APPLICANTS - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
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Do you have emergency housing assistance?
No. ACHA does not have any emergency housing in either its public housing or HCV programs.

What does it mean that your HCVP waiting list is closed?
The ACHA Housing Choice Voucher Program is still operating. However, applications for new vouchers are not being accepted at this time due to the large number of families on the current waiting list for assistance. When it opens, announcements will appear in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Pittsburgh Courier as well as on our website.

I'm a victim of domestic violence. Does this give me waiting list priority?
Yes if you are currently on the waiting list. ACHA has preferences that will move a family to the top of the waiting list. The Allegheny County Housing Authority, according to our local needs and preferences, will select families based on the following preferences:

Category 1 Preferences: (1) Applicants for whom a law enforcement agency is seeking housing as an accommodation for its witness protection or confidential informant programs; and (2) victims of domestic violence. Preferences in this Category have equal priority.

Category 2 Preference: Residents of the Allegheny County Housing Authority public housing program asked to move due to the modernization of his or her unit or community regardless of whether the waiting list is open or closed.

Category 3 Preference: Successful graduates of the Allegheny County Housing Authority public housing Family Self-Sufficiency Program.

Category 4 Preference: Veterans with an honorable discharge.

Category 5 Preference: Family Unification - Applicants for whom the lack of adequate housing is a primary factor in: a) the removal of children to the household; or, b) the return of children to the household. Verification of such instances must be verified by Children, Youth and Families (CYF) and/or the court system. There will be a limit of twenty-five preferences accepted within a calendar year regardless of whether the waiting list is open or closed. Once the twenty five preferences during the calendar year have been awarded, no more applications will be accepted. New applications will begin to be accepted at the start of the next calendar year.

Preferences listed in Category 1 have priority over preferences listed in Category 2 and will therefore be offered housing before those listed in Category 2, and the same is true for the other Categories. The date and time of application will be noted on each application and will be utilized to determine the sequence that each individual with a preference is offered housing within the categories.

If an applicant qualifies for multiple categories, the highest one will control.

A preference does not guarantee admission. The applicant must still meet the Allegheny County Housing Authority's eligibility and screening criteria.

Victims of Domestic Violence:
In order to qualify for the victim of domestic violence preference, a final Protection from Abuse Order must be provided by the applicant to the Allegheny County Housing Authority. The final Protection from Abuse Order must have been issued within 60 days of the date that it is provided to the Allegheny County Housing Authority. However, the Allegheny County Housing Authority may make exceptions to this rule on a case by case basis.
An applicant who lives in a violent neighborhood or is fearful of other violence outside the household does not qualify for the preference of victim of domestic violence.
The applicant must certify that the abuser will not reside with the applicant unless the Housing Authority gives prior written approval.

How do I change my address with the ACHA?
You must tell the ACHA in person or in writing of any change in your address. To submit a change of address in person, fill out a change of address form at our Central Office.

Allegheny County Housing Authority
625 Stanwix Street, 12th Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Otherwise, write a brief letter that includes your name, social security number, previous address and new address. Fax this letter to 412-642-2392 or mail it to the ACHA at the address above. Please note. changing your address with the United States Postal Service does not change your address with the Allegheny County Housing Authority. You must update us separately.

How do I cancel my application?
You may cancel your application at any time by writing to the ACHA at the address listed above. When cancelling your application, please include your name and social security number.

I'm at the top of the waiting list - what now?
You will be sent a letter stating you will need to attend an eligibility appointment. At this appointment, you will need to provide a copy of social security cards for every person who will reside with you along with a birth certificate for each member of the household. In addition, please provide a copy of all income sources within the household. The ACHA will verify all information as well as conduct a criminal background check. We will also check the Debts Owed module in the HUD Enterprise Income Verification system to ensure you do not owe money to another Housing Authority. If you have been determined eligible, you will be invited into a briefing where you will receive your voucher.

What if someone in my family does not have a social security number/card?
It is required that all members of your household have a social security number/card. If you cannot locate your card, a print out from the social security office documenting your social security number is acceptable.

What if someone in my family does not have a photo ID?
It is required that photo IDs are submitted for everyone in your household over the age of 18. There are no exceptions.

What if someone in my family does not have a birth certificate?
It is required that either birth certificates, a valid driver's license or an identification card issued by a government agency be submitted for each household member.

May I add or remove others from my application/voucher?
You may request to add or remove family members from your application/voucher.. However, any request to add a person to your voucher must be approved by the Allegheny County Housing Authority. All adult members of the household will be screened for a criminal background and any debts owed to another Housing Authority. Any member of household wishing to be removed must prove that they will not be living in the subsidized unit.

May I rent from a relative?
The owner/landlord may not be the parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, sister, brother or spouse of any member of the assisted family. Renting from a family member may be approved as a reasonable accommodation for a family member who is a person with disabilities. If approved, both the voucher holder and owner/landlord will be notified in writing.

Can the ACHA deny assistance?
Yes. If you do not qualify based on income, or you have a negative criminal background, or you have an unpaid debt to ACHA or another housing authority you will be issued a determination of ineligibility. You may request a hearing if you do not agree with the information that determined you ineligible.

Can I ask for a voucher extension?
All vouchers are issued for 60 days. A voucher extension of two 30 day extensions may be issued. Any voucher over 120 days will be expired unless there is an approved reasonable accommodation for any family member with disabilities. Any person awarded additional time on the voucher over 120 days will be notified in writing.

My voucher expired - now what?
If your voucher has expired, you are eligible to reapply to the waiting list if the waiting list is open. If the waiting list is closed, you will not be able to reapply until such time that the list re-opens.

If I'm issued a Housing Choice Voucher, may I use it outside Allegheny County?
If you provided an Allegheny County address on your original application (not including the city of Pittsburgh or McKeesport), once you've been issued the voucher, you may take it to another housing authority anywhere in the country who has a HCV program. This is "porting out".

If you did not provide an address within ACHA jurisdiction on your original application, you must live within the ACHA jurisdiction at least a year before you are permitted to use elsewhere.

Your Housing Counselor will be able to advise you if you are permitted to port out at the time of voucher issuance if you are unsure.

Do you have a listing of Section 8 landlords you can send me?
The ACHA uses PAHousingSearch.com website to list landlords who accept vouchers. You may access the listing by going to the above website, or calling them at 1-877-428-8844.

I found a unit. What happens now?
You will give your voucher and Request for Tenancy Approval (RFTA) to your prospective landlord. He/she will complete and return to the Housing Authority. The rent will be reviewed to ensure it is reasonable and affordable. If the landlord has returned proof of paid local taxes with the RFTA, it will be scheduled for an inspection; usually within 14 business days. Your landlord will notify you if the unit passes or fails the inspection. It is very important that you keep close contact with your prospective landlord during the process.

When should I pay my security deposit?
Many landlords will ask for the security deposit when you wish to rent their unit. This is not unusual. However, It is recommended that you receive the return policy in writing should you or the landlord decide not to rent the unit.

My unit passed - when can I get my keys?
You may begin your lease with your landlord the day the unit passes inspection. The Allegheny County Housing Authority begins contracts on the 1st and the 15th of each month. If your unit passes inspection on the 2nd of the month, the contract (and your lease) will begin on the 15th of that month.

My unit hasn't passed inspection, but my landlord said I can move in.
Please be aware ACHA will not pay subsidy on your behalf to the landlord until your unit passes inspection and it is under contract. If you move in before this time period, the ACHA will not pay any portion of your rent and your landlord may be able to charge you the full amount of rent.

What is a reasonable accommodation. Can I get one?
Sometimes people with disabilities may need a reasonable accommodation in order to take full advantage of the Allegheny County Housing Authority housing programs and related services.

A reasonable accommodation is a change, adaption, or modification to the ACHA's rules, policies, practices or services which are necessary to provide a qualified individual with a handicap or disability an equal opportunity to participate fully in services, programs or activities provided by the ACHA.

Your request should be made to your Housing Counselor. Requests can also be made at any time to the Allegheny County Housing Authority's Program Accessibility Administrator, Kate Gilboy. A request may be made either orally or in writing. A request can also be made on behalf of the individual by a family member or other agent.

What if I have an individual need?
Please tell us if you need assistance of any kind to access our services. If you need an interpreter or a translator, tell us, and we will provide one for you.

I have a specific question that isn't answered here. Where do I get the answer?
If your question isn't answered in this list, please email your question(s) to. Section8faq@achsng.com. You will receive an answer via email.

Is this how I find out if my fax or paperwork has been received?
Yes. Due to the large volume of paperwork our office receives, it is not practical to answer via telephone.

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