ST. PETERSBURG, FL (October 13, 2022) - Today, the St. Petersburg Housing Authority (SPHA) Board of Commissioners voted to approve revisions to the agency's Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program Administrative Plan, creating a new path to homeownership for voucher holders. SPHA also recently received an award of 15 Stability Vouchers from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), as part of the most expansive allocation of flexible new rental assistance from the federal government in 20 years. Together, these changes to SPHA's HCV program, commonly known as Section 8, are increasing housing options and stability for low-income families throughout the St. Petersburg region.
SPHA Board Chairperson James Dates said, "As good stewards of this agency, it's important to our board that we utilize our programs to their fullest extent, providing housing and self-sufficiency opportunities for as many families as possible. The revisions to the HCV Program Administrative Plan, which include updating the eligibility criteria for our homeownership program, and the addition of the new Stability Vouchers from HUD do just that."
SPHA's new HCV Homeownership program allows families who are assisted through the HCV program and meet eligibility requirements to use their vouchers to buy a home and receive monthly assistance in meeting homeownership expenses. SPHA will immediately start enrolling participants in its homeownership program, with the goal of families actively utilizing the program by the year's end.
SPHA's President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Lundy said, "Our homeownership program takes a voucher that typically subsidizes rent and makes it so that same voucher can instead subsidize a mortgage. It's a great concept, and I believe it's underutilized in this country. We're excited to introduce it to our community, where we are working to break cycles of poverty and to provide our clients with more opportunities to create housing stability."
To qualify, the family must have a housing voucher issued by SPHA (for at least one year), meet specific income and employment requirements (the employment requirement does not apply to elderly and disabled families), be a first-time homeowner, and abide by any other applicable program guidelines. Once program eligibility is determined by SPHA staff, the family must then attend and satisfactorily complete the pre-assistance homeownership and housing counseling program required by SPHA.
When the counseling program is complete, the family will be ready to seek financing for the purchase of their first home from the lender of their choice. SPHA is also working in partnership with local banks, realtors, lenders, and mortgage brokers to help ensure that program applicants can successfully move from rental housing to homeownership.
In addition to the new HCV homeownership program, SPHA now has more flexibility and resources to help house families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, utilizing the 15 new Stability Vouchers from HUD.
Lundy said, "The Stability Vouchers serve as a lifeline to families, getting them off of the streets and into safe, sustainable housing. As their name suggests, these vouchers help people escape a crisis situation to find stability and support, and we are proud to offer them that helping hand up."
Applicants for the Stability Vouchers will be directly referred through the Coordinated Entry process, utilized by the Continuum of Care (CoC). Along with CoC-funded supportive services by SPHA partners, families receiving these vouchers will be provided with resources and services that will help them to obtain and maintain housing.
The 15 Stability Vouchers equal an additional $202,218.00 in funding for SPHA and increase the agency's total number of housing vouchers to 3,829. The federally funded HCV program is the largest housing program for both HUD nationally and SPHA locally.
SPHA received a "High Performer" rating for its HCV program from HUD after its most recent annual assessment.
SPHA is the leading provider of affordable housing in the St. Petersburg region. For more information about SPHA's HCV program, visit www.stpeteha.org
or call 727-323-3171.
ABOUT THE ST. PETERSBURG HOUSING AUTHORITY (SPHA):
An independent quasi-governmental entity and a political subdivision of the State of Florida, operating under Chapter 421 Florida Statutes, SPHA is the local administrative agency for housing assistance programs funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). SPHA offers a variety of programs and services that provide affordable rental housing to low-income families, seniors, veterans, and the disabled in the greater St. Petersburg region. For more information, visit www.stpeteha.org