Section 8, also known as the Housing Choice Voucher program, provides rental assistance to eligible low-income families, the elderly, and people with disabilities. The program aims to help these households afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market. Section 8 is funded by the federal government but administered by local public housing agencies (PHAs).
Eligibility for Section 8 in Rockland County, NY
To be eligible for Section 8 in Rockland County, NY, applicants must meet certain income limits set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Household income generally must not exceed 50% of the county’s median income.
Here are the current 2022 income limits for Rockland County:
Other eligibility factors include:
– Having a household member who is a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or eligible immigrant
– Providing social security numbers for all household members
– Meeting any criminal background check requirements
Applicants must also qualify under additional criteria set by the local PHA, such as being homeless or living in substandard housing.
Applying for Section 8 in Rockland County
To apply for Section 8 in Rockland County, you must submit an application to the Rockland County Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program. Applications are available online at the Rockland County Housing Choice Voucher Program website or can be picked up in person at their office:
Rockland County Section 8 HCV Program
50 Sanatorium Rd Building L
Pomona, NY 10970
The Housing Choice Voucher waiting list in Rockland County is currently closed. It last opened briefly in February 2022 for a lottery. Over 15,000 people applied for just 3,500 spots on the waiting list. This shows the very high demand for Section 8 housing vouchers in the county.
Once on the waiting list, the typical wait time is 3-5 years or more before reaching the top and being offered a voucher. Applicants are selected from the waiting list in order based on PHA preferences and date/time of application.
Section 8 Rental Process in Rockland County
If selected from the waiting list, the PHA will issue eligible applicants a housing voucher. This voucher allows you to find an approved rental unit in Rockland County. Your portion of rent will be based on your income, generally 30-40% of your monthly adjusted gross income.
Here are the main steps in the Section 8 rental process in Rockland County:
1. Receive a voucher from the PHA after being selected from the waiting list. The voucher is valid for 60-120 days.
2. Find a suitable rental unit where the landlord agrees to participate in Section 8. The rent must be at or below Fair Market Rents set by HUD.
3. Have the unit inspected by the PHA to ensure it meets safety and health standards.
4. Sign a lease agreement with the landlord.
5. Pay your portion of rent to the landlord. The PHA will pay the remainder directly to the landlord.
6. Follow the terms of your lease and comply with PHA requirements to maintain assistance.
You can search for approved Section 8 properties using the GoSection8 housing resource database.
Section 8 Payment Standards in Rockland County
The Payment Standards set by the Rockland County PHA determine the maximum subsidy it will pay for a rental unit. Payment Standards are based on Fair Market Rents calculated by HUD annually.
Here are the 2022 Payment Standards for the Rockland County Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program:
For example, for a 2 bedroom unit renting at $1,600/month, the PHA would contribute up to $1,813 each month towards rent. The participant would pay the remaining $287 (assuming that is 30% of their monthly adjusted income).
Payment standards vary based on location. Units in more desirable areas generally have higher payment standards.
Section 8 Portability in Rockland County
Section 8 vouchers are “portable” meaning you can take your voucher with you if you move within the United States. Portability allows families to move closer to jobs, family, or better schools.
To port your Section 8 voucher to a unit in another location, this is the general process:
– Let your original PHA know you want to move.
– Find an eligible unit in the new location. The landlord must agree to participate in Section 8.
– Contact the PHA in the new area and request to port your voucher.
– Schedule an inspection in the new unit.
– Sign a lease and begin rental assistance in the new area.
There may be restrictions on porting to certain higher-cost areas. You will need to continue cooperation with your original PHA even when ported. Failure to follow program rules may result in termination of assistance.
Pros of Section 8 Housing in Rockland County
There are many benefits to receiving Section 8 rental assistance in Rockland County:
– Affordable rent – You only pay 30-40% of your income towards rent and utilities.
– Unit flexibility – Choose any private rental housing meeting program requirements.
– Mobility – Take your voucher to move almost anywhere in the U.S. through portability.
– Peace of mind – Not worrying about paying market rate rent provides stability.
– Opportunity – Section 8 may help families afford housing in neighborhoods with more opportunities.
– Support services – Many PHAs offer resources for employment, transportation, etc.
With rents rising faster than wages in Rockland County, Section 8 is often the only viable way low-income families can afford stable housing without being rent burdened.
Low Rent Portion
One of the biggest benefits of Section 8 is only having to pay 30% of your monthly adjusted income towards rent and utilities. This makes housing affordable on limited incomes. Your rent portion rises as your income rises.
For example, a Rockland County family of 3 earning $30,000 per year would pay around $750 per month for a 2-bedroom apartment. The remaining $1,063 would be covered by the housing subsidy payment.
Without Section 8, this family may need to pay $1,500-$2,000 per month for market rate rent, leaving little money for other necessities like food, transportation, and healthcare.
Participants have flexibility in choosing a rental unit that meets their needs under the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program. You are not restricted to specific low-income housing developments. Any private landlord housing is eligible as long as it passes inspections and meets other requirements.
This allows families to find rentals with access to good schools, jobs, public transit, grocery stores, parks, and other neighborhood amenities. You can even use Section 8 towards single family homes in some cases. Unit flexibility provides more options.
The ability to “port” Section 8 rental assistance anywhere in the U.S. allows for mobility. Families are not trapped in one location. If better opportunities exist in another housing market, you can request to port your Section 8 voucher to that area. This can help families move closer to jobs, transportation, quality schools for children, healthcare, family support networks, and other services.
Portability provides geographic flexibility to move into better neighborhoods with more opportunities. Of course, careful planning is required when porting vouchers across metro areas.
Cons of Section 8 Housing in Rockland County
While Section 8 provides invaluable rental assistance, there are also some potential downsides to consider:
– Long waitlists – Often 5+ years wait behind thousands of other applicants.
– Limited supply – Available vouchers cannot meet the high demand.
– Strict requirements – Getting and keeping rental assistance involves lots of rules.
– Voucher expiration – You need to find a unit within 60-120 days before voucher expires.
– Bias – Some landlords refuse to accept Section 8 tenants due to stigma.
– Annual recertification – Must recertify income and eligibility every year.
– Inspections – Annual unit inspections ensure compliance with standards.
– Income caps on earnings – Making more money may jeopardize rental assistance.
– Budget cuts – Funding depends on federal appropriations each year.
Understanding the pros and cons allows families to weigh if Section 8 is the right choice for their situation. The long waitlists and limited supply mean it is not accessible for everyone in need.
The Rockland County Section 8 HCV waiting list is currently closed, except for brief lottery openings every few years. When open, tens of thousands of applicants compete for just a few thousand spots on the list.
In early 2022, over 15,000 people applied for only 3,500 available waitlist slots. This shows the immense demand for affordable housing assistance.
Once on the list, applicants can expect to wait 3-5 years or longer before receiving a voucher. The long waitlists make Section 8 out of reach for many in immediate need of housing.
A major downside to Section 8 is the limited number of rental vouchers available. Funding constraints from Congress mean PHAs cannot assist all eligible applicants or expand the program fast enough to keep up with demand.
There are over 13,000 families in Rockland County who qualify for Section 8 based on their incomes. Yet the Rockland County Housing Choice Voucher program only has around 4,800 allocated vouchers.
This disparity forces many low-income households to spend far too much of their incomes on housing costs without assistance. Until policymakers allocate more funding, the shortage of Section 8 vouchers will persist.
Getting and maintaining Section 8 rental assistance involves meeting many requirements. This includes remaining under income limits, passing inspections, following lease terms, keeping up with paperwork, and yearly recertification.
For instance, all sources of household income must be reported. Random audits may occur. Any changes in family composition must be reported right away. There are also restrictions on certain assets, like cash holdings.
While requirements protect program integrity, they also introduce complexity. Some participants may find the ongoing requirements challenging. However, compliance is essential to avoiding termination of assistance.
In summary, key takeaways about Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers in Rockland County include:
– Provides deep rental subsidies based on 30% of income towards rent
– Must income qualify and apply through Rockland County PHA
– Waiting list can take 3-5+ years due to high demand
– If receive voucher, find approved unit within 60-120 days
– Annual recertification required to maintain Section 8
– Can use voucher to move anywhere in U.S. through portability
– Supply of vouchers very limited compared to needs of low-income renters
– Requirements help maintain program integrity but add complexity
Section 8 gives families affordable housing options in the private market. But long waitlists, limited funding, and strict rules also constrain the program. Understanding how Section 8 works is key to successfully utilizing this essential rental assistance resource.
The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program provides crucial rental assistance to lower-income families in unaffordable housing markets like Rockland County, New York. However, long waitlists, limited funding, and stringent requirements mean Section 8 is not accessible or practical for all in need.
For low-income families able to secure Section 8 vouchers, the rental subsidy provides valuable affordability and stability. But applicants must be prepared for a lengthy wait behind thousands of others seeking aid. And if selected, compliance with program rules is required to maintain eligibility.
Going forward, policymakers must allocate more funding for Section 8 to expand availability and reduce wait times. Creative solutions like landlord incentives could also help increase participation and available units. Section 8 remains an essential program for housing vulnerable families, even with current limitations. More work is still needed to improve access and better match supply of vouchers with demand.