Who is the Rockford Housing Authority?

Founded in 1951 by the Rockford City Council, Rockford Housing Authority was the first concerted effort in Rockford to provide affordable housing to lower income Americans; many of which were veterans who had served in World War Two and the Korean War. Rockford Housing Authority is locally based and serves the city and county residents.

A PHA, public housing agency, receives its funding for Public Housing and the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The PHA is not a federal department or agency. A public housing agency (PHA) is a governmental or public body, created and authorized by state law to develop and operate housing and housing programs for low-income families. The PHA enters into an Annual Contributions Contract with HUD to administer the program requirements on behalf of HUD. The PHA must ensure compliance with federal laws, regulations and notices and must establish policy and procedures to clarify federal requirements and to ensure consistency in program operation.

The Rockford Housing Authority has an Admissions and Continued Occupancy Plan (ACOP) for public housing operations and an Administrative Plan for its Housing Choice Voucher Program also known as Section 8. These documents explain the policies through which the agency administers both programs. Both plans have been approved by the Board of Commissioners.

To learn more about the Administrative Plan please click HERE. (http://rockfordha.org/resident-options/housing-choice-voucher-sec-8/administrative-plan/)

To learn more about the ACOP please click HERE

(http://rockfordha.org/resident-options/admissions-and-continued-occupancy-policy/)

What is a PHA Mission?

The purpose of a mission statement is to communicate the purpose of the agency to people inside and outside of the agency. The mission statement is in the RHA Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan provides guiding direction for developing strategy, defining critical success factors, searching out key opportunities, making resource allocation choices, satisfying clients and stakeholders, and making decisions. To learn more about the current Strategic Plan please click HERE. (http://rockfordha.org/about/#plan1)

What does the term “affordable housing mean”?

In the United States, the term affordable housing is used to describe housing, rental or owner-occupied, that is affordable no matter what one’s income is. The U.S. government regards housing costs at or below 30% of one’s income to be affordable. Please see income index for more in Winnebago County HERE. (http://rockfordha.org/resident-options/rha-rental-properties/application-info/)

What does the term “subsidized housing” mean?

Though it is often used to describe housing that is assisted by the government, subsidized housing is used when describing housing that has rental assistance; regardless of source.

What is Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC)

The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) is the primary federal program to encourage the production of affordable rental housing for low-income households. Allocated by the federal government but administered by state housing authorities, it subsidizes the acquisition, construction, and/or rehabilitation of rental property by private developers. Project owners must comply with the set-aside requirements and rent restrictions for 30 years.

What is a property that is built with Low Income Housing Tax Credits, What is LIHTC?

Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) is a Federal housing program that provides tax incentives to owners of affordable housing. The program does not provide direct assistance to renters and is strictly used to finance the construction (not the operation) of rental properties. Usually, LIHTC properties have units available for families earning 60% or less of the Area Median Income (AMI). LIHTC rental properties are usually of very high quality. LIHTC is America’s most successful affordable housing program. Since its inception in the late 1980’s this affordable housing model has proven to be extremely successful, having created millions of affordable rental units in the U.S.

What is Area Median Income (AMI)?

Federal housing programs qualify recipients based on their income. Since every market area has varying living costs and income levels, the government determines an Area Median Income (AMI) for each housing market including Winnebago County. For example, the area median income for Madison Wisconsin in 2014 is $56,600 while the median income in Dallas, Texas is $67,900. Please see income index for more in Winnebago County HERE. (http://www.illinois-demographics.com/winnebago-county-demographics)
The Madison AMI is HERE: (http://www.cityofmadison.com/cdbg/docs/income_limits.htm)

How do I know if a person’s income qualifies me for a given affordable apartment?

There are of different housing programs that an individual might qualify for. Generally, if an individual earns less than 60% of the median income they may qualify for LIHTC apartments, which makes up the largest part of rental apartments available. There are other affordable housing, rental subsidies, for residents earning 30% of AMI (or lower) within our community; these most commonly include public housing and Section 8. In all affordable housing platforms, tenants only pay 30% of their income for rent.

What is Section 8?

Section 8 has turned into a misunderstood program. It is a good program that helps good people. Section 8 is a HUD program that helps renters with their rent by paying for any rent costs that exceed 30% of the renter’s income. For example, if a renter earns $2,000 per month, but their rent costs is $1,150 per month, Section 8 helps by paying $550 of that rent since 30% of the renters income is $600. This rental subsidy is very limited and the waitlist it is currently closed. There are waiting lists across the country for the program. To find out more, please follow this link.

What is the difference between Section 8 and Affordable Housing?

Section 8 housing provides monetary rental assistance to the private landlord – the difference between market rate and the 30% of the tenants’ income. Rent at traditional Affordable Housing communities varies depending upon the income level target for each apartment and provides affordability to a wide range of residents. In these developments, rents are lowered to meet the income levels of the residents. To find out more, please click HERE.
(http://rockfordha.org/resident-options/housing-choice-voucher-sec-8/)

How long will it take to be approved for an apartment?

The standard time for application approval varies based on available vacancies and residents’ position on the property waitlists. Rockford Housing Authority processes credit, criminal reports and also checks past rental history and references.

What can a Senior citizen or a disabled person have for affordable housing?

Seniors and disabled residents represent a large portion of those who traditionally pay 50% or more of their income on housing expenses. One of the more telling pieces is that two thirds of renter growth was among households 45-64. This suggests that many homeowners are now renters and given the stage in their lives, may not be able to purchase again. As older disabled renters increase, multi-unit buildings with elevators will fit the needs of this group. Jane Addams Noble Village was designed and created for those folks who are part of the population in the Rockford community. The Rockford Housing Authority provides assistance through a variety of programs established by Congress and funded through the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Rockford Housing Authority has made a commitment to develop housing for persons with special needs. Under the low-income public housing programs, three developments were developed to accommodate persons with disabilities. Under a mixed-income platform, RHA recently completed Jane’s Nobel Village that includes 38 units of disabled supportive housing.

The development is located on the grounds of Rockford Female Seminary (now Rockford University) in which Nobel Peace Prize winner Jane Addams was a graduate.  The main building anchors the roundabout at College and Seminary bringing stability and complimentary design to the Morgan Street Bridge.  This building, which includes community space and 22 residential units, was designed to give the appearance of store fronts and the large windows provide natural light to the gathering spaces within.  The interior space includes a large community room with serving kitchen, a computer lab, an exercise room, and the Anderson Library, named after longtime Director and housing advocate, Steve Anderson. This building also has three private offices offering space for social service agencies and other partners providing service to our residents.

The remaining 16 units are located in duplex and four-plex buildings along College Avenue and South 3rd Street.  These buildings are designed to look like large Victorian homes in the neighborhood.  With attention to detail and high quality construction, the Jane Addams Park Apartments has set the bar for all future developments and  has helped restore the neighborhood providing a sense of belonging and pride in the community to the residents who live there.

Public Housing provides assistance for low-income families, the elderly and people with disabilities. In Rockford, this program includes a variety of housing opportunities, including multi-family developments, high-rise towers and scattered site homes. The Rockford Housing Authority’s low-income public housing program includes four family developments that consist of one-to-six bedroom apartments totaling 669 units. Also included are four high-rise towers, which house elderly residents and residents with disabilities. These apartments house approximately 1,000 families. Please see Senior housing that is available at several RHA owned properties.

How can I apply for employment with The Rockford Housing Authority?

To learn about employment opportunities, please contact The Workplace at (815) 961-0500 and ask to speak with Michael King for Rockford Housing Authority postings.

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