The Houston Housing Authority (HHA) is a government agency that provides rental assistance to low-income families. It offers assistance to renters who are currently paying more than 30% of their income on rent and have been homeless in the past.
The HHA is a very useful resource for Houstonians who are struggling to pay their rent due to other debts or financial factors. The agency offers a variety of services that can help you apply for rental assistance, including:
- Homeless Prevention Program
- Rental Assistance Programs
- Homebuyer Programs
Income Eligibility Requirements
The HHA requires that you must meet certain income requirements to be eligible for rental assistance. You must meet one of the following requirements:
- You must have an income that is at or below 50% of the area median income (AMI) for a family of four, which is currently $51,950 in 2019. The HHA uses the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Income Limits Calculator to determine the AMI for your area.
- You must have an income that is at or below 30% of the AMI for a family of four, which is currently $29,400 in 2019.
The HHA also has a program called the Houston Area Homelessness Prevention Program (HAP) that assists families with incomes up to 50% of the AMI in paying their rent.
Rental Assistance Application Process
If you want to apply for rental assistance from the HHA, you must first complete an application. The application can be completed online or through your local HHA office, depending on where you live. You can submit your application online, but you will need to visit your local office to pick up your paperwork and provide additional documentation if you haven’t already provided it when you applied online. Your application will include several different documents:
- A completed application form
- Proof of income and resources, such as pay stubs or bank statements
- Proof of household size and composition, such as copies of your lease or utility bills
- Proof of homelessness, such as a copy of your homeless determination letter from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
You must provide proof of income and resources when you apply for rental assistance from the HHA. The amount of documentation you must submit depends on your household’s composition and income level.
- If you are single, you must provide either a pay stub or bank statement that shows your total monthly income for the past 12 months and your total monthly expenses for the past 12 months. If your total monthly income is less than $600 or $1,800 per year, you will need to provide proof of your monthly income. If your total monthly income is greater than $600 or $1,800 per year, you will need to provide proof of your total monthly expenses.
- If you are married or in a domestic partnership, you must provide either a pay stub or bank statement that shows your total monthly income for the past 12 months and your total monthly expenses for the past 12 months. If your total monthly income is less than $600 or $1,800 per year, you will need to provide proof of your monthly income. If your total monthly income is greater than $600 or $1,800 per year, you will need to provide proof of your total monthly expenses.
After your application has been approved, it will go through a screening process that involves two interviews with different people who can attest to how much money you make and how much money you spend each month. These interviews are known as guarantor interviews because they involve two people who can vouch for how much money you make and how much money you spend each month. The guarantor interviews are conducted by staff members from the HHA on behalf of the applicant. Both interviews must be completed within 30 days after your application has been approved if they were conducted by mail or in person at your local office. The guarantor interviews are designed to determine whether the HHA believes that you are able to pay your rent and that you are able to maintain certain living conditions in order to qualify for rental assistance from the HHA.
The Adverse Tenant Screening Process (Exceptions To This Rule)
The HHA has a program called the Adverse Tenant Screening Process (ATS) that allows landlords to request their tenants’ background information from the HHA so that they can check it against their own personal information before they rent their property to them. This is done so that landlords can make sure that their tenants are not likely to become homeless if they move out. If there is any indication that a tenant may become homeless if they move out, then the landlord can ask the tenant to sign an agreement stating that they will not become homeless and will not cause damage to their landlord’s property if they move out early. If they leave their property in good condition and at least 10 days before their lease expires, then they won’t be charged any rent until they move back into their unit again (if they do move back in).
Final Inspection Follow-Up Interviews
After both guarantor interviews have been completed and both interviews have confirmed that there are no adverse circumstances that would prevent a tenant from paying rent if they moved out early, then the tenant’s final inspection interview with a staff member from the HHA will take place. This final inspection interview is designed to confirm that there are no conditions on the unit that would prevent tenants from paying rent if they moved out early. If there are no such conditions on the unit, then the tenant will be approved for rental assistance from the HHA if he or she meets all other eligibility requirements.
If you’re in need of rental assistance in Houston, make sure to complete both guarantor interviews and the final inspection interview. These interviews will help to ensure that you’ve been approved for rental assistance and that the unit you’re moving into meets all of the HHA’s eligibility requirements.