Frequently Asked Questions


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General
Is the Housing Authority the same as HUD?

No, they are separate entities.  HUD provides the funding to the Housing Authority so that the Housing Authority can administer the HUD programs.

Will the Housing Authority determine how much rent I can charge a tenant?

No, an owner may charge any rent that he chooses, however the rent must be determined “rent reasonable” by the Housing Authority.

My tenant is in the HCV program; does that mean that I will not be able to enforce my lease with the tenant?

No, landlords have every right to enforce their lease. In fact, the lease is between the tenant and the landlord.

Is the HCV program governed by Federal Regulations established by the Department of Housing and Urban Development?

Yes, both Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Programs are regulated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Is everyone living in Public Housing low income?

No, initially a tenant must be below the 80% median income however if his income increases, he/she will be allowed to stay in Public Housing.

How are HCV and Public Housing Authority programs funded?

HCV and Public Housing Programs are funded through the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

If I have a voucher, does that mean I have a contractual agreement?

No, the issuance of a Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) merely means that you may begin to look for a unit.  The contractual agreement begins after a contract has been signed. 

If I live in Public Housing, can I move and take my eligibility with me?

Only Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV) eligibilities are transferable anywhere in the USA.  Public Housing eligibility is tied to the unit and is not transferable.

HCV Program (For Applicants)
What is the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program?

The Housing Choice Voucher Program (formerly known as Section 8) provides tenant-based assistance, in the form of a voucher, to low-income families, for rental units of their choice in the private market. Program applicants choose from a variety of housing options, including apartments, duplexes, single-family homes and townhomes.

How does the HCV Program Work?

Program participants issued a housing voucher are responsible for finding a suitable housing unit of their choice where the owner agrees to rent under the program. The unit may include the participant’s present residence. Rental units must meet minimum standards of health and safety, as determined by the Abilene Housing Authority.

A housing subsidy is paid to the property owner directly by the Housing Authority on behalf of the participant. The participant then pays the difference between the actual rent charged by the property owner and the amount subsidized by the program. A participant’s rent is usually about 30 percent of their monthly income.

What are the eligibility requirements for the HCV Program?

To be eligible for the program, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  1. Be below income limits equal to 50% of the Area Median Income for the appropriate geographic area (see HCV Resources page).
  2. At least one member of the household must be a citizen of the U.S. or have eligible immigration status.
  3. Must not owe any housing authorities any debts from previous participation in assisted housing programs.   
  4. Must not have been terminated from any assisted housing program in the last year.
  5. Must not have committed any violent or drug related criminal activity in the past 3 years.
How do I apply for the HCV Program?

At this time, AHA is continuously accepting applications for the HCV program.  Applications can be completed online by clicking here.  Follow the directions and complete all of the required information.  At the end of the application process, the applicant will receive a confirmation number.  Please record your confirmation number.  If you do not receive a confirmation number, your application might not have gone through.

Can I apply for more than one program at a time?

Yes.  Applicants can apply to all open waiting lists at the same time.  On the online application, check each program wait list that you want to apply for and your application will be placed on each wait list with the same application information.

How long will I have to wait for assistance?

It is impossible to determine how long applicants will have to wait for assistance.  It depends on when vouchers become available, the date and time the completed application is submitted, and the preferences an applicant qualifies for.

Must I keep my address updated with AHA?

Yes.  When your address changes, you must notify AHA in writing within 10 days of the change occurring.  All AHA correspondence is sent through the mail.  If AHA sends you a letter and it is returned, your name will be removed from the HCV wait list.  You will lose your place on the wait list and must reapply.

How much rent will I have to pay on the HCV Program?

The HCV program is an income-based program.  Participant’s rent portions are determined based upon their income.  Each participant will pay 30-40% of their income toward rent and utilities each month.

What are preferences?

Preferences apply to certain categories of applicants.  If an applicant qualifies for a preference, they are placed higher on the wait list than applicants that are not eligible for a preference.  For instance, AHA has a preference for elderly and/or disabled applicants which means that elderly/disabled applicants are placed higher on the wait list than non-elderly/disabled applicants.

How does the application process work?

When an application reaches the top of the HCV wait list, AHA will contact the applicant via mail to attend an eligibility meeting.  At this meeting, the applicant must provide all information necessary to determine eligibility.  If the applicant is determined eligible, they will be scheduled to receive a voucher.

HCV Program (For Landlords)
What is the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) and how does it work?

The Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) is a rental assistance program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). It is designed to assist eligible low-income families with rental housing in the private market by paying some of their rental costs. The Abilene Housing Authority administers the program in Taylor and the 19 surrounding counties. Our responsibilities include determining family eligibility, approving units and rents, determining the family’s rent portion based on their income, ensuring that the families and owners comply with program rules, inspecting units and re-determining family eligibility annually, and making housing assistance payments to owners.

What are the benefits of being a Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) Owner?
  • You receive a guaranteed monthly payment on the first of every month via direct deposit.
  • You retain total control. You can collect a security deposit, use your own lease, and screen tenants according to your own suitability criteria.
  • You receive free annual inspections to ensure maximum property upkeep.
  • By participating in the Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) program, you are helping low-income families obtain housing.
Am I eligible to become a participating owner? What are the obligations for a Section 8 Housing Choice owner?

To become a participating owner, all you need to do is lease your rental unit to a Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) holder. Generally, owners cannot rent to family members under the HCV Program, except as a reasonable accommodation for a disabled family member for a unit that is 504 Accessible. AHA will require you to provide proof of ownership (recorded deed) and you cannot charge more for your unit to a HCV participant than to unassisted families. Owners debarred by HUD or AHA for fraud and other program violations may be denied participation.

How do I list my property to Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) holders?

AHA offers a property listing and locator service through GoSection8.com. There is no fee for this service unless you elect to sign up for a premiere packet which may include virtual tours of your unit. All AHA voucher holders are also informed of this site at their voucher briefings.

Will the Housing Authority determine how much rent I can charge a tenant?

No, an owner may charge any rent that he chooses, however the rent must be determined “rent reasonable” by the Housing Authority.

My tenant is in the HCV program; does that mean that I will not be able to enforce my lease with the tenant?

No, landlords have every right to enforce their lease. In fact, the lease is between the tenant and the landlord.

What if I have more questions about participating in the HCV Program?

Please contact our offices Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Friday from 8am - 5pm at (325) 676-6385 or email tim.pittman@abileneha.org.

Public Housing
How much are security deposits?

1 Bedroom - $100

2 Bedroom - $135

3 Bedroom - $170

4 Bedroom - $205

Will I get my security deposit back?

At move out, security deposits will be applied towards any balance due as well as damages to the apartment caused by the tenants and/or guests of tenants.  Any remaining amount will be refunded to the tenant after move out.

Does Public Housing screen applicants prior to admission?

Public Housing screens applicants for income eligibility as well as for criminal and rental history.

Am I automatically disqualified if I have a criminal history and negative rental history?

Applicants are automatically disqualified if they are subject to a lifetime sex offender registration or have been convicted for manufacturing of methamphetamine on federal property.  Applicants convicted of violent or drug-related criminal activity within the past 3 years could be disqualified as well.  Negative rental history is not considered an automatic disqualification.  Public Housing also screens for suitability.

How long will my application remain active?

Your application will remain active as long as you respond to all letters/notices from Public Housing, attend all briefings and notify us in writing within 10 days of any changes in your mailing address.

Can I apply for more than one Public Housing site?

You can be on the waiting list for one or more Public Housing sites.  Note:  Our waiting list for the Deegan site is for applicants 62 years and older.

Can I accept an apartment at Public Housing and remain on the HCV waiting list?

Yes.  Public Housing only requires a 15-day move out notice so you will not be locked in a lease if you receive a Housing Choice Voucher.

How do I obtain an application?

You can complete an application online. Refer to the online application on the Home Page of our website, or click here to begin the application. 

How long will I have to wait before I reach the top of the waiting list?

There is no way to predict how long you may have to wait before you are called for an apartment.  This depends on when people move out and a vacancy occurs.  We recommend that you contact Public Housing every 3 months to check your status on the waiting list.