Housing Programs & Services

Section 8: Changes under COVID-19

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Summary

The Section 8 Voucher and Project-Based program provide federal housing subsidies to low-income tenants where rent is typically 30% of household income.

In NYC, there are three agencies that administer the Section 8 program:

  • NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD)
  • NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA)
  • NYS Division of Homes and Community Renewal (HCR)

In accordance with the city and state’s State of Emergency, DOF and HPD have made administrative changes to their policies and procedures.

In accordance with the city and state’s State of Emergency, HPD, NYCHA, and HCR have made administrative changes to their policies and procedures.

If you are a Benefits Plus subscriber, for additional information on Section 8 vouchers, refer to Benefits Plus, Housing Programs and Services, Section 8 Voucher Program. For information on Project Based Section 8, refer to Benefits Plus, Housing Programs and Services, Project Based Section 8. For subscription information visit: https://bplc.cssny.org/home/subscription_options.

NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD)

HPD has made the following administrative changes to their policies and procedures:

  • The HPD Client Services Center at 100 Gold Street in Manhattan is closed for in person interactions effective Monday, March 16th until further notice.
    • To reach HPD Section 8, individuals can call 917-286-4300 and leave a message for the unit they are trying to reach. HPD Staff will return the call.
  • HPD will be suspending any subsidy termination actions until further notice.
  • All hearings for appeals are cancelled until further notice, and HPD will continue to pay the subsidy until a final determination is made.
  • All scheduled tenant conferences and briefings will be postponed and rescheduled at a later date.
  • Section 8 vouchers set to expire will automatically renew. Households with an active voucher will automatically receive additional time to search for housing.
  • Housing Quality Standard (HQS) inspections have resumed, but there may be scheduling delays.
  • Participants experiencing a rent hardship due to a decrease in income can fill out a Reporting Income Decrease Form (Spanish) and email it to DTRAI@hpd.nyc.gov or fax it to 212-863-5299.
  • For more details go to https://www1.nyc.gov/site/hpd/services-and-information/covid-19-updates.page.
Note

Section 8 recipients are also covered under the state and federal eviction moratoriums. For more information, see above, Eviction Moratoriums.

NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA)

ADMINISTRATIVE CHANGES

NYCHA has made the following administrative changes to their policies and procedures:

  • While NYCHA’s Customer Contact Walk-in Centers in Brooklyn and the Bronx are closed, participants can use the Self-Service Portal at https://selfserve.nycha.info/ or call NYCHA’s Customer Contact Center at 718-707-7771, Monday – Friday, 8:00am-5:30pm.
  • NYCHA is suspending all termination actions while the City is under a state of emergency including termination actions related to annual recertification, inspection, and fraud.
    • NYCHA Section 8 participants are still required to comply with all program requirements, including annual recertifications.
  • Applicant eligibility interviews and informal conferences will be conducted over the phone.
  • Voucher holders with voucher expiration dates between January 1, 2021-February 28, 2021 were issued 120-day voucher extensions. Voucher holders with previous 120-day voucher extensions that were set to expire by February 28, 2021 were issued an additional 60-day voucher extension.
    • Voucher holders who need to request additional voucher extension should call NYCHA’s CCC at 718-707-7771.
  • Rental packages will be accepted via email at s8.rtu@nycha.nyc.gov .
  • Households experiencing a loss of income should report the decrease by:
    • Completing an Interim Recertification via NYCHA’s Self-Service Portal (at https://selfserve.nycha.info), or
      • For step by step instructions on how to complete an Interim Recertification on the Self-Service Portal, click here.
    • Contacting NYCHA’s CCC at 718-707-7771
  • In-person Housing Quality Standards (HQS) inspections are suspended until further notice.
    • NYCHA is accepting an owner’s certification for initial inspections (new rentals, transfers, and restorations) and for new rentals that failed the initial inspections with non-life-threatening conditions.
    • For additional information on HQS inspections, click here.

For more details on these changes, go to:

Note

Section 8 recipients are also covered under the state and federal eviction moratoriums. For more information, see above, Eviction Moratoriums.

NYCHA MODIFICATIONS TO CERTAIN PROCEDURES

  • Annual and interim recertifications are still being processed.
    • However, NYCHA will accept self-certification of income in the absence of pay stubs and/or employer letters.
    • There are no rent freezes. Rents are still subject to an increase after an annual or interim recertification when the tenant’s share of the rent increases.
      • However, the increase to tenant rent share will be processed with a later effective date.
  • For Section 8 participants without Internet access who need to mail in documents, visit https://nychajournal.nyc/section-8-program-update-01-15-21 for NYCHA Section 8 addresses.
  • While transfers are still being processed, there will be a delay in receiving transfer vouchers in the mail.
    • Recipients can periodically check the Self-Service Portal, where they will be able to print vouchers, if possible.
    • NYCHA issued 120-day voucher extensions to participants with transfer vouchers that had expiration dates between January 1, 2021-February 28, 2021. Additional 60-day extensions were issued to participants whose previous 120-day voucher extensions expired by February 28, 2021.
    • Voucher holders who need to request additional extensions should call NYCHA’s CCC at 718-707-7771.
    • are issued.

NYS Division of Homes and Community Renewal (HCR)

HCR has made the following administrative changes to their policies and procedures:

  • The HCR Client Services Center at 25 Beaver Street in Manhattan is closed until further notice for in person interactions.
    • All appointments will be conducted by telephone or email.
    • Recipients can call their case manager or the general phone number at (212) 480-6672. Calls will be returned as soon as possible.
  • While the NYC HCR office has not explicitly indicated the information below, NYS HCR offers the following guidance to all HCR’s Section 8 local administrators, which includes the NYC HCR Office:
    • Temporarily suspending all terminations of voucher subsidies until further notice.
    • Until further notice, households with an active voucher should automatically receive an extension of a minimum of 60 days to continue searching for housing.
    • Interim recertifications should be accessible and timely for households who have experienced a loss of income.
    • As of July 2020, all hearings have resumed.
    • For more information, click here.
  • Housing Quality Standard inspections are taking place for households that are new to the program or relocating, and in response to immediate health and safety complaints.
  • For more details, visit: https://hcr.ny.gov/hcr-program-notices-covid-19.
Note

Section 8 recipients are also covered under the state and federal eviction moratoriums. For more information, see above, Eviction Moratoriums.

How COVID-19 Cash Aid Impacts Section 8

ECONOMIC IMPACT PAYMENT

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act economic impact payments (under the most recent payment up to $1,240 per individual, $500 per qualifying child) are excluded from income calculations.

For information on the economic impact payments, refer to COVID-19 Resources, Cash Benefits, Coronavirus Economic Impact Payment.

PANDEMIC UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION (PUC)

The $300 per week in PUC are excluded from income calculations.

For information on PUC, refer to COVID-19 Resources, Expansion of Unemployment Insurance, Pandemic Unemployment Compensation.