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Frequently Asked Questions

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  1. What is the “Section 8 Voluntary Transition Program”?
  2. Why is NYCHA offering Section 8 vouchers only to City/State developments?
  3. Why is NYCHA proposing this now?
  4. Will NYCHA continue to own, operate and provide services at these properties?
  5. What is Section 8?
  6. What does this program mean to current residents of State/City developments?
  7. What are the benefits of the Section 8 program?
  8. Are all City and State development residents eligible for a Section 8 Voucher?
  9. What is FMR?
  10. What does maximum income mean on the Fair Market Rent (FMR) Chart?
  11. When will Section 8 vouchers be available at these developments?
  12. What should current residents do if they are interested in accepting a voucher?
  13. Can current residents accept a Section 8 voucher now and later switch back to public housing?
  14. What happens to current residents who choose to participate in the Section 8 program when their income increases?
  15. What happens if income goes up to a level that a family is no longer eligible to receive a Section 8 subsidy?
  16. What happens in cases where income decreases to a level within the Section 8 program limits?
  17. Are there other ways residents could lose their Section 8 voucher?
  18. What if family composition changes once a resident accepts Section 8?
  19. What options are available for overcrowded families?
  20. Will current residents who agree to make the transition to the Section 8 program be subject to a criminal background and income check?
  21. Does accepting a Section 8 voucher change a resident's rights and responsibilities?
  22. How will apartment vacancies be filled at the City/State developments?
  23. What options are available to families on the current wait list for a City/State development?
  24. Will residents who receive Section 8 vouchers be treated differently than public housing residents?
  25. How will rent increases be determined under an FMR lease?
  26. Will apartments be inspected annually for those who transition to a Section 8 lease?
  27. How stable is funding for the Section 8 program?
  1. What is the “Section 8 Voluntary Transition Program”?

    As a part of its “Plan to Preserve Public Housing” released in April 2006, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) proposed to transition 8,400 of over 20,000 public housing apartments in 21 developments originally built by the State or City to the Section 8 program. In spring 2006, this proposal was presented to residents through a series of public meetings. NYCHA is again meeting with residents to provide additional details on the Section 8 Voluntary Transition Program, how it could benefit their families, and to seek input prior to NYCHA's formal application to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).


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  2. Why is NYCHA offering Section 8 vouchers only to City/State developments?

    Unlike federal developments, 21 NYCHA developments built by the City and the State do not receive any form of operating subsidy. In fact, in 2005, operating costs at these 21 developments exceeded rents collected by $82 million, forcing NYCHA to utilize subsidies intended for other developments to ensure the continued operation of these non-federal properties. The proposed Section 8 Voluntary Transition Program will bring needed resources to the City and State developments and ensure that the rents remain affordable. NYCHA's goal is to preserve public housing and secure the future viability of these 21 City and State developments.


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  3. Why is NYCHA proposing this now?

    NYCHA began its 2006 fiscal year with a $168 million deficit, half of which is attributable to the costs of the City/State developments. Up to now, NYCHA has used its federal subsidy to fund operations at these 21 developments. Given that federal funding is not keeping pace with rising costs, NYCHA can no longer maintain the City's public housing stock without a new funding stream. Therefore, 8,400 Section 8 vouchers will be used in the City/State developments as one of several actions intended to close the Authority's $168 million funding gap.


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  4. Will NYCHA continue to own, operate and provide services at these properties?

    Yes.


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  5. What is Section 8?

    Section 8, also known as the Housing Choice Voucher program, provides rent subsidies for eligible low-income families. The rent subsidies, in the form of Section 8 vouchers, allow families to pay 30% of their family income toward the rent while the program makes up the difference up to the HUD-established Fair Market Rent (FMR).

    Section 8 vouchers are also portable and can be used now, or at anytime in the future, to relocate to another apartment where a landlord accepts Section 8 anywhere in New York City, the United States or U.S. territory.


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  6. What does this program mean to current residents of State/City developments?

    Residents of City/State developments have options: they may remain in their apartment as a public housing resident, or may choose to apply for a Section 8 voucher to either remain in their apartment or relocate anywhere in New York City, or anywhere in the country (including Puerto Rico). Residents may also choose to apply for a transfer to any other federal public housing development (at NYCHA's expense) and receive the highest priority to do so.


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  7. What are the benefits of the Section 8 program?

    Section 8 provides residents with mobility; that is they may choose to use the voucher in their current unit or use it for any other apartment in the city or throughout the country. In addition, residents who are in an overcrowded apartment can receive a Section 8 voucher for their current unit and a second voucher to allow family members to relocate.

    For the vast majority of residents (71%), rents in the Section 8 program would remain the same yet provide the option to move with the voucher at any time. For the remaining 29% of households who may choose to participate, their new rent would be higher than their current rent. The new rent will still be set at 30% of income but in no case will their rent be higher than the Fair Market Rent (FMR) level established each year by HUD. In addition, pursuant to federal law, Section 8 is not covered by the community service requirement, thus residents who participate in the Section 8 Voluntary Transition Program are not required to perform community service.


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  8. Are all City and State development residents eligible for a Section 8 Voucher?

    The majority of residents are eligible to receive a voucher under the Section 8 Voluntary Transition Program. Only those residents whose income is high enough such that 30% of their family's monthly income is greater than the FMR are not eligible. However, those families may remain in their units as public housing residents or may transfer, with the highest priority (at NYCHA's expense) to a federal development.


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  9. What is FMR?

    Fair Market Rent (FMR) is determined annually by HUD and is the maximum rent that NYCHA or any Section 8 landlord can charge Section 8 residents.The chart below details 2006 FMR's by bedroom size for New York City.

            2006 Fair Market Rent (FMR) by Bedroom Size for New York City
    Apt. size Studio 1 BR 2 BR 3 BR 4 BR 5 BR 6 BR
    Rent $940 $1,003 $1,133 $1,406 $1,556 $1,789 $2,057
    Maximum
    Income
    $37,600   $40,120   $45,320   $56,240   $62,240   $71,560   $82,280  

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  10. What does maximum income mean on the Fair Market Rent (FMR) Chart?

    The maximum income listed in the FMR chart is the maximum income for each apartment size that a tenant can have to be eligible for a subsidy from the Section 8 program. In other words, tenants with incomes above the maximum income would not receive a subsidy and would pay FMR. A tenant with income below the maximum would only pay 30% of his income for rent.


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  11. When will Section 8 vouchers be available at these developments?

    If this plan is approved by HUD, vouchers should be available in early 2007.


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  12. What should current residents do if they are interested in accepting a voucher?

    Interested residents should contact their Management Office and will be placed on a Section 8 waiting list for their particular development. If HUD approval is received, NYCHA staff will assist residents in completing the Section 8 application.


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  13. Can current residents accept a Section 8 voucher now and later switch back to public housing?

    No. In this circumstance, the resident would need to apply as a new applicant for public housing.


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  14. What happens to current residents who choose to participate in the Section 8 program when their income increases?

    Section 8 residents are required to pay 30% of their income in rent up to the Fair Market Rent (FMR) amount. Once a resident's income is sufficient to pay the entire rent, they will no longer be eligible to receive a Section 8 subsidy but they may remain in their apartment regardless of income.


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  15. What happens if income goes up to a level that a family is no longer eligible to receive a Section 8 subsidy?

    Any resident whose income goes up to the extent they can afford to pay the Fair Market Rent will be allowed to remain in the unit as long as they continue to comply with all requirements (e.g. annual inspections, providing information on income and family composition) of their lease.


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  16. What happens in cases where income decreases to a level within the Section 8 program limits?

    In those cases, residents may be restored to the Section 8 program and pay only 30% of income towards rent.


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  17. Are there other ways residents could lose their Section 8 voucher?

    Similar to public housing, Section 8 residents are required to meet all mandatory program requirements including recertification; allowing access for annual inspections; fully disclosing all sources of income; provide notice of intent to move or transfer. Failure to comply with program requirements can result in termination of their Section 8 subsidy and/or eviction from the unit.


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  18. What if family composition changes once a resident accepts Section 8?

    Section 8 vouchers are based on family size. If family composition exceeds the maximum or drops below the minimum required by apartment size, residents will be offered a new appropriately sized apartment in the development when one becomes available. Failure to accept a new apartment when family size is below the required minimum will result in a rent increase to the FMR.


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  19. What options are available for overcrowded families?

    These families have the option of receiving a Section 8 voucher for their current unit and a voucher for a second unit to relieve apartment overcrowding. The family size in both apartments must meet HUD occupancy standards. This opportunity will only be available to current residents of these developments for a time-limited period.


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  20. Will current residents who agree to make the transition to the Section 8 program be subject to a criminal background and income check?

    Criminal background checks will be waived and income checks will not be necessary if an annual review was done in the last six months.


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  21. Does accepting a Section 8 voucher change a resident's rights and responsibilities?

    No. All current resident rights and responsibilities will remain in place except that the obligation to perform eight hours of community service will no longer be required.


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  22. How will apartment vacancies be filled at the City/State developments?

    Vacancies will be filled from the existing public housing waiting list, which includes both new applicants and transferees for that development. Residents moving into a City/State development after HUD has approved the plan would be required to accept Section 8 rental assistance. New residents must meet all Section 8 program requirements to qualify, including the family income limit, which is 50% of the area median income.


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  23. What options are available to families on the current wait list for a City/State development?

    Applicants have already been notified that NYCHA intends to seek HUD authorization for the program and have been given the option to remain on the current wait list or to be placed on a wait list for a federal development. Once HUD approves the program, applicants will be granted a second opportunity to move their application to another development wait list.


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  24. Will residents who receive Section 8 vouchers be treated differently than public housing residents?

    No. All residents will have the same set of services and will be eligible to participate in all NYCHA programs normally available to a resident of the development. All residents, regardless of form of subsidy, will be afforded the same legal protections currently provided to public housing residents.


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  25. How will rent increases be determined under an FMR lease?

    Rents, which may go up or down, are set by HUD based upon annual FMR schedules.


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  26. Will apartments be inspected annually for those who transition to a Section 8 lease?

    Yes, but HUD requires that the inspection be done by an entity that is not affiliated with NYCHA.


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  27. How stable is funding for the Section 8 program?

    While there are no guarantees, NYCHA's experience over the past 10 years is that federal funding for public housing has substantially diminished in contrast to the Section 8 program where funding has grown considerably during that period.


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