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Homeowners Assistance and Housing Programs
Idaho – Making Home Affordable options
Making Home Affordable is a federal program designed to cover different homeowners’ hardships and financial situations. Under the program there are various options that can help Idaho homeowners in hardship stay in their homes. Depending on the situation Idaho homeowners in hardship can apply to lower their monthly payments, lower the interest rate on their home loan or even get principal reduction in some cases.
There are foreclosure alternatives and temporarily help for unemployed homeowners as well.
Here are some of the most used options under Making Home Affordable Program:
- Lower your monthly mortgage payments with Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP)
- Lower your interest rate with Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP)
- Check eligibility for principal reduction with Principal Reduction Alternative SM (PRA)
- Get help if currently unemployed with Home Affordable Unemployment Program (UP)
- Reduce your 2nd mortgage monthly payments with Second Lien Modification Program (2MP)
- Explore your foreclosure alternatives with Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program (HAFA)
- FHA Home Affordable Modification Program (FHA-HAMP)
HUD (US Department of Housing and Urban Development) approved housing counselor can be reached at: 888-995-4673 (Hearing impaired: 877-304-9709 TTY) to help you understand your options, prepare your application, and work with your mortgage company.
Rental Help for Idaho Residents
Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers
Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV) 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 HCV provides qualifying low income population with affordable, decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market where the program is available.
Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers Program in most counties of Idaho State is administered by Idaho Housing and Finance Association (IHFA). The program helps Idaho eligible individuals and families broaden their housing options in the private rental market. Learn more about Section 8 Housing Programs and Housing Choice Vouchers.
Idaho Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher provides Tenant Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) for low and very low income residents. The HCV program offers TBRA vouchers for more then 6 thousand housing units across Idaho State. HUD sets Fair Market rent limits for each housing unit based on its size and community market conditions. The IHFA area branch office or local Public Housing Agency (PHA) issues a Housing Choice Voucher to qualified applicants based on their family size and needs. In general, 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 Idaho Housing or local PHA sends the voucher payment of the rent directly to the landlord.
Normally, there is a waiting list and the applications for the Section 8 Vouchers are taken periodically at a time determined by the Idaho Housing area branch office or local Public Housing Authority. The open period for taking Section 8 applications is usually advertised and all related social service agencies are notified.
When the waiting list is open, completed applications are accepted from all applicants. The Idaho Housing or PHA will then verify the information in each application relevant to the applicant’s eligibility, admission and benefits level. In some Idaho areas, the demand for Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers assistance is so high that the waiting time is over two years, depending on the rental assistance availability, preference qualification, and the date the application was filed.
Applicants on the top of waiting list are contacted by the area Idaho Housing branch or the PHA when Housing Choice Vouchers are available. Before a HCV is issued applicant must complete eligibility determination process. Approved Section 8 applicants can select housing within a neighborhood of their choice from a property owner willing to participate in Section 8 program. The housing unit of choice can be a home/duplex, apartment, or mobile home.
Section 8 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.
One of advantages of Section 8 TBRA is that the assistance is attached to the approved household and is portable. Housing Choice Vouchers can be taken, if beneficiaries move to a different place, and used to subsidize the rent of the new housing of choice.
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 area income and local housing costs but are set largely at the federal level with limited local discretion. Income requirements are set generally 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.
Project-Based Rental Assistance
HUD provides government grants to Idaho Housing Authorities to administer and promotes affordable housing opportunities through Section 8 Project Based Rental Assistance. The Project Based Rental Assistance involves over 3,500 units throughout the state of Idaho. The rental assistance pays part of the rent to qualified tenants for a specific building designated as Section 8 and subsidized by the Federal Government funding with the main purpose to provide affordable housing for low-income families. Applications are accepted and waiting lists are maintained at each housing site. The populations served are households that are extremely-low income with income up to 50% of the Area Median Income. HUD establishes and publishes the income parameters annually. Section 8 Project-Based Assistance is not portable. The assistance is attached to particular housing unit and not to the household. For more information contact your local Idaho Housing Authority.
Family Self-Sufficiency Program
Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) is a 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. It is a voluntary program and participants sign a five year contract to establish and achieve specific goals. Local Public Housing Authorities 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. For more information on Idaho Family Self-Sufficiency Program call 1-800-458-2791.
Public Housing – Subsidized and Low-Rent Apartments
Public Housing provides safe, decent and affordable rental housing to eligible low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides federal grants to local Public Housing Agencies (PHA) that manage the public housing developments for low-income residents at rents they can afford.
In general, housing developments owned, managed and maintained by the local PHA are referred to as Conventional Housing, or Low Rent Public Housing and units are offered to eligible low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities at rental rates established by the PHA authorities within the HUD income limits and guidelines. Local Idaho Public Housing Authorities manage more than 3,500 federally subsidized public housing units across the State.
Inquire about current availability of subsidized and low-rent apartments at you local Idaho Public Housing Authorities.
Search for affordable subsidized apartments in Idaho using the HUD database
Housing Counseling Services
Contact one of the HUD Approved Housing Counseling Agencies in Idaho State for the following education workshops or counseling services
- Mortgage Delinquency and Default Resolution Counseling
- Fair Housing Pre-Purchase Education Workshops
- Financial Management/Budget Counseling
- Financial, Budgeting and Credit Repair Workshops
- Home Improvement and Rehabilitation Counseling
- Non-Delinquency Post Purchase Workshops
- Pre-purchase Counseling
- Pre-purchase Homebuyer Education Workshops
- Predatory Lending Education Workshops
- Rental Housing Counseling
- Services for Homeless Counseling
- Home Improvement and Rehabilitation Counseling
- Reverse Mortgage Counseling
Idaho Homeless Service Organizations
Idaho has regional homeless service organizations that coordinate local resources and can provide assistance to the homeless. Number of Idaho Homeless Service Organizations are funded through Continuum of Care (CoC). The CoC Program is designed to promote community-wide commitment to the goal of ending homelessness by providing government grants to nonprofit providers, State and local governments to quickly rehouse homeless individuals and families while minimizing the trauma and dislocation caused to homeless individuals, families, and communities.
With main goal goal of long-term stability those Idaho homeless service organizations provide the services that are needed to help such individuals move into transitional and permanent housing.
If you are homeless in Idaho and need help – call the listed homeless service organization in your area.
River of Life
Transitional housing for single men, male head of household with children
Corpus Christie House
Transitional housing for families with children, men, women, teens
Transitional housing for families with Children
Safe Place Ministries
Transitional housing for persons fleeing domestic violence
Hayes Shelter Home
Emergency Shelter for runaway and homeless youth
Boise Rescue Mission
Emergency Shelter for men only
Salvation Army Booth Center
Emergency Shelter for families with children
City Light Home
Emergency Shelter for Women and children
Women’s and Children’s Alliance
Emergency Shelter for victims of domestic violence
Emergency Shelter for individuals and families with children
Aid for Friends
Emergency shelter and transitional housing for families with fhildren
Pathways Halfway House Road to Recovery
Transitional housing for substance abusers
Independent Living Program
Youth transitional housing
208-234-2466 ext. 145
Veterans transitional housing
YWCA/Family Service Alliance
Emergency shelter for persons fleeing domestic violence
South Central Community Action
Families with children
Emergency shelter and transitional housing for ingle men, families with children
Crisis Center of Magic Valley
Emergency shelter for persons fleeing domestic violence
St. Vincent Transitional Housing
Transitional housing for amilies with children
St. Vincent de Paul Men’s Shelter
Emergency shelter for men, single women and women with children
St. Pius Church
Shelter for women and small children
Shelter for children up to 18 years of age
The Women’s Center
Shelter for persons fleeing domestic violence
Transitional housing for families with children
OASIS Post Falls P.D.
Emergency shelter and transitional housing for persons fleeing domestic violence
Emergency Shelter and transitional housing for single men and women, and families
Alternative to Violence of the Palouse
Emergency shelter for persons fleeing domestic violence
Persons with mental illnesses
Shelter and transitional housing for families with children
Domestic Violence Intervention Center
Emergency shelter for persons fleeing domestic violence
Shelter for women only
Food Assistance Programs, Services, and Organizations in Idaho
Idaho Food Stamp Program
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or the Food Stamps Program as it is known by the public, is a federal program that provides grants to the States for purpose of reducing the hunger and malnutrition in all eligible households across the nation. SNAP helps provide healthy food to qualifying low-income families with children, elderly or disabled in each State of the USA, including Idaho.
It is important to know that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is a federal entitlement program funded by U.S. Government grants. Any U.S. Citizen, even some legal alien residents, will get free food assistance as long as they meet the SNAP eligibility guidelines. In other words, there is enough Supplemental Nutrition Assistance for every American that qualifies.
In Idaho, the SNAP is administered by Idaho Department of Health and Welfare and is called Idaho Food Stamp Program. The Federal Government oversees the State operation of the SNAP. According to Idaho Department of Health and Welfare “The Idaho Food Stamp Program helps low-income families buy the food they need in order to stay healthy.”
Who is Eligible for Idaho Food Stamp Assistance?
The eligibility rules and benefit amounts in Idaho, like in other States, are based on limited income, limited liquid resources, household size, and other requirements. Most eligibility rules are determined by regulations issued by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service.
The federal law allows States some flexibility when implementing SNAP on a State level. State agencies can adapt some of the food assistance program rules in order to meet the needs of eligible, low‐income local population.
Idaho Food Stamp Program is designed for individuals and families with limited income resources, who compose a household, and purchase and prepare their meals together for home consumption.
In general, to qualify for Idaho Food Stamp Benefits you must meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Idaho Resident – must be a U.S. Citizen or a legal resident with SNAP eligible non-citizen status;
- Work Requirement – unless exempted, each able-bodied household member, age 18-50, must work or participate in an employment and training program, registered to work, and accept a suitable employment offer;
- Resource Limit – Countable liquid household assets must be under $5,000. Resources include, but are not limited to, cash, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, real property, household vehicles, and recreational vehicles. Household vehicles might be excluded depending on their usage and other factors.
- Income Limits – Income limits eligibility depends on the household size and composition. Households with no elderly or disabled individuals must meet both gross and net income limits. Households with elderly or disabled individuals must meet only the net income limits. Gross income includes wages, salaries, commissions, dividends, child support, self-employment income, unemployment compensation, social security benefits and other sources. Household net income is computed by deducting certain allowed expenses from gross income. The resulting numbers must fall below the net income dollar amounts listed in the table below for your household to get food assistance benefits. This dollar amount depends on the number of people in your household.
See the table with Idaho food stamp income limits per household size below.Oct. 1, 2015 through Sept. 30, 2016 USDA FNS SNAP Max Income
|Household Size||Gross Monthly Income Limits |
(130% of poverty)
|Net Monthly Income Limits
(100% of poverty)
|Each additional member||+$451||+$347|
Source: USDA, SNAP Income Eligibility Standards
Some Idaho residents may be automatically or so called categorically eligible for Food Stamps if they already participate in other means tested assistance programs. Getting any benefits from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) federal block grant or receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can make the applicant for Food Stamps categorically eligible, thus bypassing the income eligibility and asset eligibility rules. Check the specifics with your local Division of Welfare office or call 1-877-456-1233.
Idaho Food Stamps – Quick Eligibility Check
USDA Food and Nutrition Service offer this Pre-Screening Tool you can use find out if you may be eligible to get Idaho SNAP Benefits (Food Stamps). Although you will be notified immediately if you qualify after completing the questionnaire you still have to make an application at your Idaho local Department of Welfare office. Even you are unsure whether you qualify you should still apply.
Regardless of the results of the tool, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare encourages applicants to visit one of their offices. A quick conversation with one of their self-reliance specialists will help applicants find out whether they may be eligible for Idaho Food Stamp benefits.
What are the Benefits?
If approved, the Idaho Food Stamp Benefit amounts depend on the household size and the amount of the their net income. USDA has maximum food stamp benefit limits per month per household size. Check below what are the maximum food stamp assistance monetary amounts. The food stamp dollar amounts are called allotments.Oct. 1, 2015 - Sept. 30, 2016 USDA Max SNAP Allotments
|Household Size||Maximum Food Assistance Monthly Allotment
|Each additional member||$146|
Source: USDA, SNAP Maximum Allotments
How to Apply for Food Stamps in Idaho?
Idaho residents interested in getting food stamps can download and print the Food Stamp application in English or Spanish from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare forms page.
All looking for help with food can apply for Idaho Food Stamp Benefits by visiting one of the local Division of Welfare Offices.
If you do not have all the information complete as much as you can including your name, social security number, what you are applying for, and sign it. The Food Assistance Office has to accept the application with the current date. You can provide the rest of the information later at the interview.
The applicant needs to fill out all required information on the application and provide supporting documents. Before decision is made an Idaho Division of Welfare worker has to verify all the paperwork and schedule interview with the applicant. If the applicant is eligible, they will receive within 30 days (usually in Idaho the response is faster) a notice stating how much of a benefit they qualify for, when to expect their benefits, and for how long is the applicant eligible for getting food stamps.
Idaho Food Stamps Approval, Rules, Proofs Required
Idaho Department of Health and Welfare needs to verify submitted information before before determining if the household is eligible for Food Stamp Benefits.
The Department of Health and Welfare lists examples of documents and information that may be needed when you apply or need to complete re-evaluation interview.
Proof of Identity:
- Driver’s License
- ID Card
- Birth Certificate
Proof of Immigration Status of Non-Citizens:
- Resident Alien Card
- Copy of a residency document issued by the Department of Homeland Security
Proof of Income:
- Work Verification form signed by employer
- Paycheck Stubs – for the last 30 days
- Completed Self-Employment Verification Form
- Copy of most recent tax forms (include all schedule forms if self-employed)
- Benefits Letters from SSI or VA
- Unemployment Insurance Check Stubs
- Pension Information
- Workers Compensation
- Bank Statements for last 30 days
- Copy of statements to prove the amount due on any vehicle
- Statements that show current value of stocks, bonds, certificate of deposit, etc.
Child Support Expenses:
- Copy of court documents with required pay amount
- Paycheck stubs for paid child support
- Signed statement from person receiving the child support payments
Child Care Expenses:
- Statement from child care provider
- Dependent Care Charges form completed by the child care provider
This is not a complete list and depending on case the Food Assistance Worker may request additional types of proof and application supporting documents.
The Food Stamp Program has special rules for elderly or disabled applicants and beneficiaries.
The law limits the Food Stamp Benefits to 3 months in a 3-year period for all able-bodied adults between the ages of 18-50 without dependents, who are not working or participating in a work program for at least 20 hours each week.
To comply with Food Stamp work requirement rule, Idaho State offers Job Search and Assistance Program (JSAP), which provides Food Stamp recipients with employment tools that they can use to become self-reliant. JSAP can help in job search and referrals, unpaid work-experience opportunities, job skills training, and education.
It is a mandatory employment and training program for all able-bodied adults in households getting Idaho Food Stamp benefits. As per the federal requirement all SNAP participants who are identified as “able-bodied adults without dependents” must complete 20 hours each week in order to receive more than three months of food assistance in a 36-month.
Food Stamp recipients in Idaho can be exempted from work requirement provision if they are:
- Under 18 or 60 years of age or older;
- Responsible for the care of a child or incapacitated household member;
- Medically certified as physically or mentally unfit for employment or pregnant;
- Student at least half-time in a recognized school, training program, or institution of higher education;
- Pregnant Women;
- Participating in an alcohol or drug treatment program.
Households getting food stamps benefits must report any changes of their household situation and complete re-evaluation in a 6-months period in order to assure their participation in the Food Stamp Program.
Approved! When and How Do I Get the Food Assistance Benefits?
Idaho Food Stamp Program provides the SNAP benefits via the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system.
The monetary benefits of the Idaho Food Stamps are transferred to the accounts of qualified beneficiaries and are accessible through Idaho Quest Card.
The Food Assistance Benefits are deposited into the recipients accounts on the 1st day of the month.
If you have any question regarding your EBT Account or EBT Card call Idaho EBT Customer Service: 1-888-432-4328
How and Where to Use the Food Stamp Benefits?
Idaho Food Stamp benefits can only be used to purchase eligible food items at Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) authorized stores displaying the Quest mark.
Households and individuals get Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards to use their food assistance benefits at any grocery stores and farmers’ markets that are authorized by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Food Assistance Benefits can only be used to purchase eligible food items at Food Stamps authorized stores in State of Idaho.
Eligible food items are any food to be eaten at home by people, including baby food, non-alcoholic beverages, and seasonings. Seeds and plants to grow food for your own family’s consumption are also allowed to be purchased with food stamp benefits. You cannot buy non-grocery items with food stamp benefits, such as cleaning products, pet food, paper products, alcohol, or tobacco.
I Need Food Assistance Now. It is an Emergency!
Some households may get Expedited Services – that is getting Food Assistance Benefits within 7 calendar days if your household has less than $150 in monthly gross income and liquid resources (cash, checking or savings accounts) of $100 or less; or your rent/mortgage and utilities are more than your household’s combined monthly income and liquid resources; or a member of your household is a migrant or seasonal farm worker. In order to get expedite assistance, if you qualify, provide all required information and proof as soon as possible. Call 1-877-456-1233 for more information on Idaho Food Stamp Program.