Map of Georgia Housing Authorities Administering Housing Choice Voucher Program
Authored By: Georgia Department of Community Affairs
Rental Assistance-Section 8
The Rental Assistance Housing Program is part of Georgia's comprehensive housing program administered by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA). This program is funded under the Section 8 U.S. Housing and Urban Development guidelines and applies strictly to rental housing for low income persons. It is an entirely separate program from the Single and Multi-Family Housing Programs, which are also administered by the Department of Community Affairs.
What is the Rental Assistance Program?
The Rental Assistance Program is a tenant-based assistance program that assists extremely low and very low income individuals and families rent safe, decent, and sanitary dwelling units in the private rental market. The program was created by the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 and is funded by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). It is known as the Section 8 Program, and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs administers the Section 8 Housing Choice component of the program.
The goals of the Section 8 Housing Choice Program are to:
provide improved living conditions for low income persons while maintaining their rent payments at an affordable level
promote freedom of housing choice and integrate lower income and minority persons into mainstream society;
provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing for eligible participants; and
provide an incentive to private property owners to rent to lower income persons by offering timely subsidy assistance payments.
The Department of Community Affairs provides the subsidy payment directly to the landlord on behalf of the program participant. The amount of the subsidy is based primarily upon the participant's income. This program is administered by DCA in 149 of Georgia's 159 counties by five regional offices located around the State. The remaining 10 counties are served by their local housing authority.
How is the Section 8 Housing Choice Program funded?
The Section 8 Program is funded totally by federal funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. No State appropriations are used in the administration of this program. Currently, the Program serves over 15,000 Georgia families and processes over 8,000 rental assistance checks per month. Through the participation of tenants and landlords over $77 million dollars in federal funds are added to Georgia's economy each year.
The implementation process for the Section 8 Program operates by providing direct subsidy rent payments to qualified landlords for tenants participating in the Program. Program participants normally pay approximately 30 percent of the family's adjusted income as their portion of the rental payment. The landlord's subsidy is provided monthly by the Department of Community Affairs and normally consists of the difference between the gross rent, which includes an allowance for tenant paid utilities, and 30 percent of the tenant's adjusted income.
Who is eligible?
Georgia residents whose income does not exceed 50 percent of the area median income for the family size are eligible to participate in the Section 8 Rental Assistance Program. Each rental unit housing the participants must meet Housing Quality Standards (HQS) as determined by HUD. These units cannot rent for more than DCA's Market Comparability Surveys.
How do eligible candidates apply for the program?
DCA announces the opening and closing of the waiting list by publishing a Public Notice in the legal section of the classifieds in the newspaper that serves the county that will be opened. To check if a waiting list is open for a county, each interested person should contact the Regional Office for the county that you wish to apply. (NOTE: A complete list of the Regional Offices and counties served are below.)
If a waiting list is open for a county, the individual will then receive information about the program guidelines and application procedures. An application will be mailed to the individual (family) and when returned to our office, the applicant will be placed on the waiting list for available housing.
After an applicant is placed on the waiting list, DCA reviews the client's application, family composition and income, and determines program eligibility. Once an applicant is selected from the waiting list and determined eligible for the program, the family is issued a Housing Voucher. This authorizes the family to search for suitable housing, which must be inspected and approved by DCA. Finally, an assisted lease, between the tenant and landlord, and a Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) Contract, between the landlord and DCA, must be executed to finalize the assisted rental procedure.
Where are the Rental Assistance offices located?
The five regional Rental Assistance Offices in Georgia are located in the cities of Albany, Athens, Carrollton, Eastman, and Waycross. The addresses and telephone numbers of the Regional Offices are listed below. (PLEASE NOTE THAT THE 800 NUMBERS ARE RESTRICTED IN THE LOCAL CALLING AREA.)
Albany Regional Office
323 Pine Avenue, Suite 202
Albany, GA 31701-2587
Eastman Regional Office
100 Pearl Bates Lane
Eastman, GA 31023-4069
Athens Regional Office
485 Newton Bridge Road, Suite 2
Athens, GA 30607-1169
Waycross Regional Office
960-A City Boulevard
Waycross, GA 31501-4239
Carrollton Regional Office
185 Parkwood Circle
Carrollton, GA 30117-0609
Georgia Department of Community Affairs
60 Executive Park South, N.E.
Atlanta, GA. 30329-2231