Changes to the Housing Opportunity Program
Tacoma Housing Authority is making changes to the Housing Opportunity Program (HOP). The changes will also impact households on the Children’s Housing Opportunity Program (CHOP), and College Housing Assistance Program (CHAP). Fortunately, these changes will benefit most, if not all HOP households.
The changes are as follows:
- HOP and CHOP no longer have time limits. Some households on HOP had a 5-year time limit, these time limits have been removed. This means your housing assistance does not have an end date.
- The time limit for CHAP has been removed effective November 9, 2022. Read more about the changes to CHAP.
- Your subsidy will become income based. You will pay approximately 30% of your income toward your rent. This will benefit most households.
- HOP, CHOP, and CHAP will use the same rent calculation and program rules as the Housing Choice Voucher program (HCV).
When will these changes happen?
- No time limits: This change is effective as of May 1, 2022.
- Income based subsidy: THA is implementing the change in phases. You will be subject to the new rent calculation and program rules at a future qualifying event:
Households that submit a request to move or relocate will complete a recertification, be briefed on the HCV program rules, and receive an income-based subsidy when they move.
- Annual Recertification
Beginning with households whose annual recertification is scheduled for October 1, 2022, remaining HOP households will complete a recertification, be briefed on the HCV program rules, and receive an income-based subsidy at the effective date of their recertification.
To process the new calculation, you will need to submit documentation of your income. You will receive a notice from THA as your annual recertification date nears. This notice will explain everything you will need to complete the rent recalculation.
All households will undergo a new briefing (orientation) to learn about the new program rules. You can access the briefing online:
If you have any questions, please contact:
Old versus New Rent Calculation and Program Rules
|OLD HOP |
Rent Calculation & Program Rules
|NEW HOP |
Rent Calculation & Program Rules
|How is the family’s share of rent calculated?||THA pays 50% of the payment standard. The household pays the remaining housing costs.||The household pays ~30% of income on rent. THA pays the remaining housing costs. If rent is more than the payment standard, the household pays the difference.|
|How do you determine voucher size?||2 people per bedroom.||2 people per bedroom.|
|What if household size changes?||The voucher size is only adjusted if the household gets smaller.||The voucher size adjusts if the household gets smaller or bigger.|
|How long can a household receive assistance?||5-year limit for work-able households.||No time limit for HOP and CHOP households.|
|How often do households complete a recertification?||Every year.||Senior/disabled: every 3 years|
Work-able: every 2 years
|How do households report income?||When first applying for assistance, households submit documentation of income. After that, for recertifications, they self-report their income.||When first applying for assistance and for recertifications households must submit income documentation (paystubs, SSI, etc.).|
|What happens if a household has a loss of income and cannot afford rent?||The subsidy amount does not change.||If the household has a sustained loss of income of more than 20%, they request an interim certification to have their rent payment re-calculated.|
|What if a household has an increase in income?||The subsidy amount does not change.||The subsidy amount will not change until the household’s next recertification.|
|How does THA determine when a household no longer needs assistance?||At recertification, if the household’s income is at or above 80% area median income, they are removed from the program in 90 days.||At recertification, if the household’s share of rent is above the full rent amount, THA stops paying. At the end of the six-month period, the household is removed from the program. If the household’s income decreases during the six-month period, they can request an interim certification to reinstate assistance.|
Frequently Asked Questions
When will my rent be recalculated and when will the new rules apply to me?
Households will move to the new rent calculation in phases. The changes will apply once a household completes their annual recertifications. If a household moves, they will complete a recertification and be subject to the new rent calculation and program rules at that time.
Will my portion of the rent increase or decrease with this change?
We are unable to tell you exactly how much your portion of the rent will change until we complete a full recertification. At that time, THA will use your most current income documentation to determine how much rent you are expected to pay. However, we estimate most HOP households will experience a reduction in their share of the rent. In most cases you will pay approximately 30% of your income toward rent.
What if my rent increases due to these changes?
A small portion of households will experience an increase in their portion of rent. However, households that experience an increase in rent will still be paying affordable amounts. The income-based rent calculation works to ensure households are not paying more than they can afford on rent.
If you do experience an increase in your share of the rent, you will have a three-month grace period before the new rent amount takes effect.
If I have little to no income does that mean I won’t have to pay rent?
No. Households must pay a minimum rent amount. This amount varies depending on the household size, income, and whether the household is work-able or senior/disabled.
Aside from changes to my rent payment, what else do I need to prepare for?
Unlike annual recertifications on HOP, you will now need to provide up-to-date income documentation for every recertification. However, these recertifications will take place every other year or every three years. Any time your income changes you need to report the change immediately.
You can also request “interim certifications” once you receive income-based assistance. An interim certification allows you to complete a recertification before your scheduled recertification. This is useful if you experience a loss in income and want to ensure your portion of the rent remains affordable.
I was planning to move. Can I retain my assistance if I move out of my property/unit?
Yes. When people move, they will receive the income-based rent calculation.
Will these changes allow me to stay where I’m currently living?
Yes. People that remain in their current unit/property will stay on the HOP/CHOP/CHAP program but will experience the same program benefits and rules as households on the Housing Choice Voucher program (HCV).
If I have already reached my time limit, do these changes apply to me?
Yes, current THA households that have reached their time limit will continue to receive assistance. The only exception is participants in CHAP. However, THA is not enforcing time limits at this time.
I am a landlord whose tenant is on HOP. Do I need to do anything?
No. THA’s HOPP contract allows us to change THA’s housing assistance payment without the need to issue a new contract. Households will remain on HOP/CHOP/CHAP until they move, relocate, or exit the program.