Preferences for HACC Housing Choice Voucher Program
In order to ensure that the Housing Choice Voucher Program services clients with the most critical housing needs, a preference system has been created. The cumulative total of preference points determines the applicant position on the waiting list. Ties are broken by the chronological order of application.
Definitions detailing the qualifications for a preference or multiple preferences are contained in the HCV Administrative Plan and are summarized here. When an individual completes the application form, they will be asked a series of questions that determine their qualifications for the preference categories. It is extremely important that applicants read and understand the definition of the preferences before completing the application.
Once on the waiting list an applicant may be called in to attend a voucher briefing. At that briefing the information on one’s application will be verified including any preferences that may have been claimed.
The following preference categories and attached point ratings have been established by the Housing Authority of Chester County:
|Preferences Category||Rating Points|
|Existing HACC residents of housing scheduled for demolition/disposition||100|
|Imminent Danger of Homelessness||40|
|Individuals Transitioning Out of Nursing Homes||75|
|Chester County Residency||25|
|Families with Children under 18 yrs old||20|
|Victims of Domestic Violence||20|
Example of How This Works: Two individuals submit applications when the HACC waiting list is advertised for opening. The first applicant is elderly, disabled and lives in Chester County. They would receive 125 preference points. The second applicant is a disabled, elderly veteran who does not live in Chester County. They would receive 120 preference points. As a result of the preferences, the first applicant would be placed ahead of the second on the waiting list.
Existing HACC residents of housing scheduled for demolition/disposition – This is a very specialized category and only affects residents of public housing that is either being torn down or sold.
Disabled – This preference is extended to disabled persons or families with a disabled member. Disability is defined under the American Disabilities Act as an individual that has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. HACC will require appropriate documentation from a knowledgeable professional. We will not inquire as to the nature or extent of the disability. Acceptable documentation is also an award letter or other proof of eligibility for Social Security Disability.
Individuals Transitioning Out of Nursing Homes – This is a preference affecting very few individuals. It only applies to someone who is recipient of a temporary housing voucher from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency program called Tenant Based Rental Assistance (TBRA). Those individuals have left nursing homes to return to the community receive short term help from the TBRA Program while they are awaiting a regular Section 8 voucher from the Housing Authority. To receive this preference you must be a participant in the TBRA Program.
Homeless - A family or individual is qualified for this preference if they fit the current federal definition of homelessness. Based on that a homeless person is defined as follows:
- An individual who lacks a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence; and
An individual who has a nighttime residence that is:
- A. A supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations (including welfare hotels, congregate shelters and transitional housing); or
- B. An institution that provides a temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized; or
- C. A public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.
If selected from the waiting list for a voucher briefing, instructions will be provided for obtaining the certification necessary to verify that the family fits the homeless definition.
Imminent Danger of Homelessness - The family must be at the risk of becoming homeless and must meet all of the following conditions:
- Served with a court ordered eviction notice
- Have no subsequent housing options
- Lack financial resources and a support network
- Faced a sudden and significant loss of income
If selected from the waiting list for a voucher briefing, instructions will be provided for obtaining the certification necessary to verify that the family fits the definition of imminent homelessness.
Elderly – This preference is defined the head of household being at least 62 years of age or older. At the time of voucher processing one’s birth certificate is considered to be verification of age.
Chester County Residency – This preference is for those who are legal residents of Chester County. To verify that the applicant is a resident the Housing Authority will require a minimum of two (2) of the following documents: rent receipts, leases, utility bills, employer records, social service agency records, school records, drivers licenses or state issued identification cards, voter registration or any other documents that are deemed acceptable to the Housing Authority as proof of name and address.
Families with Children Under 18 Years Old – This preference is available for families with dependent children under 18 years old. Birth dates will be verified as part of voucher processing.
Victims of Domestic Violence – Pursuant to the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), this preference is available for individuals who have been victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence or stalking. Those claiming this preference must be able to provide documentation from federal, state or local police authorities, court records or certification from an agency that provides assistance to victims of such violence.
Veteran – A family whose head of household is an honorable or general discharged veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces. Proof of this is through the Defense Department issued Form DD-214 or certification from a federal state or local agency that will attest to the veteran status.
Working – This preference is for households where the head of household or spouse has been employed in their current job for at least one year. Proof of this is provided through records furnished by your employer.