Families, where neither the head of household nor spouse/significant other/co-tenant, had a legal residence in the St. Cloud Housing & Redevelopment Authority’s jurisdiction at the time of application, will not have the right to portability for the first 12 months they are accepted to the Housing Choice Voucher Program. They will need to use their voucher assistance within the St. Cloud Housing & Redevelopment Authority’s jurisdiction for the first 12 months of their initial participation period.
Families participating in the Voucher Program will not be allowed to move more than once in any 12-month period and under no circumstances will the St. Cloud Housing & Redevelopment Authority allow a participant to improperly break a lease. Under extraordinary circumstances the St. Cloud Housing & Redevelopment Authority may consider allowing more than one move in a 12-month period.
Families may only move to a jurisdiction where Housing Choice Voucher Program is being administered.
If a family has moved out of their assisted unit in violation of the lease, the St. Cloud Housing & Redevelopment Authority will not issue a voucher, and will terminate assistance in compliance with Section 17.0, Grounds for Termination of the Lease and Contract.
A family must be income-eligible in the area where the family first leases a unit with assistance in the Voucher Program. If a portable family is already a participant in the Initial Housing Authority's Voucher Program, income eligibility is not re-determined.
Portability: Administration by Receiving Housing Authority
When a family utilizes portability to move to an area outside the Initial Housing Authority jurisdiction, another Housing Authority (the Receiving Housing Authority) must administer assistance for the family if that Housing Authority has a tenant-based program covering the area where the unit is located.
A Housing Authority with jurisdiction in the area where the family wants to lease a unit must issue the family a voucher. If there is more than one such housing authority, the Initial Housing Authority may choose which housing authority shall become the Receiving Housing Authority.
When a portable family moves out of the tenant-based program of a Receiving Housing Authority that has not absorbed the family, the Housing Authority in the new jurisdiction to which the family moves becomes the Receiving Housing Authority, and the first Receiving Housing Authority is no longer required to provide assistance for the family.
The Project Based Assistance (PBA) program is a HUD Section 8 housing subsidy program that ties rental assistance directly to a specific unit or project. Currently the PBA program has a total of 45 vouchers allocated from the tenant based vouchers. Eligible families receive rental assistance by agreeing to live in the designated newly constructed, existing, or rehabilitated units, and continue to receive assistance as long as they reside in the specific project based dwelling unit. Developments that have been approved and have contracts are Westwood Village Apartments One, Swisshelm Village Apartments One, Swisshelm Village Apartments Two, Eastwood Apartments and The Highlands Apartments.
Funding for PBA comes from the agency’s existing 838 voucher funding allocation. Program regulations permit a housing agency to project-base not more than twenty (20) percent of the funding available for its tenant-based assistance program.
A. PROGRAM GOALS
To increase the supply and availability of long-term affordable housing for very low-income households in the City of St. Cloud.
To disperse concentrations of assisted families.
To promote partnerships between public, semi-public, or non-profit agencies and organizations to provide affordable housing in proximity to community amenities and services.
B. GENERAL CRITERIA FOR PARTICIPATION
Qualifying developments may be new construction, existing units, or in conjunction with a rehabilitation project and meet HUD Housing Quality Standards (HQS).
Qualifying developments must be located in the city limits of St. Cloud, Benton County, Sherburne County or Wright County.
No more than 25% of the dwelling units in any one building may be project-based with the following exemptions: single family properties and dwelling units specifically for elderly families or families receiving supportive services.
Current residents of proposed PBA units must have incomes of less than 50% of the area median income as defined by HUD to remain in a PBA assisted unit.
New residents or vacancies in PBA assisted units must be filled by eligible families from the PHA’s Section 8 Waiting List. The PHA will make selected applicant names available to the owner as soon as possible, no later than thirty (30) days of receiving the owner’s notification of vacancy. Owners may establish tenant screening and selection procedures provided they are reasonably applied and consistent with the PBA program criteria and are enforced uniformly.
Owners of qualifying developments will be required to enter into a Housing Assistance Payments Contract with the St. Cloud HRA for a period of not less than one year and not more than ten years.
Qualifying developments must not have initiated construction or rehabilitation activities before executing an Agreement to Enter into a Housing Assistance Payments Contract.
Financing for construction or rehabilitation of qualifying developments is the responsibility of the owner. The PBA program is a rental assistance program only. However, participation in the PBA program may increase the development’s opportunity for funding from the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency (MHFA) and other funding sources.
Qualifying developments must propose Gross Rents that are determined reasonable by the PHA and approved by the Department of HUD.
C. APPLICATION PROCEDURES
The PHA will advertise the availability of the PBA program, inviting interested parties to make application. The advertisement will be published once a week for three consecutive weeks and specify an application deadline of at least 30 days after the last date advertised. The advertisement will specify the number of units the PHA estimates that it will be able to assist under the available funding and include the PHA’s selection criteria. Applications will only be selected from respondents to the published advertisements. After receipt of the completed PBA applications, PHA staff will conduct a review of the proposals and rank them in accordance with the PHA’s established Section 8 Policies, selection criteria, and their apparent adherence to applicable HUD regulations. The PHA may forward applications to HUD for review and approval of certain compliance issues.
D. PROGRAM OPERATION
Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) Contract The owner must enter into a HAP contract with the PHA. The initial HAP contract term may not be less than one year or more than ten years and is subject to the future availability of sufficient funding under the PHA’s Annual Contributions Contract (ACC) with HUD. Within these limits the PHA has the sole discretion to determine the HAP contract term. The PHA has the sole discretion to renew or to not renew expiring HAP contracts. The effective date of the HAP contract may not be earlier than the date of the PHA inspection and acceptance of the unit. After commencement of the HAP contact term the PHA must make monthly housing assistance payments for each unit occupied under lease by a family.
Responsibilities of the PHA The PHA must inspect the project before, during and upon completion of construction or rehabilitation; and, ensure that the amount of assistance committed to the development is within the amounts available under the ACC.
Responsibilities of the Owner
Perform all of the owner responsibilities under the Agreement and the HAP contract.
Provide the PHA with a copy of any notice of termination of tenancy.
Offer vacant, accessible units to a family with one or more members with a disability requiring the accessibility features of the vacant unit and already occupying an assisted unit not having such features.
Provide not less than one-year written notice to tenants and HUD of expiration or termination of the HAP contract.
Family Participation A family becomes a participant when the family and owner execute a lease for a unit with project-based assistance. The PHA will use the tenant-based waiting list to select participants for admission to the PBA program. Participants must be selected from the PHA waiting list in accordance with the admission policies section of the PHA Administrative Plan.
Before a PHA elects to assign assistance to a specific unit the PHA must determine whether an eligible family occupies the unit.
Income Limits for Admission
An eligible applicant must be a "family" whose annual income does not exceed the applicable income limit set by HUD.
Filling Vacant Units
When the owner notifies the PHA of vacancies in units to which PBA assistance is available, the PHA will refer to the owner one or more families of the appropriate size on its waiting list. A family that refuses the offer of a unit with PBA assistance keeps its place on the PHA’s waiting list.
To the extent possible, the owner must rent all vacant PBA assisted units to eligible families referred by the PHA from its waiting list subject to appropriate tenant screening. The PHA must determine eligibility for participation in accordance with HUD requirements. If the PHA does not refer a sufficient number of interested applicants on the PHA waiting list to the owner within 30 days of the owner’s notification to the PHA of a vacancy, the owner may advertise for or solicit applications from other eligible very-low income families. The owner must refer these families to the PHA to determine eligibility.
The owner is responsible for the screening and selection of tenants. The owner must adopt written tenant selection procedures that are consistent with the purpose of improving housing opportunities for very low-income families, maintaining a decent living environment for all tenants, and enforcing appropriate lease provisions.
The PHA may, at its sole discretion, continue to provide assistance to the owner for a unit that becomes vacant after the assisted occupancy by a family for up to a maximum of 60 days. Payment will only be made if the vacancy is not the fault of the owner and owner takes every reasonable action to minimize the likelihood and extent of vacancies.
Briefing of Families
When the family is selected to occupy a project-based unit, the PHA must provide the family with information concerning the tenant rent, any applicable utility allowance and a copy of the HUD-prescribed lead-based paint brochure.
The family must also attend a briefing session and be provided with a full explanation of the following:
Family and owner responsibilities under the lease and HAP contract
Information on Federal, State and Local equal opportunity laws and ordinances.
The fact that the subsidy is tied to the unit and if the family moves from the unit they may be offered tenant-based assistance.
The family’s options under the program, if the family is required to move because of a change in family size or composition.
Information on the PHA’s procedures for conducting informal hearings for participants, including a description of the circumstances in which the PHA is required to provide the opportunity for an informal hearing under 24 CFR 983.208 and of the procedures for requesting a hearing.
Rent and Housing Assistance Payments
For the following components of the PBA program the same rules of the Section 8 tenant-based program apply. For detail, call 320-252-0880 and ask for the Section 8 Director.
Determination of the FMR/exception rent limit
Determination of family income and composition
Regular and interim examinations
Utility allowance schedule
Housing Assistance Payment
The monthly housing assistance payment equals the gross rent minus the higher of:
The total tenant payment
The minimum rent of $40.00
Amount of Rent Payable by Family to Owner
The amount of rent payable by the family to the owner must be the Tenant Rent. The Tenant Rent is calculated by subtracting the amount of the housing assistance payment from the contract rent.
The PHA has established a minimum rent of $40 for families living in all PHA Section 8 assisted units.
The lease between the family and the owner must be in accordance with HUD regulations and requirements and include all provisions required by HUD and not include any provisions prohibited by HUD.
When offering an accessible unit to an applicant not having disabilities, the owner must:
Require the applicant to agree to move to a non-accessible unit when one becomes available and an eligible disabled applicant or tenant is in need of such unit; and
Incorporate the agreement into the lease.
Term of Lease
The term of a lease, including a new lease or a lease amendment, executed by the owner and the family must be for at least one year. The term may be less than one year if the remaining term of the HAP contract is less than one year.
The family must notify the PHA and the owner in accordance with the lease before the family moves out of the unit. The lease may contain a provision permitting the family to terminate the lease on not more than 60 days advance written notice to the owner.
In the case of a lease term being more than one year, the lease must contain a provision permitting the family to terminate the lease on not more than 60 days notice after the first year of term.
The owner may offer the family a new lease for a term beginning at any time after completion of the first year of the lease.
The owner must give the family a written notice of the offer at least sixty (60) days before the proposed commencement date of the new lease term. The offer must specify a reasonable time for acceptance by the family. Failure by the family to accept the offer of a new lease in accordance with this paragraph shall be "other good cause" for termination of tenancy.
Overcrowded and Under-occupied Units
If the PHA determines that a contract unit is not decent, safe and sanitary because of an increase in family size that causes the unit to be overcrowded based on the PHA’s subsidy standards:
The PHA must offer the family a suitable alternative unit if one is available; and
The family shall be required to move.
If the PHA does not have a suitable unit available within the family’s ability to pay, the PHA must offer Section 8 assistance to the family if it has sufficient funding.
The PHA must otherwise assist the family in locating other standard housing in the PHA’s jurisdiction and within the family’s ability to pay. The PHA must require the family to move to such a unit as soon as possible.
The family must not be forced to move and the PHA may not terminate the HAP contract for reasons stated in this paragraph, unless the family rejects, without good reason the offer of a unit that the PHA judges to be acceptable.
Informal Review or Hearing
For the PBA program the applicable sections of informal reviews for applicants and informal hearings for participants are the same as for the Section 8 tenant-based programs. Refer to the chapter "Complaints and Appeals," of the Section 8 Administrative Plan.
Continued Assistance for a Family when the HAP Contract is Terminated
If the HAP contract for the unit expires or if the PHA terminates the HAP contract for the unit, the PHA must issue tenant-based assistance to the assisted family in occupancy of the unit, unless the PHA does not have sufficient funding for continued assistance for the family.
The PHA does not have to issue the family tenant-based assistance if the family is being denied or terminated because of the family’s actions or failure to act in accordance with their lease or the HAP Contract.
If the total number of PBA assisted units are not occupied by eligible assisted families, then the available unobligated funds under the ACC that were committed for support of the PBA units must be used for the PHA’s tenant-based assistance program.
Limits of Initial Rent to Owner
The initial rent to owner for a unit may not exceed the reasonable rent as determined by the PHA. The initial rent established by the HAP Contract must not exceed 110% of the established Fair Market Rent or any HUD-approved exception payment standard. The payment standard is determined by the PHA in accordance with the rules for the Section 8 tenant-based assistance program. See the chapter "Owner Rents, Rent Reasonableness, and Payment Standards" of the Section 8 Administrative Plan.
Approval of Initial Rent
The PHA approves the initial rent to owners for PBA units that are not HUD-insured or PHA-owned. To determine that the initial rent to the owner is reasonable, the PHA will apply the same procedure as Voucher assisted units. See the Chapter "Owner Rents, Rent Reasonableness, and Payment Standards".
If a unit has been allocated a low-income housing tax credit under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 at 26 U.S.C. 42, but is not located in a "qualified census tract" under that law, the rent to owner may be established at any level that does not exceed the rent charged for comparable units in the same building that receive the tax credit but do not have additional rental assistance. The PHA must certify that the initial rent to owner for a unit does not exceed the reasonable rent. For PHA-owned PBA units or units financed with a HUD insured multifamily mortgage, the initial rents must be approved by HUD.
Annual Adjustment of Rent to Owner
During the term of the HAP contract, the PHA must adjust the rent to owner in accordance with the following requirements:
The owner must request any proposed rent increase by written notice to the PHA at least 60 days before the proposed increase is to be effective.
The request must be submitted in the form and manner prescribed by the PHA. The PHA may not increase the rent unless:
The owner requested the increase by the 60-day deadline;
The HRA determines the proposed rent to be reasonable and under the maximum rent limit; and
During the contract, the owner complied with all requirements of the HAP contract, including the Housing Quality Standards (HQS) for all contract units.
Amount of Annual Adjustment
At least annually during the HAP contract term, the PHA must re-determine that the current rent to owner does not exceed a reasonable rent. The adjusted rent to owner equals the lesser of:
The pre-adjustment rent to owner multiplied by the applicable Section 8 annual adjustment factor published by HUD.
The reasonable rent as determined by the PHA.
The rent requested by the owner.
For PHA-owned PBA units, the PHA must request HUD approval of the annual adjustment. Except as necessary to correct errors in establishing the initial rent in accordance with HUD requirements, the adjusted rent to owner must not be less than the initial rent.
In determining annual adjustment of rent to the owner, the adjusted rent to the owner must not exceed a reasonable rent as determined by a PHA "comparability study". The comparability study must include a completed comparability analysis for each unit type on Form HUD-92273. The comparability study may be prepared by PHA staff or by another qualified appraiser.
If the owner requests a rent increase by the 120-day deadline, the PHA must submit a comparability study to the owner at least 60 days before the HAP contract anniversary. If the PHA does not submit the comparability study to the owner by this deadline, an increase of rent by application of the annual adjustment factor is not subject to the reasonable rent limit. The applicable Section 8 annual adjustment factor (AAF) is the published annual adjustment factor in effect sixty (60) days before the HAP contract anniversary.
By accepting each monthly housing assistance payment from the PHA, the owner certifies that the rent to owner is not more than rent charged by the owner for comparable unassisted units in the premises.
Special Adjustment of Rent to Owner
The PHA may only make a special adjustment of the rent to the owner if HUD has approved the adjustment.
A special adjustment may only be approved to reflect increases in the actual and necessary costs of owning and maintaining the contract units because of substantial and general increases in:
Real property taxes
Special governmental assessments
Costs of utilities not covered by regulated rates
A special adjustment may only be approved if the owner demonstrates that cost increases are not adequately compensated by application of the published AAF and the rent to the owner is not sufficient for proper operation of the housing.
The adjusted rent may not exceed the reasonable rent as determined by the PHA.
The owner must submit financial information, as requested by the PHA, that supports the request for a special adjustment.
The PHA may withdraw or limit the term of any special adjustment.
If a special adjustment is approved to cover temporary or one-time costs, the special adjustment is only a temporary or one-time increase of rent to the owner.
The PHA may not enter into an agreement to enter into a Housing Assistance Payments contract until the PHA determines that the initial rent to owner under the HAP contract is a reasonable rent.
During the term of a HAP contract, the rent to owner may not exceed the reasonable rent as determined by the PHA.
The PHA must determine whether the rent to owner is a reasonable rent in comparison to rent for other comparable unassisted units.
To make this determination, the PHA must consider:
The location, quality, size, unit type, and age of the contract unit.
Any amenities, housing services, maintenance and utilities to be provided by the owner in accordance with the lease.
Correction of Rent
At any time during the life of a HAP contract, the PHA may revise the rent to owner to correct any errors in establishing or adjusting rent to owner in accordance with HUD requirements. The PHA may recover any excess payment from the owner.
Maintenance, Operation and Inspections
The owner must provide all the services, maintenance and utilities as agreed under the HAP contract.
Housing assistance payments are subject to abatement or other applicable remedies if the owner fails to meet these obligations.
The PHA must inspect each dwelling unit under HAP contract at least annually and as necessary to assure that the owner is meeting the obligations to maintain the unit in decent, safe and sanitary condition and to provide the agreed upon utilities and other services.
Refer to the chapter "Housing Quality Standards and Inspections" of the Section 8 Administrative Plan for details.
The PHA may reduce the initial rent to owner because of other governmental subsidies including tax credit or tax exemption, grants or other subsidized financing.
For provisions prohibiting PBA to units in certain types of subsidized housing, see CFR 983.7(c).
The Bridges Program, funded through the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency (MHFA) has been in existence since July 1, 1992. It is a State of Minnesota rental assistance program used to provide housing for adults with serious and persistent mental illness (SPMI).
Participants are referred to the program by support services staff from the four county areas (Benton, Sherburne, Stearns or Wright). It is monitored by the Department of Human Services, Mental Health Division and MHFA. The state rental subsidy is temporary and "bridges" the gap between homelessness, treatment centers, institutional facilities and permanent affordable housing. A Bridges subsidy fosters the integration of persons with SPMI into their communities through a partnership of housing subsidy and supportive services. This program is open to any adult with SPMI regardless of gender, race, creed, national origin, religion, political affiliation, social or economic status, sexual orientation or choice of lifestyle.
For you to be eligible you must:
• Be head of household or other household member who is 18 years of age or over;
• Have a diagnosed serious persistent mental illness as defined in the Comprehensive Mental Health Act;
• Have gross income at or below 50 percent of the area median income;
• Apply and accept when offered a permanent housing subsidy such as a Housing Choice (S8) voucher ; • Live in a rental unit that meets federal Section 8 Existing Housing Quality Standards
HOW TO APPLY
Participants must be referred to the program by support services staff from one of the four county areas (Benton, Sherburne, Stearns or Wright). Under the Bridges Program, participants pay 30% of their gross monthly income for rent with no allowance made for utility expenses.
Eligible payments include and are made directly to your landlord for:
• Rental assistance
• security deposit
• utility deposit
• contract rent for up to 90 days during a medical or psychiatric crisis
• payment to a utility company for up to 90 days during medial or psychiatric hospitalization
HOW LONG DO THE SUBSIDY PAYMENTS CONTINUE
The Bridges Program is considered a temporary assistance program since participants are required to apply for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, thus utilizing this program as a ‘bridge’ in the interim. Once a participant becomes eligible for the Housing Choice Voucher Program they have 60 days to find a place that will accept the Housing Choice Voucher assistance. This may be where they are already living or they may find other arrangements. At that time, the Bridges Program will end and the Voucher Program will begin.
WHAT KIND OF HOUSING CAN I RENT
Any housing that meets Section 8 Existing Housing Quality Standards Units including apartments, duplexes, townhomes, single family homes and modular homes.
This program is to assist persons with a mental illness who are working towards achieving self-sufficiency. It is funded from a grant that is co-sponsored by Benton, Sherburne, Stearns and Wright Counties. A portion of this grant can be used for housing. The housing assistance program can help adults with serious and persistent mental illness to rent a home of their own. The program had 19 participants as of December 31, 2008.
To be eligible you not only must be an adult with serious and persistent mental illness, but your must meet residency requirements of Benton, Sherburne, Stearns or Wright County.
HOW TO FIND OUT MORE
Other services provided by the program help with the following: Do you try to work but find you can’t keep a job? Are you afraid of being hospitalized again? Do you feel you can recover from mental illness and have a better life? Are you unable to pay for your medications because of a crisis, loss of job or benefits due to your mental illness? Do you need help finding a job? Do you wonder if you are ready to go to work?
For more information please contact the following:
Benton and Stearns County residents contact Hope Community Support Program
Sherburne County residents
Wright County residents
CommUNITY Project Operations Coordinator
The Mental Health Consumer and Family Survivor Network Regional Resource Center
Shelter Plus Care Program
The Shelter Plus Care (SPC) program is funded by the Department of HUD. SPC provides rental assistance for participants and requires participants to receive supportive services. The supportive service is provided by the Central Minnesota Mental Health Center, The Salvation Army or Catholic Charities. Eligible participants are persons who have chronic chemical dependency, have a serious mental illness, and are chronically homeless.
The Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program is a five year program designed to assist families obtain and maintain economic independence and self-sufficiency. Tri-County Action Program partners with the St. Cloud HRA in providing participants with financial and employment training counseling. Tri-CAP works with participants to identify future goals, locate opportunities for education and jobs, and develop necessary skills to become economically self-sufficient.
Any person(s) who has a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher or who resides in Public Housing is eligible for the program.
The FSS program also provides a financial incentive. The HRA will accrue an escrow savings account on behalf of all program participants. Program participants that successfully complete the FSS program are eligible to receive the escrow amount they have accrued.
Applications for the FSS program are available on-line and at the St. Cloud HRA office.