West Valley Housing Authority

Information for Applicants
and Tenants

How the Section 8 Program Works

The very first step would be to submit your application for Section 8 assistance. Application forms can be found using this link. The waiting period is approximately one year, but is subject to change without notice.

Once your name is pulled off the waiting list, you will be processed through the eligibility process including verifying all household income as well as other eligibility criteria. In the event you are determined eligible, you would then be scheduled to attend the Section 8 briefing, where you will receive your rent assistance voucher and learn how to use it. All new participants are required to attend the Section 8 briefing. The purpose of the briefing is to provide you with all the information you need to be a successful Section 8 participant. At the briefing, you will receive your voucher.

Using Your Voucher

Your voucher is an agreement between you and West Valley Housing Authority. When you sign your voucher, you are agreeing to abide by the Statement of Family Obligations. In exchange, West Valley Housing Authority will assist you with your rent, provided that you find an approved place within the Voucher time limit.

Generally, your voucher is valid throughout our jurisdiction in Polk County, including the cities of Dallas, Independence, Monmouth, Falls City, Willamina (Polk side), Sheridan (Polk side) and Grand Ronde. After you have fulfilled your initial 12-month lease in your assisted unit, you may be able to transfer your voucher to anywhere in the United States, providing you are in good standing with our agency.

You must find a rental unit and submit new contract paperwork before your voucher expires. If you do not, the voucher will be issued to someone else from the waiting list, and you will be required to re-apply for assistance. You may be eligible for an extension, but it must be requested in writing and granted before the original expiration date.

If you or the new unit landlord do not agree on tenancy, or the selected unit does not pass Home Quality Standards inspection, you may search for another unit with the remaining time on your Voucher.

Finding a Home

You may choose to use your voucher in your present unit. This is called "leasing in place." You may also search public listings for available apartments that participate in the Section 8 Program. Remember that you will be signing a 12-month lease with the owner. Make sure that the unit is in good condition and that you will be able to afford your portion of the rent.

Consider the neighborhood. Talk to the neighbors. Is it safe? What schools will your children be going to? Check out nearby shopping and access to public transportation.

If you select a unit built before 1978, it may contain lead-based paint. Read the brochure enclosed with the Section 8 briefing packet and follow the steps listed on the back to protect your family from lead.

Applying for an Apartment

Most landlords will require you to complete an application. Be sure you are prepared to complete the form by having the names, addresses, and phone numbers of your references with you. Some landlords will charge you a fee with the application to cover the expense of having your references checked.

The landlord may check with West Valley Housing Authority to verify your current and prior addresses and landlords. We are required to provide this information along with information about complaints or notices.

The landlord may charge you a deposit. The Section 8 program does not pay the deposit or limit the amount a landlord can charge.

Most landlords have established standards for accepting or denying an applicant. Standards may include things such as a minimum number of past landlord references, sufficient income to pay rent, good credit history, no felony convictions, no prior evictions, etc. If you believe that you have been denied housing for a reason other than a reasonable standard, you may be a victim of unlawful housing discrimination. The Section 8 briefing packet contains information about Fair Housing laws and a copy of HUD's Housing Discrimination Complaint form. For more information about Equal Housing Opportunity issues and links to download the complaint form in English or Spanish, check with our office.

Completing the Approval Process

Once you have found a unit that you think you may want to rent with your Voucher, collect as much information on the unit as possible: type of unit, location, rent, kinds of utilities you will be responsible for paying, when the unit was built, etc. Complete the Affordability Worksheet, stapled to the outside of your Briefing Packet, so that we can provide you with an ESTIMATE of whether this unit might be favorable for you to rent with your Voucher. Remember that this is only an ESTIMATE, and we cannot give a final OK until signed paperwork is provided and the unit is inspected.

Once you and the landlord have agreed to enter into a lease, you will have to complete the Request for Approval of Tenancy form as well as the other paperwork in your Briefing Packet. Turn in your completed forms to the Dallas office at 204 SW Walnut Avenue.

The completed paperwork will be evaluated for rent reasonableness and scheduled for an inspection within approximately fifteen (15) days. If the unit needs repairs, information will be provided. Assistance cannot begin until the unit passes inspection. We caution you not to move into the unit until the unit passes inspection.

After the unit passes the inspection, and you take possession of the unit, we will complete the paperwork, date the leases, and enter the information into our computer system. We will then mail copies of your lease and other documents to you.

Following the Rules

The Statement of Family Obligations and the voucher contain the list of the rules, obligations, and requirements you must follow to avoid losing your housing assistance. A copy of our Administrative Plan (local agency rules) can also be found on this website.

Some examples of reasons that could cause you to lose your housing assistance include: failing to pay the tenant portion of the rent; engaging in drug-related or violent criminal activity; failing to report, in writing, any changes in household size; failing to report any income for any adult in the household; failing to abide by the terms of the lease; causing serious damage to the unit, etc. You may lose your voucher if you are evicted. If you are evicted or receive an eviction or termination notice, you must provide us with a copy of the notice.

If we receive information that you have violated your obligations, we may decide to terminate your participation. If this happens you will be mailed a Notice of Termination stating the reason(s) for the decision. You may then request an informal hearing regarding that decision. Requests for informal hearings must be in writing.

Frequently-Asked Questions

Am I eligible to apply?

One of the eligible criteria for eligibility is that your household must be income eligible. Click on the following link for the Housing Choice Voucher Income Limits.

Who is my Caseworker/inspector?

Your Caseworker/inspector also acts as the inspector of your unit:

Casey Sparks

Families in Dallas,
Mobility families

503-623-8387, X319

Maria Mendoza
(Bilingual)

Families in Independence,
Monmouth, Grand Ronde,
Willamina, Falls City,
Sheridan, Amity

503-623-8387, X321

 

Families on the Family
Self-Sufficiency
Program, VIDA families

503-623-8387, X322

What are my Section 8 Responsibilities?

Your Section 8 responsibilities, are also known as family obligations. As well, a copy of our local Administrative Plan can be downloaded from this website. 

What if my family or income changes?

All changes in household composition and income must be reported to our office. We will make a determination as to whether you will be required to complete a written Recertification Packet.

You must obtain prior approval from both your landlord and our office before adding someone to your household (this includes a spouse). A criminal background check is a requirement for all adults. To formally report mid-year changes to your household composition and/or income, simply complete our Recertification Packet and submit verifications of what has changed.

I need more information on adding someone. Can you help?

If you wish to add a person or persons to your household, you first need to contact your Caseworker/inspector.

The family must obtain approval of any additional family member before the new member occupies the unit except for additions by birth, adoption, or court awarded custody. These types of changes should still be reported. Such additions will not result in a change of voucher size if the family size still conforms to the maximum occupancy guidelines for that unit. The voucher size will be reevaluated at your next annual recertification. 

The Housing Authority will conduct determinations of eligibility for all additions to the household prior to giving approval. Some reasons for denial might be a recent criminal history, owing money for a previous claim, a history of alcohol or drug abuse which resulted in disruption of the peaceful enjoyment of the neighborhood at a previous address, or your landlord not approving the person you wish to add. If the addition to household is denied, the Housing Authority will notify you of ineligibility, in writing, stating the reason for denial.

Will my unit pass inspection? 

The unit selected to be subsidized under the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program must meet minimal Housing Quality Standards (HQS) as well as additional standards set by the our agency Administrative Plan. You can read about many of the basic requirements of inspection standards in the Housing Quality Standards Inspection Brochure.

What if I have a problem or concern about my unit? 

You should first communicate your concerns about your unit with your landlord (put repair requests in writing). If your concerns have not been resolved, then you should contact your caseworker/inspector. 

What if I want to move?

IF IT HAS BEEN LESS THAN ONE (1) YEAR SINCE YOU MOVED, YOU MAY NOT BE ELIGIBLE TO MOVE AT THIS TIME. DO NOT MOVE UNTIL YOU HAVE SPOKEN TO YOUR CASEWORKER/INSPECTOR AND HAVE BEEN APPROVED TO MOVE. ADDITIONAL GENERAL INFORMATION ON MOVES CAN BE FOUND BELOW.

Aside from our obligation to your family, the Housing Authority also has an obligation to your current landlord. If, after reading all of the above warnings, you feel that you might be eligible to move, contact your caseworker/inspector who will verify your eligibility to move and provide you with more details. Some of the details are listed below: 

  1. Read through and complete the Request to Move Form.

  2. PRIOR TO MAKING A MOVE, you will need to be re-certified including a review of your family composition, income, assets, etc. You must contact your caseworker/inspector before making any move.

  3. Give a proper, written 30 day notice or negotiate a Mutual Termination to your landlord. Keep a copy for yourself and provide a copy for your caseworker/inspector.

  4. The new unit MUST pass the HOUSING QUALITY STANDARDS (HQS) inspection before assistance can begin. Your assistance, in your new unit, shall not begin until after your assistance in your old unit ends.

  5. Depending on when you were last required to attend a Voucher Briefing, you may be required to attend a Briefing prior to being given a Move Voucher. Your caseworker/inspector will tell you whether or not you will need to attend a Briefing.

  6. REMEMBER: Assistance for the new unit may begin once the new unit passes inspection and the Housing Authority’s obligation to your current (previous) landlord is satisfied (assistance in your old unit ends).

  7. WE WILL NOT BEGIN PAYMENTS FOR THE NEW UNIT UNTIL ASSISTANCE PAYMENTS END IN YOUR CURRENT (PREVIOUS) UNIT.

  8. Current unit payments will be made through the date of the 30 day notice or Mutual Termination. You may be eligible (if the steps above are complete) for assistance in the new unit the day following your 30 day notice or Mutual Termination. If you decide not to move, written notice, signed by the landlord, must be provided before the move out effective date to resume rental assistance in your current unit.

  9. If you move without giving proper written notice to their landlord and the Housing Authority, your participation in the Housing Choice Voucher Program may be terminated.

  10. YOU MUST LEAVE YOUR PREVIOUS UNIT IN GOOD REPAIR AND PAY ANY UNPAID RENT AND UTILITIES. YOUR HOUSING ASSISTANCE CAN BE TERMINATED IF YOU LEAVE YOUR UNIT DAMAGED, DIRTY, ETC.

 What if I don't want housing assistance anymore?

You can discontinue your housing assistance simply by notifying us, in writing, of your desire to surrender your Voucher. If you decide to leave the Housing Choice Voucher Program, and leave in good standing, you can always re-apply for assistance and get
back onto the Waiting List.

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