What is HOME Tenant Based Rental Assistance?
Although HOME is primarily a bricks-and-mortar program that funds the development of affordable housing as a lasting community resource, Congress recognizes that in many communities the stock of decent rental housing supply may be adequate, but has rents beyond the financial reach of low income families. For this reason the HOME statute authorizes participating jurisdictions (PJ) to use program funds for tenant-based rental assistance, but places some conditions on this short-term strategy to ensure that it is thoughtfully and appropriately employed.
Before undertaking tenant-based rental assistance, a PJ must show that such assistance is included in its Consolidated Plan and specify the market conditions that justify its use. In addition, the PJ must develop written tenant selection policies and criteria that reflect HOME's income-targeting requirements. PJs may administer their own rental assistance program, or they may decide to delegate this responsibility to another qualified organization, such as the Sioux City Housing Authority (which already operates the local Section 8 rental assistance program). In addition, the PJ must ensure that:
- Rental assistance contracts do not exceed 24 months (although they may be renewed)
- Rents are comparable to similar unassisted units.
- Lease requirements are fair to the tenant.
- The rental subsidy does not exceed the difference between an established standard rent (adjusted for unit size) and 30%-40% of the family's monthly adjusted income. The PJ can base this standard rent on local market conditions - or on the Fair Market Rent (FMR) set by HUD for tenant-based Section 8 assistance in its area, in which case the standard rent must fall between 80% of the applicable FMR and a HUD-approved exception rent (which may be up to 120% of the FMR).
- Each tenant contributes a minimum amount toward rent.
- Units meet Section 8 Housing Quality Standards
Is HOME Tenant Based Assistance different from the Housing Choice Voucher Program?
Yes and No. The Housing Authority has written an Administrative Plan for Administering the program that parallels the Housing Choice Voucher Program. However, the HOME regulations still apply and the funding source is from the HOME Program. Records pertaining to the HOME Program will be retained for five years in accordance with the current regulations.
When the SCHA has tenant based rental assistance funding available, they offer TBRA to applicants on the Section 8 HCV waiting list.