The Housing Authority of St. Louis County.


Frequently Asked Questions

faqs01Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV) – FAQs

What are housing choice vouchers (HCV)?

The housing choice voucher program is the federal government’s major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market. Since housing assistance is provided on behalf of the family or individual, participants are able to find their own housing, including single-family homes, townhouses and apartments.

The participant is free to choose any housing that meets the requirements of the program and is not limited to units located in subsidized housing projects.

Housing choice vouchers are administered locally by The Housing Authority of St. Louis County (HASLC) as well as other public housing agencies (PHAs). The agency receives federal funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to administer the voucher program.

A family that is issued a housing 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 rental residence. Rental units must meet minimum standards of health and safety, as determined by the agency.

A housing subsidy is paid to the landlord directly by the agency on behalf of the participating family. The family then pays the difference between the actual HASLC approved rent charged by the landlord and the amount subsidized by the program.

Am I eligible?

Eligibility for a housing voucher is determined by the agency based on the total annual gross income and family size and is limited to US citizens and specified categories of non-citizens who have eligible immigration status. In general, the family’s income may not exceed 50% of the median income for the county or metropolitan area in which the family chooses to live. By law, a PHA must provide 75 percent of its voucher to applicants whose incomes do not exceed 30 percent of the area median income. Median income levels are published by HUD and vary by location. The Housing Authority serving your community can provide you with the income limits for your area and family size.

Housing vouchers – How do they function?

The housing choice voucher program places the choice of housing in the hands of the voucher holder.  The voucher holder is encouraged to consider several housing choices to secure the best housing for the family needs. A housing voucher holder is advised of the unit size for which it is eligible based on family size and composition.

The housing unit selected by the family must meet an acceptable level of health and safety before HASLC can approve the unit. When the voucher holder finds a unit that it wishes to occupy and reaches an agreement with the landlord over the lease terms, HASLC must inspect the dwelling and determine that the rent requested is reasonable.

The agency determines a payment standard that is the amount generally needed to rent a moderately-priced dwelling unit in the local housing market and that is used to calculate the amount of housing assistance a family will receive. However, the payment standard does not limit and does not affect the amount of rent a landlord may charge or the family may pay. A family which receives a housing voucher can select a unit with a rent that is below or above the payment standard. The housing voucher family must pay 30% of its monthly adjusted gross income for rent and utilities. If the unit rent is greater than the payment standard, HASLC must determine is the client is eligible to pay above the payment standard. By law, whenever a family moves to a new unit where the rent exceeds the payment standard, the family may not pay more than 40 percent of its adjusted monthly income for rent.

What is the rent subsidy?

HASLC calculates the maximum amount of housing assistance allowable. The maximum housing assistance is generally the lesser of the payment standard minus 30% of the family’s monthly adjusted income or the gross rent for the unit minus 30% of monthly adjusted income.

Can I move and continue to receive housing choice voucher assistance?

A family’s housing needs change over time with changes in family size, job locations, and for other reasons. The housing choice voucher program is designed to allow families to move without the loss of housing assistance. Moves are permissible as long as it is approved through HASLC and the landlord.

Income Changes – FAQs

I have a new job.  How do I report it and how soon?

All changes in income or family size must be reported in writing within 10 days from the date of occurrence.

New job – provide a letter from the employer with hire date, rate of pay and average number of hours.  If employer indicates the job is on The Work Number, submit a letter with the job name and company code.

All of your income must be reported accurately when your annual recertification is completed.  Changes in income that would increase your rent portion are not mandatory to report after your recertification process has been completed.  If, however, you have completed your recertification prior to the month that your annual recertification is due and your income increases, it must be reported.  After that month and until the next recertification, it is not necessary to report income increases.  For seasonal income, the Housing Authority will use the actual anticipated income for the coming year, from all known sources for the entire year. This means, there will be no interim charge done when income decreases as it has already been anticipated.  Income decreases may be reported through Rent Café or may be sent by email to your caseworker.

I lost my job and the employer will not give me a letter – What do I do?

If your employer will not give you a letter, you will need to come in and sign an employment verification form.  You must provide the employer’s fax number and contact person.  Please remember, it is not the Housing Authority’s responsibility to obtain the documentation.  Ultimately, it is up to you.

I am going to be on medical leave.   How do I report it?

A letter from your employer is required.   The letter must indicate the dates of leave and whether it is paid or unpaid.  A statement from the doctor is not acceptable.

An adult family member moved out.  How do I report it?

Contact your caseworker to obtain an affidavit of residency form.  This form must be completely filled out and notarized.  You must provide proof listed on the form for the household member to be removed.

My hours have been reduced.  How do I report it?

A letter from your employer is required indicating your hours have been reduced and the first check stub showing the reduction must be provided.

When is the income change effective?

For decreases, the change is effective the following month the client provides documentation that the income has decreased. For increases, families are given 30 days advance notice.  The landlord and tenant are sent written notices of all changes.

Phone | (314) 428-3200 Fax | (314) 949-7585 Hearing Impaired | Relay MO 711 or 1-800-735-2966