As of June 1, 2013, Vancouver Housing Authority will assume a minimum income of at least $9,000 per year for each work-able member of a household living in Low-Rent Public Housing or receiving a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher.
Who is Affected?
There will be a minimum income assumed for each Work-Able member in the household. Work-able is defined as an adult under the age of 62 who is not disabled, a dependent, or a full-time care provider for a disabled household member. Dependents are exempt. A person is a dependent if they are under 18, or over 18 and attending school full-time. The Head of Household and their spouse or co-head cannot be dependents.
The Minimum Income Amount
$750 per month, or $9,000 per year for each Work-Able household member. This an amount that is a little less than one would earn working 20 hours per week at minimum wage. Deductions for the household are still factored in subsidy calculations.
Imputed Income Calculator
To estimate how the Rent Reform program may affect your rent, we have provided a calculator. Just click and enter your information: Imputed Income Calculator.
The Transition to Rent Reform
During the transition to the Rent Reform program households that will be affected will receive notices beginning approximately four months in advance of implementation. Notices will include information on the estimated rent increase and how to apply for an exemption. Other steps are also being taken to assist families with the transition:
- Voluntary classes will be provided on rent reform, job readiness, and related subjects
- In partnership with DSHS multi-disciplinary case review will be available
Resources Available to Subsidized Households
The VHA has several resources available to individuals and households who are working toward self-sufficiency. Two pathways to employment are available: case-managed services such as Housing Works, FSS, and Smart Choices, and more independent employment resources, such as Section 3 and Going Places Network – Dress for Success, among other programs the VHA has available. Learn more about these resources at the VHA Employment Services page.
Two types of exemptions will be available, the Household Choice Exemption and the VHA Approved Exemption.
Household Choice Exemption - Everyone who is affected by the minimum income may choose to use an automatic hardship exemption for up to six months. This Hardship Exemption can be used either at the beginning of the program or saved and used later. The six months of exemption can be used all at once, or two months at a time. The Head of Household decides when and if they will be exempt
VHA Approved Exemption - In addition to the Household Choice Exemption, affected households who face eviction for non-payment of rent or are in danger of having their utilities shut-off because of the imputed minimum income, may request an additional hardship. The VHA Hardship Panel will decide if the household is exempt from Rent Reform. VHA Approved Exemptions may be short-term or permanent.
Once you apply for a VHA Approved Exemption, the Rent Reform portion of your rent will be suspended until a decision is made. The Hardship Panel may deny your application if they believe you can afford the rent increase. The panel may require you to participate in employment related classes or programs in exchange for an exemption.
More information on applying for a VHA Approved Exemption will be made available after March 1, 2013.
Why Rent Reform?
As a Moving to Work agency, the VHA has a contractual obligation to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to reduce costs and achieve greater cost effectiveness, give incentives to families to obtain employment and become economically self-sufficient, and increase housing choices. By implementing Rent Reform, the VHA reduces its cost per household to provide housing subsidy, thus freeing up funding for additional housing and/or services.
It is also important that every work-able household contributes something toward the cost of their housing. VHA wants work-able families to have housing security, but not to the extent that they stop striving for self-reliance. Subsidized Housing is a scarce resource; VHA can make it available to more people by encouraging work-able participants to move up and out.
The VHA’s proposed rent reform is a relatively moderate change impacting less than 25% of households. Click here to learn more about the impact of the Rent Reform program in our annual plan.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Rent Reform Program
More information about Rent Reform may be obtained by contacting:
Vancouver Housing Authority
2500 Main Street
Vancouver, WA 98660
Phone: (360) 993-9533