Low Income Housing Assistance in Hawaii

Housing assistance in Hawaii for single mothers

Households of single mothers in the State of Hawaii are the hardest hit when coming to homelessness. Their low-income may not cover all the needs together with the need for shelter. The Hawaii Public Housing Authority (HPHA) has put housing assistance to low-income Hawaiian at the forefront of everything. Recently, on the 5th of June 2013, the state has inaugurated Hakim Ouansafi as the new executive director of HPHA. The director will also take the mission of the State of Hawaii further in assisting the underprivileged residents.

The HPHA control a variety of federal aid programs including Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (Tenant-based and Project-based), Public Housing and Homeownership, to mention only a few herein. The main focus of the programs pertains to the provision of low-rent housing on the basis of low-income to Hawaiians.

Due to high demand of subsidized rental housing, the HPHA has, in its discretion, closed the waiting list of the Section 8 Tenant-based and Project-based housing assistance in the 29th of August 2008 for the Oahu County. New applications are therefore not accepted until further notice for these programs. There is Public Housing program that one may opt for.

Public Housing assistance in Hawaiian single moms with low-income

The U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is funding the State of Hawaii to operate the Public Housing Program. The state allocates the money to relevant public housing agencies which then make a means to acquire units for the public assistance.

Therefore, Public Housing Program places the applicants of public housing assistance in the houses exclusively owned by the state. The houses are subsidized for low-rent and the subsidy is attached to them. This being said, there is no freedom for the occupant to change from one unit to the other. Otherwise a new application has to be made, and bear in mind the inconveniences of waiting list.

For applications of public housing assistance, the single mother should submit applications to a local public housing agency of the county that she lives in. The agency has a control of who gets the aid or not depending on the qualifications set. The mother has to meet income limits, has to meet immigration or citizenship status and other qualifying factors as prevail from the agency. Get a help locating the local PHA from http://www.hud.gov/. This website has information regarding the federal housing programs for every state and also has information regarding the location of public housing agencies.

While considering the application for this program, it should be noted that there are some factors that could disqualify the mother from getting help she needs. Should it transpire that she has once been evicted from a public housing, she has once taken part in criminal activities, she has once defrauded any PHA or any of the members of the household has committed all these, then she will not qualify. If there is any outstanding amount to PHA then better pay it before applying and the credit record should be made good. References from other landlords are needed to confirm if she is a good tenant and she won’t affect other neighborhood tenants.

Section 8 Tenant-based and Project-based housing assistance

The voucher program of housing assistance helps the single mother to either rent in a tenant-based unit or project-based unit if she meets eligibility rules for that. The significant difference between these programs is that the public housing agencies have no full control of tenant-based housing units which are mostly privately owned and thus they have control over subsidized apartments of project-based program. Moreover, the voucher for the project-based is immovable while the one of tenant-based can be used in other units with prior arrangements.

In spite of these differences, the programs operate almost identically. The applicant, upon approval, will be issued a tenant-based voucher to earnestly look for accommodation in which she can use the voucher for rental assistance. It may be very challenging to find that suitable accommodation especially given the time limit of 60 days to use the voucher. When that 60 days expires, in the absence of supporting reasons that why has it expired, it will be given to the next applicant then the single mother’s family will forfeit the opportunity to use it.

On the other hand, when the place has been found, the mother can sign a lease agreement with the owner of that place on provision that the place has been certified to be in good standards of safety and health. The market value of the rent should also be reasonable and affordable. Failure to adhere to these conditions will lead to the disapproval of the unit for renting and therefore the mother has to look for another one. Take a look on the table below for payment standards that correspond with the market;

Number of bedrooms
Payment standard
Fig.1. Payment standards for Section 8 housing programs
Source: http://www.hcdch.state.hi.us/documents/sec8.pdf.

The project-based housing assistance places the single mother with low-income in a housing unit subsidized by the government. When property owners are developing or renovating their apartments, the state gets in to subsidize them on conditions that they are willing to offer low-rent housing for the state’s indigent people. In all the programs, the single mother has a co-payment of 30% that is adjusted from her gross monthly income.

Income limits are used to grant the programs to needy people. The table below highlights a few of those.

Number of members in a household
Income limits per year
Fig.2. Income limits for Section 8 housing programs
Source: http://www.hcdch.state.hi.us/documents/sec8.pdf.

Exceptions in terms of these income limits may go to those living with disabilities, the elderly and the blind people. Welfare costs such Supplemental Security Income for elderly may be taken into account. Likewise, these people are given preference when the vouchers are issued. Since the list is long, their names could be moved to the first position. If a single mother is a victim of domestic violence she can also receive preference.

Should the single mom wish to own a home, homeownership program for Section 8 participants could help out with payments. The same qualifying requirements as in Section 8 apply. In addition, the mother should be the first-time purchaser of the home. The local housing agency could help in giving clear directions to follow on provision that the agency administers the program.

The housing programs of assistance are many for the State of Hawaii to people with low-earnings. Visit http://www.hcdch.state.hi.us to further explore other associated programs and get a link on how to apply for any of the programs. The programs offer single moms a sigh of relief in housing assistance.

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