Frequently Asked Questions for Voucher Participants
While regular unemployment benefits are considered income, we will exclude the $600 per week enhancement provided by the CARES act because these payments are temporary/non-recurring and are likely to end after the pandemic emergency ends. You need to report receiving unemployment benefits. The stimulus payments being made directly to individuals and families will be excluded from annual income, as again, they are temporary/non-recurring payments. Stimulus payments do not need to be reported.
If you have been issued a written termination notice, you have ten (10) business days in which to submit a written appeal, stating the reasons you disagree with the decision. This appeal must be submitted to the Housing Authority in person, by US mail, or by email.
The Violence against women’s act (VAWA) as it applies to voucher partipants, provides four specific protections against termination of HCV assistance for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking.
First, VAWA provides that a Public Housing Authority (PHA) may not terminate assistance to a family that moves out of an assisted unit in violation of the lease, with or without prior notification to the PHA, if the move occurred to protect the health or safety of a family member who is or has been the victim of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking and who reasonably believed he or she was imminently threatened by harm from further violence if he or she remained in the unit [24 CFR 982.354(b)(4)].
Second, it provides that an incident or incidents of actual or threatened domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking may not be construed either as a serious or repeated lease violation by the victim or as good cause to terminate the assistance of the victim [24 CFR 5.2005(c)(1)].
Third, it provides that criminal activity directly related to domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking may not be construed as cause for terminating the assistance of a tenant if a member of the tenant’s household, a guest, or another person under the tenant’s control is the one engaging in the criminal activity and the tenant or an immediate family member of the tenant is the actual or threatened victim of the domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking [24 CFR 5.2005(c)(2)].
Fourth, it gives PHAs the authority to terminate assistance to any tenant or lawful occupant who engages in criminal acts of physical violence against family members or others without terminating assistance to, or otherwise penalizing, the victim of the violence [24 CFR 5.2009(a)].
We recommend that you make contact with community partners who may provide you with rent assistance. Local churches and agencies will sometimes provide assistance to prevent eviction. The Housing Authority is already subsidizing a participant’s rent and does not have any emergency rental assistance funds. It's the family's obligation to pay their share of the rent, so it's very important to stay current to avoid termination from the Voucher program.
Your rent is based on the gross income of your household, not your net (or take-home) income. Your Gross income is your income before any deductions are applied.
The amount of rent that you pay is typically 30% of your income if the unit that you rent is at or below our Payment Standard. If you choose to rent a higher cost unit, you may pay up to 40% of your income towards rent. Once you sign the lease, if your landlord increases the rent, the share of the rent that you pay may also increase if your unit is over our Payment Standard.
The medical expense deduction is permitted only for families in which the head, spouse, or cohead is at least 62 years of age or is a person with disabilities. If a family is eligible for a medical expense deduction, the medical expenses of all family members are counted.
The most current IRS Publication 502, Medical and Dental Expenses, will be used as a reference to determine the costs that qualify as medical expenses. You can find the IRS Publication by clicking here: IRS Publication 502
TUP (or Tenant Utility Payment) is a utility reimbursement that you may receive when your estimated utility costs are more than 30% of your adjusted monthly income. Generally, a household must have a tenant rent share of $0 and higher utility costs to be eligible for a Tenant Utility Payment. Talk to your Housing Specialist if you think you may qualify for a TUP.
Immediate family members and minor children are eligible to be added to your household.
You must request approval to add any adult individual to your household. That individual is subject to the approval of the Housing Authority, and must meet the landlord's screening criteria.
To add someone to your household, talk to your Housing Specialist. They will provide you with the necessary forms to complete.
For each family, the PHA determines the appropriate number of bedrooms under the PHA subsidy standards and enters the family unit size on the voucher issued to the family. The family unit size does not dictate the size of unit the family must lease, nor does it determine who within a household will share a bedroom/sleeping room. For guidelines that the PHA uses in determining a unit size, click Determining Family Unit Size.
If you want to break your lease and move out early, you will need to get a Mutual Rescission form signed. This is a written agreement between you and your landlord to terminate the lease early. This form is available from your Housing Specialist.
If you want to move from your assisted unit, you are required to provide the Housing Authority with a thirty (30) day notice of intent to vacate and provide your landlord with written notification as well. Notice To Move form
Once you have given notice to move, you will be issued recertification paperwork and must submit verifications. Once approved, you will be issued a Voucher and a Request for Tenancy Approval (RFTA). You may then begin looking for a unit that meets our Payment Standard, including utilities.
For more information about moving, please contact your assigned Housing Program Specialist.
It's important that you make requests for repairs to your landlord in writing. You must also send a copy of this written request to your Housing Specialist. Once the required time-frame has passed and the landlord has still failed to make repairs, contact your Housing Specialist to request a special inspection.
The Housing Authority does not have funding to assist with deposits or screening fees.
Please have your current Housing Authority mail or email your portability packet to:
Housing Authority of Thurston County
P.O. Box 1638
Olympia, WA 98507-1638
See our Portability page for more information.
The Housing Authority generally does not absorb portable Vouchers. The only time we absorb Vouchers is when it is requested by another agency and the Housing Authority has budget capacity to do so.
See our Portability page for more information.
Your housing Voucher can be utilized anywhere in Thurston County. You may also be able to "port" your voucher to another county or city. If you are eligible for portability, you can transfer anywhere within the United States and their territories, as long as there's a housing agency to serve you in the new location.
If you are interested in porting your voucher, see our Portability page for more information.