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Special Voucher & Disability Programs - Part 2

Families and Individuals in the Child Welfare Program
Families that have been broken up due to a variety of reasons may find special vouchers designed to bring the family back together. The Family Unification Program (FUP) offers vouchers allowing children who have been removed from their families to reunite in a safe and affordable home environment. The program also helps youth who have been involved in child welfare programs to find adequate shelter after they have reached a certain age, and when or if they are currently facing homelessness.

The FUP program serves two core groups:

Families who lack adequate homes and are at risk of having children removed from the home as a result, or for whom the return of a child from out-of-home care has been delayed due to the inadequate shelter

Youth between the ages of 18 to 24 who left foster care at age 16, and who are currently homeless or at risk of homelessness

There are no limitations for families under FUP. However, limitations do exist for the youth. Individuals who are 18-24 years old and receiving assistance are limited to 36 months (3 years) of support.

Beyond the specific requirements listed above, the FUP program is similar to the regular Housing Choice programs such as Section 8. Participants will still need to meet HCV income requirements. Incomes must not exceed 50% of the surrounding county or metropolitan area, with families or individuals making 30% receiving three-quarters of all assistance.

Not all PHAs award FUP vouchers. To determine whether you can apply, contact your local PHA.

Current Public Housing Recipients
Current public housing recipients may have the opportunity to purchase the home they live in through a voucher, using it as a means of payment toward the home. Recipients may also be able to buy a home currently owned by the PHA that is for sale as well. The Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act allows authorities to make public houses available for purchase by low-income individuals.

There are significant limitations and requirements governing the purchase of a home using an HCV voucher.

Applicant Requirements
All potential applicants must meet the following requirements:

Cannot earn an income above 80% of the Area Median Family Income

The total cost of paying for the home (including mortgage costs, insurance, real estate taxes, utilities, and regular maintenance) must not exceed 35% of applicant's income

The individual and their family must make this their primary residence

A down payment of no less than 1% must be made to the PHA

Local PHAs may also make additional requirements not listed here. The full rules for eligibility can be set by the PHA so that different buyers will have different experiences, depending on location.

Individuals using this program can use their vouchers as part of the down payment for the home. However, not all PHAs offer this program. Check with your local PHA to see if any homes are available and if you may qualify.

Tenant Protection Vouchers
Current voucher recipients may also benefit from the Tenant Protection Voucher (TPV) program, which helps renters stay in their homes even if the homeowner or property owner increases the cost of the rent. The purpose of this program is to help people avoid losing their apartments or houses due to rising rental prices.

Under this program are also Enhanced Vouchers, which more specifically target rising rental prices within a rental unit.

HUD identifies several challenges potential recipients may face, including:

Rents may increase significantly

If a tenant who is receiving the voucher moves, others living in the residence will not receive the voucher

The unit may not pass quality inspection, and may not qualify to receive a voucher

In general, TPVs are given to the owner of the property and not to the individuals renting, however. Moving to a new residence may mean you do not receive increased assistance.

Vouchers are not easy to get, and you should not assume that this form of assistance will be available. If you fall into one of these categories, though, it is worth pursuing the possibility, as they can provide significant assistance to those who qualify.