The United States Housing Act of 1937 (the “Act”) is responsible for the birth of federal housing program initiatives. The Act was intended to provide financial assistance to states and cities for public works projects, slum clearance and the development of affordable housing developments for low-income residents.
The Housing and Community Development (HCD) Act of 1974 created a new federally assisted housing program – the Section 8 Existing program (also known as the Section 8 Certificate program). The HCD Act represented a significant shift in federal housing strategy from locally owned public housing to privately owned rental housing.
Under the Certificate program, federal housing assistance payments were made directly to private owners of rental housing, where this housing was made available to lower-income families. Eligible families were able to select housing in the private rental market. Assuming that the housing met certain basic physical standards of quality (“housing quality standards”) and was within certain HUD-established rent limitations (“fair market rents”), the family would be able to receive rental assistance in the housing unit. Family contribution to rent was generally set at 30 percent of the family’s adjusted income, with the remainder of the rent paid by the program.
Another unique feature of the Certificate program was that the rental assistance remained with the eligible family, if the family chose to move to another privately-owned rental unit that met program requirements (in contrast to the public housing program where the rental assistance remains with the unit, should the family decide to move). Consequently, the Certificate program was characterized as tenant-based assistance, rather than unit-based assistance.
In response to the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, the City of Oswego sought funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to assist low income families in their jurisdiction. During the August 26, 1975 meeting the City of Oswego Common Council established the City of Oswego as a public housing agency. The Common Council passed a resolution which created the Community Housing Assistance and Development Agency, hereafter referred to as CHADA. The Mayor was designated as the Chairman, the Chairman of Assessments, Zoning and Planning Committee was Vice Chairman, the City Clerk and City Chamberlain were non-voting ex-officio members serving as Secretary and Treasurer of CHADA.
On November 26, 1975 the former Mayor of the City of Oswego, Walter Lazaro, was informed that the City of Oswego’s August 26, 1975 application for existing housing through theDepartment of Housing and Urban Development was approved. The initial Annual Contributions Contract (ACC) had a budget authority of $43,188 to assist 20 families.
The first Administrative Plan was enacted on October 22, 1976. At that time The Mayor’sOffice was the headquarters for the Oswego Public Housing Agency. The Executive Assistant to the Mayor served as the supervising executive of the program and oversaw all required program functions. The Building Safety Inspector completed the unit inspections, the Oswego Housing Authority assisted on tenant certifications, the City Attorney provided legal counsel and a part time accountant/bookkeeper completed record keeping services and made payments on behalf of the program. The City’s Community Development Consultant assisted the Executive Assistant in the preparation of materials for the PHA and with guidance in addressing operational problems.
On January 1, 1977 Mayor John Fitzgibbons executed the first Annual Contributions Contract (ACC). The term of the first ACC was for five years.
The Housing and Community Development (HCD) Act of 1987 authorized a new version of tenant-based assistance – the Section 8 Voucher program. The Voucher program was very similar to the Certificate program in that eligible families were able to select housing in the private rental market and receive assistance in that housing unit.
However, the Voucher program permitted families more options in housing selection. Rental housing still had to meet the basic housing quality standards, but there was no fair market rent limitation on rent. In addition, family contribution to rent was not set at a limit of 30 percent of adjusted income. Consequently, depending on the actual rental cost of the unit selected, a family might pay more or less than 30 percent of their adjusted income for rent.
From 1987 through 1999, public housing agencies managed both the Certificate and Voucher tenant-based assistance programs, with separate rules and requirements for each. From 1994 through 1998, HUD published a series of new rules, known as “conforming” rules, to more closely combine and align the two similar housing programs, to the extent permitted by the law.
In 1998, the Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act (QHWRA) – also known as the Public Housing Reform Act – was signed into law. QHWRA eliminated all statutory differences between the Certificate and Voucher tenant-based programs and required that the two programs be merged into a single tenant-based assistance program, now known as the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program.
The HCV program was modeled closely on the pre-merger Voucher program.However, unlike the pre-merger Voucher program, the HCV program requires an assisted family to pay at least 30 percent of adjusted income for rent.
The transition of assistance from the Certificate and Voucher programs to the new HCV program began in October 1999. By October 2001, all families receiving tenant-based assistance were converted to the current HCV program.