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HACA’s Housing Programs

Home is where the heart is. It’s a place to raise a family, take a break from work, and enjoy time with friends. For 80 years, the Housing Authority of the City of Austin has offered a hand up to families and individuals by providing an affordable home and avenues to self sufficiency.

HACA administers one waiting list for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program (formerly Section 8) and 18 waiting lists for its Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA), Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) and Public Housing properties. For more information about our properties, visit our locations page.

The first step in the application process is to complete and submit a pre-application. Pre-applications are accepted through the application web portal at hacaapply.org. Once you have submitted an application, you may check your status on the waiting list at myhaca.org. All duplicate applications will be deleted. If you need assistance finding a free public computer lab in your area, please see our list of computer resources.

Required Information
– Full names
– Social Security Numbers (if applicable)
– Birth dates
– Estimated Gross Income
– The entire pre-application must be completed and submitted before an applicant can be placed on a waiting list.

A full explanation of all the eligibility requirements and program rules for HACA’s Public Housing program can be found in the Admissions and Continued Occupancy Policy, in the Tenant Selection Plans for the PBRA program, and in the Administrative Plan for the HCV program. A summary of those requirements are listed below.

Public Housing/PBRA

HACA has 18 Public Housing/PBRA properties totaling 1,839 apartments throughout the city of Austin. Eligible applicants may choose where they would like to live. Residents pay about 30 percent of their monthly household income toward rent. Residents also have access to community development programs that provide assistance with education, job training, youth programs, health and wellness as well as many other programs. The goal is to help each resident maximize their potential and if possible, move back into the private rental market without assistance.

HACA is in the process of converting its Public Housing units to Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) through HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration Program (RAD). RAD is a tool that allows public housing authorities like HACA to make improvements to its properties and improve residents’ lives, while also ensuring the properties remain affordable to low-income families for the next 40 years. As of December 2016, eight properties had converted to the PBRA program. Of those eight properties, five of them were converted with the use of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC). Although very similar, there are slight differences among the programs.

For a list of our properties click here 

HCV (Section 8)

HACA has more than 5,400 Section 8 vouchers, also known as Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV). Families in the HCV program have the choice and responsibility to select their own housing location within HACA’s jurisdiction and with a landlord that is willing to accept vouchers. HCV participants pay between 30-40 percent of their monthly household income toward rent. The voucher covers the rest of the rent and sends the payment directly to the landlord. Due to limited federal funding and high demand, HACA cannot accept new applications for HCV at this time. The waiting list for the HCV program is currently closed. HACA will provide advance public announcement and notice when we plan to open the online HCV application process again.

Eligibility
Requirements

  • Public Housing/PBRA
  • HCV (SECTION 8)
  • Am I Eligible For Housing Assistance?

    If your application passes pre-screening and is placed onto the waiting list, eligibility will be determined when your name gets to the top of the list. At that time, HACA will review the following eligibility categories to determine if you qualify:

    • Does the makeup of the family meet the definition of family used by HACA?
    • Is the total gross household income below the income limits for the program at that time?
    • Does the family meet the criteria regarding citizenship or eligible immigration status?
    • Has the family disclosed all Social Security numbers and signed all required consent forms?
    • Have all adult household members passed the criminal background check?
    • Are any household members on any registered sex offender list?
    • Does the family owe a debt to HACA or any other federally assisted housing program?
    • Has the family been evicted from federally assisted housing within the past 5 years?

    For an explanation of each of these eligibility categories, please read the Eligibility Information in the Admissions and Continued Occupancy Policy.

  • What Are Preferences?

    Once families are placed onto the Waiting List, applicable preferences are applied. A preference moves the family ahead of all other families that do not have a preference.

    Preferences are ONLY valid for the head of the household, spouse or the co-head of the household. Dependents cannot qualify the family for a preference.

    The preferences for the Public Housing properties are:

        • ELDERLY: The head, co-head or Spouse must be 62 years or older
        • INVOLUNTARILY DISPLACED FAMILY: Families displaced as a result of natural disaster or government action within the last six months. Certification from a unit of government concerning displacement due to natural disaster or certification from a unit of government concerning displacement due to code enforcement or public improvement/development or displacement by inaccessibility of a unit is required to grant this preference.
        • DISABILITY/HANDICAP:  The head, co-Head or spouse must be disabled. Verification of disability from a medical professional or verification of disability benefits is required to grant this preference.

    The preferences for the PBRA and PBRA/LIHTC family properties are:

        • INVOLUNTARILY DISPLACED FAMILY: Families displaced as a result of natural disaster or government action within the last six months. Certification from a unit of government concerning displacement due to natural disaster or certification from a unit of government concerning displacement due to code enforcement or public improvement/development or displacement by inaccessibility of a unit is required to grant this preference..
        • DISABILITY/HANDICAP:  The head, co-head or spouse must be disabled. Verification from a medical professional or verification of disability benefits is required to grant this preference.

    The preferences for the PBRA and PBRA/LIHTC elderly/disabled properties are:

        • NEAR ELDERLY/ELDERLY: The head, co-head or spouse must be 55 years or older
        • INVOLUNTARILY DISPLACED FAMILY: Families displaced as a result of natural disaster or government action within the last six months. Certification from a unit of government concerning displacement due to natural disaster or certification from a unit of government concerning displacement due to code enforcement or public improvement/development or displacement by inaccessibility of a unit is required to grant this preference.
        • DISABILITY/HANDICAP:  The head, co-head or spouse must be disabled. Verification of disability from a medical professional or verification of disability benefits is required to grant this preference.

    Verification of most preferences will be reviewed at the time of your screening interview. However, if involuntary displacement preference is selected, you will be sent a letter within one to three weeks after applying requiring you to submit verification documents within a certain time frame. If your preference documentation is not approved your name will be placed back on the waiting list without the preference.

  • What Are the Current Income Limits?

    Public Housing/PBRAHCV(Section 8)PBRA/LIHTC

    Maximum Household income for each family size

    Family Size 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
    Income $45,600 $52,100 $58,600 $65,100 $70,350 $75,550 $80,750 $85,950

    Maximum Household income for each family size

    Family Size 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
    Income $28,500 $32,600 $36,650 $40,700 $44,000 $47,250 $50,500 $53,750

    Maximum Household income for each family size

    Family Size 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
    Income $32,220 $40,260 $45,300 $50,280 $54,360 $58,380 $62,400 $66,420

  • How Do I Update My Information?

    If you are on a HACA waiting list for housing, you must keep all your information up to date. For your convenience, you may create an applicant portal account at myhaca.org. In the Applicant Portal, you can:

    • Check what number you are on the waiting list(s);
    • Update your mailing address;
    • Update your email address and phone numbers;
    • Update income information; and
    • Add or remove family members from your current application.

    The Applicant Portal is an easy and convenient way to make updates to your housing application without having to make a trip to our office. Or you may visit HACA’s central office during business hours and submit an Update Form in order to report application changes.  The Head of Household is the only person allowed to submit an Update Form and a photo ID will be required for this option. When your name reaches the top of the waiting list, HACA will send a letter inviting your family to an eligibility interview. HACA will use the most current address listed on your application. Failure to keep a current mailing address could result in missing your interview and having your housing application withdrawn.

  • Do I Need An Email Address To Apply Online?

    No. You do not need an email address to complete an application. However you are strongly encouraged to have an email address and to list it on your application. The benefits to providing an email address include:

    If you are eligible to be placed on the waiting list, you will need an email address to access the Applicant Portal.  Through the Applicant portal you can obtain information about your wait list position, update your contact information, family composition and more. If you provide an email address, HACA can send out reminders about what you will need for your eligibility interview, how to keep your application current and services available in the community.

    An email address does not have to cost anything. Below are links to 3 different options for free emails. You are not required to use one of these three. Any valid email address is fine. However, these are offered as options that are free to you:

    1. Gmail
    2. Yahoo
    3. Microsoft
  • What Will I Need to Bring To My Eligibility Interview?

    1. When your name comes to the top of the Waiting List, you will be invited to an eligibility interview. You will need to bring the following documents to that appointment:

    1. Unexpired Identification Document (1 of the following):
    – Drivers License
    – State-issued ID card, or
    – Passport
    2. Proof of Age (1 of the following):
    – Original Birth Certificate or Baptismal Certificate or Hospital Birth Record
    – Unexpired passport
    – Matrícula from México or other Latin American country
    – Unexpired Permanent Resident Card
    – Unexpired Employment Authorization Card, or
    – Unexpired I-94 Visa
    3. Proof of income for all family members
    – All income documents must be dated within 60 days of the date of your interview appointment.
    4. Proof of assets over $5,000.
    5. Non-US Citizens are asked to provide documentation of eligible immigration status. At least one family member with eligible immigration status or citizenship status is required for the family to receive assistance.

    You will not need to provide any of this information until you are invited to the Eligibility Interview.

  • Am I Eligible To Apply?

    The waiting list for HACA’s HCV program is currently closed. HACA will provide advance public announcement and notice when we plan to open the online application process again.

    To be eligible to apply, you must be an adult or a legally emancipated minor, and you must not be currently receiving assistance through the HCV voucher program. Please note that if you owe a debt to HACA, you can still apply. However, that debt must be paid in full before you can be eligible to receive HCV  assistance.

    If you are unsure, apply. HACA will review all pre-applications to determine if they are eligible.

     

  • Am I Eligible For Housing Assistance?

    Eligibility will not be determined at the time you apply. Rather, if you are selected in the lottery and are placed onto the Waiting List, eligibility will be determined when your name reaches the top of the list. At that time, HACA will review the following eligibility categories to determine if you qualify.

    1. Does the makeup of the family meet the definition of family used by HACA?
    2. Is the total gross household income below the income limits for the program at that time?
    3. Does the family meet the criteria regarding citizenship or eligible immigration status?
    4. Has the family disclosed all Social Security numbers and signed all required consent forms?
    5. Have all adult household members passed the criminal background check?
    6. Are any adult household members on any registered sex offender list?
    7. Does the family owe a debt to HACA or any other federally assisted housing program?
    8. Has the family been evicted from federally assisted housing within the past 5 years (from the date the family’s eligibility determination is made, not the date of application)?

    For an explanation of each of these eligibility categories, please read the HCV Eligibility Information .

  • What Are the Current Income Limits?

    Public Housing/PBRAHCV (Section 8)PBRA/LIHTC

    Maximum Household income for each family size

    Family Size 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
    Income $45,600 $52,100 $58,600 $65,100 $70,350 $75,550 $80,750 $85,950

    Maximum Household income for each family size

    Family Size 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
    Income $28,500 $32,600 $36,650 $40,700 $44,000 $47,250 $50,500 $53,750

    Maximum Household income for each family size

    Family Size 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
    Income $35,220 $40,260 $45,300 $50,280 $54,360 $58,380 $62,400 $66,420

     

  • What Are Preferences?

    Once families are placed onto the Waiting List, preferences are applied. A preference moves the family ahead of all other families that do not have a preference. All families with preferences are put in order by their lottery number first. After families with preferences, all families without preferences are listed in order by their lottery number.

    For the HCV program, HACA has the following preferences:

    1. Elderly Preference. If the head of household, co-head or spouse are age 62 or older, the family qualifies for this preference.
    2. Disabled Preference If the head of household, co-head or spouse is disabled, according to the HUD definition of disability, the family qualifies for this preference.
    3. Families With Minor Children If the family has minor children in the household, the family qualifies for this preference.
    4. Involuntarily Displaced If the family has been involuntarily displaced by natural disaster or government action within the past 6 months, the family qualifies for this preference.
    5. Homeless If the family meets the HUD definition of Homeless and has a referral from a homeless service provider, the family qualifies for this preference.
    6. Residency. If the family lives within the five county Central Texas area (Travis, Williamson, Hays, Bastrop and Caldwell), the family qualifies for this preference.
    7. Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) Choice Mobility Preference: As required by HUD and in accordance with all HUD RAD guidelines, if HACA participates in RAD, HACA will provide a Choice-Mobility option to residents of covered RAD projects in accordance with policies outlined in the HCV Administrative Plan. Residents who remain in the same RAD property for two years will be placed on the Housing Choice Voucher waitlist that will allow them to seek housing in the private rental market.
  • Do I Need An Email Address To Apply Online?

    No. You do not need an email address to complete an application. However, families are strongly encouraged to have an email address and to list it on your application. The benefits to providing an email address include:

    1. If you are eligible to be placed on the waiting list, you will need an email address to access the Applicant Portal.  Through the Applicant portal you can obtain information about your waitlist position, update your contact information, family composition and more.
    2. If you provide an email address, HACA can send out reminders about what you will need for your eligibility interview, how to keep your application current and services available in the community.

    An email address does not have to cost anything. Below are links to 3 different options for free emails. You are not required to use one of these three. Any valid email address is fine. However, these are offered as options that are free to you:

    1. Gmail
    2. Yahoo
    3. Microsoft
  • How Do I Update My Information?

    Families that are on the Waiting List are required to keep all their information current. To do this, families must create an account in the online Applicant Portal. In the Applicant Portal, families can do the following:

     

    • Check what number they are on the Waiting List;
    • Change their mailing address;
    • Update their email address and phone numbers;
    • Provide information about changes in income; and
    • Make changes to family members to be included on the application (adding or deleting).

     

    The Applicant Portal is the primary way for families to communicate with HACA regarding their application while on the Waiting List.

    It is extremely important for families to keep their information current. When the family name comes to the top of the Waiting List, HACA will send a letter inviting the family to an eligibility interview. HACA will use the address listed on file. Failure to keep a current mailing address could result in missing the opportunity to receive housing assistance.

  • What Will I Need to Bring To My Eligibility Interview?

    When your name comes to the top of the Waiting List, you will be invited to an eligibility interview. You will need to bring the following documents to that appointment:

    • Birth Certificates for all family members.
    • Social Security cards for all family members.
    • Photo ID for all family members age 16 and older.
    • DPS Criminal Background report (dated within 60 days of the appointment date) for all family members age 17 and older.
    • Proof of eligible immigration status or citizenship status for all family members not born in the United States.
    • Proof of all forms of income. Examples include but are not limited to: Employment check stubs, Social Security or SSI Award letters, Pension award letters, TANF award letters, etc.

    You will not need to provide any of this information until you are invited to the Eligibility Interview.

     

While You Wait

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