HOW TO APPLY FOR ASSISTANCE
Families who wish to apply for any of the Authority’s programs must complete an online application, which is available by selecting the "Housing Application" link at the top of the navigation list. Please note that to complete an application you MUST have a valid Social Security number and you MUST be age 18 or older. The application process involves two phases. The first is the "initial" application for assistance, which results in the family’s placement on the waiting list. The second phase is the "final determination of eligibility", which takes place when the family reaches the top of the waiting list. At that time each applicant is interviewed and the Authority verifies all eligibility factors. Applications may be submitted on line through our web site whenever the waiting list is open. The Authority opens and closes the waiting list depending on how many families are already on the list and waiting to receive assistance. Whenever the waiting list is closed a message will be posted on the Home page of this web site. In addition, anytime the list is schedule to open an advance announcement is made in the Lebanon Daily News newspaper.
WHO QUALIFIES FOR SECTION 8 ASSISTANCE?
To be eligible for participation, an applicant must meet HUD’s criteria, as well as any other criteria established by the Housing Authority. One of the most important criteria is income. To determine if the family is income-eligible, the Housing Authority compares the Annual Income of the family to the applicable income limit for the family’s size. Current income limits for all housing programs can be found in the Document Library section of this web site. An additional criterion is an applicant’s criminal record. A mandatory criminal background check is completed for each adult residing in the household. Reports of drug related offences and violent criminal activity can exclude an individual or a family from the Section 8 Program. The results of these reports are taken into consideration when the Authority determines eligibility.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO RECEIVE ASSISTANCE?
Unfortunately the demand for housing assistance far exceeds the funding available to the Housing Authority. In order to allocate Section 8 assistance as fairly as possible, the Housing Authority uses a lottery system to select applicants from the waiting list. Whenever funds are available to support more families, the Authority randomly draws applicants from the waiting list. Applications are drawn randomly from each preference group on the waiting list (for example applicants who live or work in Lebanon County will be drawn from the list before non county residents). Because applications are drawn at random, it is impossible to predict how long any individual applicant may wait to receive housing assistance. In some cases the waiting time could be as short as a few months or the wait could be many years.
HOW MUCH ASSISTANCE DOES A FAMILY RECEIVE?
Generally the Authority will calculate income from all sources, and arrive at an annual gross income. From that figure are subtracted allowances and deductions for which the family may be entitled, such as a deduction for each child in the household. In the Voucher Program the maximum amount that the Authority will pay to the landlord is equal to the Payment Standard minus 30% of the tenant's Adjusted Monthly Income. The Payment Standard is established by the Authority within limits set by HUD. If the rent requested by the landlord exceeds the Payment Standard, the tenant must pay the difference.
WHERE CAN THE VOUCHER BE USED?
When a voucher is issued, the applicant will have 90 days to locate housing which meets HUD standards in regard to rent level and condition of the unit. Basically during the first year of participation, an applicant can live anywhere in Lebanon County he or she chooses, in any neighborhood, school district, and in any town, township or municipality which best meets the applicant needs for employment, transportation, childcare, etc. After the first year of participation families can take their voucher to any other housing authority in the United States (this is called portability). Under very limited circumstances and at the sole discretion of the Housing Authority and applicant may be permitted to exercise portability during the first year of participation. .
WHAT ARE A FAMILY’S OBLIGATIONS TO THE AUTHORITY AND TO THE LANDLORD IN THE SECTION 8 PROGRAM?
Family Obligations to the Owner: The family obligations to the owner are contained in the lease, and include reasonable requirements, such as not damaging the unit, paying the rent on time and in full, keeping all utilities for which the family is responsible in service, being respectful of neighbors and not interfering with their right to live in a safe and peaceful environment.
Family Obligations to the Housing Authority: Some of the most important obligations the family has to the Housing Authority are that the family must provide all required information in a timely manner; the family may not commit any serious or repeated violation of the lease; and family members may not commit fraud, bribery, engage in drug related activities, or violent criminal behavior.
WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?
You can find much more information concerning the Section 8 program by reading the Section 8 Participants Guide available in the Document Library section of this web site. Or you can contact the Authority’s Section 8 Department during normal business hours at 717-273-1639 (or by TDD at 800-545-1833 ext. 826) or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org