Colorado Housing Vouchers – Section 8 Choice Vouchers
Section 8 Housing Program is a federally funded housing assistance designed to help extremely low and very low-income individuals, families, senior citizens, and people with disabilities. The Section 8 Housing in Colorado provides the Colorado Housing Vouchers to the qualifying low-income population allowing them to afford, decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market where the program is available.
Section 8 Housing in Colorado is administered by the Division of Housing through local Public Housing Agencies (PHA). The program helps Colorado eligible individuals and families broaden their housing options in the private rental market. Learn more about Section 8 Housing Programs and Housing Choice Vouchers.
Colorado Section 8 Housing includes Housing Choice Vouchers, which provide Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) for low and very low-income residents in 47 Colorado counties. This program provides TBRA vouchers for more than 30 thousand housing units across Colorado State. HUD sets Fair Market rent limits for each housing unit based on its size and community market conditions. The local Public Housing Agency issues a Housing Choice Vouchers to qualified applicants based on their family size and needs. The voucher recipients are required to pay 30% of their income towards the rent. The Housing Choice Voucher pays the difference between tenants portion and the contract rent. The PHA sends the voucher payment of the rent directly to the landlord.
Normally, there is a waiting list and the applications for the Colorado Housing Vouchers are taken periodically at a time determined by the local Public Housing Authority. The open period for taking Section 8 applications is usually advertised in the local newspaper two weeks prior to starting acceptance of applications, and all related social service agencies are notified.
When the waiting list is open, completed applications for the Colorado Housing Vouchers are accepted from all applicants. The Housing Authority will then verify the information in each application relevant to the applicant’s eligibility, admission and benefits level. In some Colorado counties, the demand for Section 8 assistance is so high that there is a lottery drawing and after that, the local PHA suspends all new applicant voucher issuance until the new Section 8 budget is approved.
Approved applicants for Colorado Section 8 Choice Vouchers can select housing within a neighborhood of their choice from a property owner willing to participate in Section 8 program. Tenant Based Rental Assistance contracts must have a minimum lease of one year and cannot exceed two years – but they can be renewed. Choices of housing units may include family’s present residence. Rental units must meet minimum standards of health and safety as determined by the local Housing Authority. The rents in TBRA assisted units must be affordable to low-income families and remain affordable for a designated amount of time.
As per the federal requirements, the Section 8 Program allows families to pay a predetermined share of their income toward the rent while issued Housing Choice Vouchers make up the difference. The program does not pay for security deposits and moving expenses. The tenant is responsible for paying for any utilities not included in the rent according to the lease.
Income eligibility limits and benefit levels are based on local median income and local housing costs but are set largely at the federal level with limited local discretion. Income requirements are generally set as less than 50% of Area Median Income (AMI), but can be up to 80% in some cases. By law, seventy-five percent of the newly issued vouchers must go to families with incomes below 30% of the Area Median Income.
Current recipients maintain vouchers until their income reaches a level at which the value of their housing subsidy is reduced to $0.00 – all housing subsidies are calculated based on family income, housing costs, and other factors.
For specifics on eligibility for each Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher, please, check with your local Colorado Public Housing Authority.
Colorado Special Section 8 Programs
Section 8 Homeownership Program
Colorado Division of Housing, under certain conditions, may authorize qualified Section 8 tenants to purchase their first home and use the vouchers to pay a portion of the mortgage payments. The Section 8 Homeownership option has requirements established by the federal agency HUD. Not all local public housing agencies participate in the program. There are also certain eligibility requirements, including minimum income and employment requirement that must be met by applicants. Candidates should check with their local PHA. Purchased home must meet minimum housing quality standards for health and safety. Vouchers payments go to the mortgage holder on behalf of the participating family which pays their portion of the mortgage in accordance with their income.
Section 8 Family Unification Program
In partnership with Colorado Division of Child Welfare and local service providers, the Division of Housing administers a special Family Unification Vouchers program. The Family Unification Program (FUP) targets youth at least 18 years old and not more than 21 years old who left foster care at age 16 or older and who lack adequate housing or, families for whom the lack of adequate housing is a primary factor causing the imminent placement of the family’s child or children in out-of-home care or delay in the discharge of the child or children to the family from out-of-home care. In other words, the Colorado Family Unification Program helps low-income families to rent affordable housing in order to prevent separation of children from their families or, when renting affordable housing will help to reunify the children with their families. Families who are interested in applying for Family Unification Vouchers should contact their local Public Housing Agency to determine availability and eligibility of this type of rental assistance.
Project Access Program – Vouchers for People with Disabilities
Project Access is a Colorado Division of Housing program that uses Section 8 funding to enable very low-income non-elderly persons with disabilities to transition back into the community from nursing homes or other institutions. This special program allows qualified non-elderly, up to 62 or younger, to get affordable housing and community support in order to achieve independent living. The candidates annual gross income must not exceed the HUD established low-income limit for the area where the housing unit is located. Interested in applying should check with their local PHA for complete information.
Family Self-Sufficiency Program
Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) is an HUD program that encourages families already using Section 8 Vouchers to participate in local programs that can help them increased their earned income and reduce dependency on rental subsidies. The goal of the FSS Program is to help families on Section 8 vouchers obtain employment that will lead to economic independence and self-sufficiency. Local Public Housing Agencies work with welfare agencies, schools, businesses, and other local partners to develop a comprehensive program that gives participating FSS family members the skills and experience to enable them to self-sufficiency. A separate program for achieving self-sufficiency in Colorado is available for public housing residents. Check with your local PHA for availability and eligibility requirements.