What is the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8)?
The Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCV is a federal assistance program designed to assist eligible Persons to pay a portion of their rent to their landlords for affordable, decent, safe and sanitary apartments.

What happens after I submit the application?
Each application is stamped with the date and time when it is received in the Cortland Housing Authority.

A preliminary eligibility determination is made based on the total annual income, household size and Federal Housing Assistance history. Eligible applications are placed on the waiting list in the order they are received and based on any preferences. A letter is sent to the applicant to notify them of whether or not they are eligible.

What are the preferences for the Cortland Housing Authority?
The Authority has established certain preference categories and all applicants meeting one or more of those preferences will be assisted before those applicants who do not have a preference. CHA preferences are: elderly, handicapped/disabled, families, and Cortland County residents.

Why does my application have to go on a waiting list?
The Cortland Housing Authority is given a limited number of vouchers to issue and is not allowed to issue more than that number. We do not have enough vouchers to issue to everyone who needs them, so applications are placed on the waiting list until there is a voucher available. It is not possible to tell you how long it will be before you are contacted with an offer of assistance.

What if you tell me my household is not eligible and I do not agree?
There is a review process for ineligible applicants. If your eligibility letter tells you that you are not eligible, the letter will also tell you how to request a review.

How is the rent calculated?
It is impossible to tell you at this point how much assistance you may receive. The calculation is based on a number of factors, which all have to be verified at the time that assistance begins. Assistance is based mainly on total household income and number of dependents, however, the amount of rent, and what utilities you have to pay for will also make a difference. A way to get a rough estimate of how much you will be required to pay toward rent and utilities is to calculate 30% of your total household monthly gross income. However, you must keep in mind that we make adjustments to income for certain things, and also the higher the rent is, the higher your payment is likely to be. So this is ONLY an ESTIMATE.
REVISED 4-6-20

I Plan to move soon. Should I look for anything in particular at my new place?
Because there is no way of knowing how soon the Cortland Housing Authority will be able to assist you, we will NOT advise you as to what to look for in a new apartment until you are issued a voucher. You should proceed as you normally would to find a new place. When we have a voucher available for you, you will be required to attend a briefing, where we will give you information you will need and answer your questions.

What if my address, income or household composition changes?
You must notify the CHA, in writing, if your mailing address changes, because our notifications are done by mail. If we cannot reach you by mail, your application will be removed from the waiting list. You would then have to re-apply and be placed at the bottom of the list.

You should also notify the CHA, in writing, if your household composition changes, as this may affect your position on the waiting list.

In most cases changes in income do not need to be reported while you are on the waiting list, since income will be verified when you are called in off the waiting list. You only need to report a change in your income if you have met with someone from our office and they have told you to do so.

What if I am a victim of domestic violence?
Section 6 of the U.S. Housing Act of 1937 states: "The Public Housing Agency shall not deny admission to our programs to any applicant on the basis that the applicant is or has been a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking if the applicant otherwise qualifies for assistance or admission, and that nothing in this section shall be construed to supersede any provision of any Federal, State or local law that provides greater protection than this section for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking."

Confidentiality Information you provide to the housing agency relating to the fact that you or another member of your household is a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking will be retained by the housing agency in confidence. This information will not be shared or disclosed by the agency without your consent except as necessary in an eviction proceeding or as otherwise required by law.

Should I call the CHA to ask questions?
We ask that you save your questions about how the program works for the briefing session that you will attend when you are called in off the waiting list.
Please do not call to ask about your position on the waiting list. We do not give out waiting list numbers, and we cannot predict how long you will be on the list. When there is a voucher available you will be notified by mail.

You should call if you have not received an eligibility letter within three weeks of submitting your application.

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