Housing Authority of Lancaster

Housing Choice Voucher


The Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCV), commonly referred to as Section 8, is the largest United States affordable housing program funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD furnishes technical and professional assistance in managing these funds. The HA must create written policies that are consistent with HUD regulations. Among these policies is the HA Administrative Plan.  The Administrative Plan must be approved by the board of commissioner of the HA.

The program’s primary purpose is to provide rental assistance to low-income families, the elderly and the disabled for affordable decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private rental market.  This tenant-based rental assistance program ensures that families are not forced to spend an unreasonable portion of their monthly income on shelter and allows them flexibility in selecting a community or neighborhood in which to live. 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 Housing Authority of Lancaster (HAL) administers a maximum of 247 Vouchers based upon funding. With a voucher, a family is responsible for finding a suitable housing unit of the family’s choice where the owner agrees to rent under the program in the private rental market. This unit may include the family’s present residence.  HAL must inspect all housing and ensure it meets Housing Quality Standards. A housing subsidy is paid to the landlord directly by the HAL on behalf of the participating family. The family then pays the difference between the actual rent charged by the landlord and the amount subsidized by the program. If the family chooses to move, the assistance may be transferable.

Applicants can be on both the Public Housing waiting list and Housing Choice Voucher Waiting List.

HOW TO APPLY

Pre-applications for housing choice voucher are available only during the periods of open registration. We may close the application process from time to time due to an excessive number of applications on file.

Families or individuals wishing to apply for the Housing Choice Voucher Program must be 18 years of age or older.    When the Authority’s waiting list is open, applicants complete a pre-application form at the Housing Authority main office located at 3502 Caroline Courts, on the designated day(s) and times when it is posted that applications are taken.  The pre-application includes only the information required to place a family on the waiting list.  Each applicant is required to supply the information requested on the pre-application form and to sign the pre-application certifying the accuracy of the information provided. Only the following documents are required at this time:

  • Provide valid picture ID’s for head of household only (must have in order to complete the application)
  • Provide social security cards for head of household only (copies are not acceptable)
  • Provide Birth certificate for Head of Household only

The pre-application for admission is dated; time stamped, and placed on the waiting list is in this order.

Persons with disabilities who require a reasonable accommodation is completing a pre-application may call the Housing Authority to make special arrangements.

When a family nears the top of the waiting list, a full application is completed.  This procedure ensures the information collected and verified is accurate and up-to-date when the Voucher becomes available for issuance.

Waiting List

HAL will conduct an initial review of all pre-applicants to determine eligibility to be placed on the waiting list.  If an applicant is determined to be ineligible at this time, the Authority will send notification of the ineligibility.  The notice will specify the reasons for ineligibility, and will inform the family of its right to request an informal review and explain the process for doing so.  All other pre-applicants will be placed on the waiting list.

Placement on the waiting list does not indicate that the family is, in fact, eligible for assistance.  A final determination of eligibility will be made when the family is selected from the waiting list.

Eligibility

To meet eligibility requirements for the Housing Choice Voucher Program, a family or individual must meet PHA’s qualifications for admissions criteria in accordance with the Administrative Plan.

  • Completed application with supporting documentation
  • Meet not exceed income limits as defined by HUD
  • Meet Citizenship/Eligible immigration status
  • Provide valid picture ID’s for all household members 18 years of age and older (must have in order to complete the application)
  • Provide social security cards for all household members (copies are not acceptable)
  • Birth certificates or custodial and/or guardianship papers
  • Proof of all income, including letter from Social Security, Veteran’s Administration, pensions, employment, self-employment, unemployment benefits and child support payments.
  • Proof of assets such as bank accounts, life insurance policies, etc.
  • Verification of child care expenses
  • Verification of full-time student status for dependents over 17 years of age
  • If the head of household or spouse is over 62 years old or over, or a person with disabilities, you may bring verification of medical expenses or anticipated expenses such as, health insurance payments, on-going prescriptions, doctor’s visits, payback agreement on hospital bills, etc.

Additionally, the PHA will examine relevant information pertaining to past and current habits or practices to include but not limited to:

  • Credit History: Past performance in meeting financial obligations especially rent and utilities.  We run a consumer credit check on every applicant.  If you owe money to a previous landlord or utility company, you might not be approved for assistance.
  • Criminal History: History of criminal activity on the part of any applicant or family member, especially drug-related activity or violence. A criminal check is run on every applicant.
  • Debts owed to any Public Housing Agency

Local Preferences

The Housing Authority of Lancaster established local preferences for selecting applicants from its waiting list. Families who qualify for any such local preferences move ahead of other families on the list that does not qualify for any preference. Each HA has the discretion to establish local preferences to reflect the housing needs and priorities of its particular community. The Housing Authority Local Preferences are:

  1. Families whose head, spouse or sole member cannot work because of age.
  2. Families whose head, spouse or sole member cannot work because of disability

ADMISSION

Once your name is reached on the waiting list, the HAL will contact you to complete the application process to determine eligibility. Applicants who are determined ineligible for admission are notified in writing stating the reason for denial. The applicant will be provided an opportunity for an informal review.

If HAL determines that your family is eligible, HAL will contact you in writing inform you of a briefing, and issue you a housing voucher.

UPDATING YOUR INFORMATION

Applicants:

Applications for admission should be updated whenever changes to address, family composition or employment occur for any person listed on application for admission. It is your responsibility to report to us in writing any changes in your contact information. The Application Update Form along with any supporting documentation can be hand-delivered or mailed to:

Housing Authority of Lancaster

3502 Caroline Courts
P.O. Box 1235
Lancaster, SC 29721
Attn: Admission & Occupancy Specialist

Hal Responsibilites

  • Reviews all applicants to determine program eligibility
  • Explains and enforces the rules of the program to families and property owners/landlords
  • Issues HCV to families
  • Inspects the properties for compliance with HQS
  • Approves the property, the owner and the lease
  • Sends housing assistance payments to the owner
  • Conducts annual re-exams of the family’s income and composition and adjusts rent portions if necessary.
  • Terminate assistance payments and/or terminate families from the program when the landlord and/or program participant fails to comply with program requirements.