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Frequently Asked Questions 

Q: My neighbor, friend, cousin received a letter about their application, but I did not receive a letter. Why?

A: Did your address change from the time you submitted the pre-application? If your Rank Number was selected during the Lottery selection and your address listed on the pre-application is correct, you will receive a letter in the mail.

Q: What is my number on the Waiting List? 

A: The number is listed in the letter mailed from Columbia Housing to all of the applicants.

Q: How do I apply? 

A: Columbia Housing will re-open the waiting list to accept applications when most people on the current waiting list have been served. When the list is about to be opened, a notice will be placed in local newspapers and on this website. The waiting list is currently closed.

Q: How does the application process work? 

A: Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) is a Federal Program administered nationally by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Individuals or households in need of rental assistance must first place their name on the Columbia Housing HCV Waiting List. When your family has been selected from the list, you will receive a letter requesting information/documentation that must be provided to determine your eligibility for the Housing Choice Voucher Program.

Q: Will I need to produce any documentation?  

A: Yes, the Public Housing Authority (PHA) Representative will request whatever documentation is needed (e.g., birth certification, social security number, income source) to verify the information given on your application. The PHA will also rely on direct verification from your employer, etc. You will be asked to sign a form to authorize release of pertinent information to the PHA.

Q: Can I move and continue receiving Housing Choice Voucher assistance?

A: A family's housing needs change over time with the changes in family size, job locations, and for other reasons. The Housing Voucher Program is designed to allow families to move without the loss of housing assistance. Moves are permissible as long as the family notifies the Public Housing Authority ahead of time, terminates its existing lease within the lease provisions and finds acceptable alternate housing. The family must live within the PHA jurisdiction for the first 12 (twelve) months of assistance before moving to another Housing Authority's jurisdiction.

Q: How is income verified?

A: All income, benefits, and allowances must be verified with documentation. The Housing staff must obtain written verification from third party sources and document tenant files. In addition, the HA uses HUD's Enterprise Income Verification (EIV). EIV is a web-based computer system that contains employment and income information of individuals who participant in HUD Rental Assistance Programs. If unreported income is found, this can result in termination of assistance. The family will be required to repay Columbia Housing for any overpaid assistance.

Q: Can I pay the extra rent to make up the amount the landlord wants for the unit? 

A: No. Columbia Housing determines the tenant's portion of the rent. The owner may not, under any circumstances, charge or accept additional payments from the family for their share of the rent that has not been approved by Columbia Housing.

Q: Does the Housing Authority assist with Security Deposit funds? 

A: No. The tenant is responsible for paying all of the security deposit.

Q: Can I lose my rental assistance? 

A: There are a number of ways families can lose their rental assistance. Here is a partial list of typical reasons that are usually sufficient to cause Columbia Housing to stop rental assistance to a family:

  1. Not complying with the terms of the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) family obligations.
  2. If any member has been evicted from Public Housing.
  3. Any member commits fraud, bribery or any other criminal act in connection with any federal housing program.
  4. Vacating the housing unit without proper notice.
  5. Allowing unauthorized persons to live in the housing unit.
  6. Failing to report or under reporting changes in income or provide information required by Columbia Housing for recertification of the family's continued eligibility for rental assistance.
  7. Owing money to any Public Housing Authority.
  8. Any family member residing in the unit that is involved in drug-related activities.
  9. Serious or repeated lease violations.

Q: What is considered drug-related or violent criminal activity? 

A: Drug-related crime and violent crime are problems everywhere across the country. Be sure that you and members of your family residing in your unit are not involved. Federal regulations provide for termination of assistance to those who participate in these activities. The regulations also state that a person does not have to be arrested or convicted in order for their assistance to terminate.