified in writing of the PHA’s decision to approve or deny an extension. The PHA’s decision to deny a request for an extension of the voucher term is not subject to informal review [24 CFR 982.554(c)(4)].
GFHA Policy GFHA will automatically approve up to two 30-day extensions upon written request from the family. GFHA will approve additional extensions only in the following circumstances:
It is necessary as a reasonable accommodation for a person with disabilities.
It is necessary due to reasons beyond the family’s control, as determined by GFHA. Following is a list of extenuating circumstances that GFHA may consider in making its decision. The presence of these circumstances does not guarantee that an extension will be granted:
Serious illness or death in the family
Other family emergency
Obstacles due to employment
Whether the family has already submitted requests for tenancy approval that were not approved by GFHA
Whether family size or other special circumstances make it difficult to find a suitable unit
Any request for an additional extension must include the reason(s) an additional extension is necessary. GFHA may require the family to provide documentation to support the request or obtain verification from a qualified third party. All requests for extensions to the voucher term must be made in writing and submitted to GFHA prior to the expiration date of the voucher (or extended term of the voucher).GFHA will decide whether to approve or deny an extension request within 10 business days of the date the request is received, and will immediately provide the family written notice of its decision.
Suspensions of Voucher Term [24 CFR 982.303(c)] The PHA must provide for suspension of the initial or any extended term of the voucher from the date the family submits a request for PHA approval of the tenancy until the date the PHA notifies the family in writing whether the request has been approved or denied.
Expiration of Voucher Term Once a family’s housing choice voucher term (including any extensions) expires, the family is no longer eligible to search for housing under the program. If the family still wishes to receive assistance, the PHA may require that the family reapply, or may place the family on the waiting list with a new application date but without requiring reapplication. Such a family does not become ineligible for the program on the grounds that it was unable to locate a unit before the voucher expired [HCV GB p. 8-13].
GFHA Policy If an applicant family’s voucher term or extension expires before GFHA has approved a tenancy, GFHA will require the family to reapply for assistance. Within 10 business days after the expiration of the voucher term or any extension, GFHA will notify the family in writing that the voucher term has expired and that the family must reapply when the waiting list is open in order to be placed on the waiting list.