Housing

RIHA offers two types of housing to qualified households including conventional Public Housing and housing under the Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCV), formally known as the Section 8 program. Families participating in RIHA housing programs pay no more than 30 percent of their income toward rent and utilities. RIHA residents and program participants are male, female, married, single, and divorced — in other words, come from all sorts of backgrounds. Most families living in or seeking RIHA housing opportunities have at least one family member that works in some capacity and many work full-time. Others attend school or participate in job-training programs. RIHA is an independent, not-for-profit agency that receives most of its funding through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Local Preferences

Local Preferences have been established by RIHA for selecting applicants from the waiting list. For example, RIHA may give preferences to an individual or family who is:

  1. a victim of domestic violence;
  2. a veteran of the United States Armed Forces;
  3. working a minimum of twenty hours per week; or
  4. lives within RIHA’s service jurisdiction.
Individuals and families who qualify for local preferences move ahead of those on the list that do not qualify for any preference. RIHA has the discretion to establish local preferences that reflect the housing needs and priorities of the city of Rock Island.

Public Housing

The U.S. Housing Act of 1937 established the national Public Housing Program to provide decent and safe rental housing for eligible low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. RIHA has provided housing through the Public Housing program to Rock Island citizens since 1940. Eligibility is based on annual gross income and U.S. citizenship or eligible immigration status. Program participation is denied to any applicant whose habits and practices may have a detrimental effect on other tenants or on the project's environment.

RIHA owns and manages three public housing sites. Spencer Towers is a high-rise building while Lincoln Homes is comprised of traditional row houses. 3rd & 11th Townhomes is an affordable housing property consisting of seven 2- and 3- bedroom townhomes. Each of these sites is open and available for general occupancy.

Public Housing Application Requirements

  • Government-issued photo ID for head of household and all household members over the age of 18
  • Birth Certificates for every household member
  • Social Security Cards for every household member
  • If immigrant or refugee, proof of legal status
  • Three months of check stubs (if applicable)

For Leasing Information & Applications

Phone: 309.788.0825 ext 200
RIHA Administrative Offices: 227-21st Street Rock Island, IL 61201
Office Hours: 8:30am to 4:30pm Monday through Friday

Smoking Is Prohibited Within 15 Feet of All RIHA Properties

Housing Choice Voucher Program

The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program is the federal government's major program for assisting very low-income households afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market is the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. Housing assistance is provided on behalf of participants allowing them to find their own housing, including single-family homes, townhouses and/or apartments. Eligibility for the program is based on the family’s total annual gross income and number of family members. The HCV program is limited to US citizens and specified categories of non-citizens who have eligible immigration status. In general, the family's income may not exceed 50 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI).

HCV Application Requirements

  • Government-issued photo ID for head of household and all household members over the age of 18
  • Birth Certificates for every household member
  • Social Security Cards for every household member
  • If immigrant or refugee, proof of legal status
  • Three months of check stubs (if applicable)

For more information, contact RIHA a Section 8 Manager at 309.788.0825 or via email at section8@RIHA4rent.org.

  RIHA Housing Choice Voucher brochure

3-Way Partnership

The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program Partnership works well when each player does his or her part. The players include RIHA, the landlord, and the HCV program participant. Specific responsibilities for each partner are highlighted below.

RIHA

  • Pays landlord guaranteed monthly payment equal to the difference between rent paid by the program participant and the approved rent for the unit
  • Inspects participant units at least once every year
  • Investigates potential fraud or program abuse by participants or landlords
  • Provides quality customer service to HCV landlords and program participants
  • Notifies landlord of any change in subsidy amount

Landlord

  • Performs all management and related rental functions for the assisted unit, including program participant screening and selection
  • Maintains the unit in accordance with Housing Quality Standards (HQS), including unit maintenance
  • Complies with equal opportunity/fair housing requirements
  • Prepares information required under the Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) contract and furnishes the information to RIHA
  • Collects security deposit, program participant portion of the rent, and any charges for damages to the unit above normal wear and tear from tenant
  • Enforces program participant obligations as a tenant under the signed lease agreement
  • Pays for utilities and services agreed upon in the lease
  • May not collect side payments from HCV program participant or charge more rent than approved by RIHA

  Landlord Form

Participant

  • Supplies information determined necessary by RIHA and/or HUD to administer the program, including completion of scheduled income reviews
  • Pays utilities that are not supplied by the landlord in accordance with lease
  • Provides and/or maintains the appliances for which they are responsible in accordance with the lease
  • Accepts responsibility for and corrects damages inflicted to unit by family member or guest, within timeframe specified within lease
  • May not commit serious or repeated violation(s) of the lease
  • Notifies RIHA and their landlord 30 days in advance, prior to moving or terminating the lease

For more information, contact RIHA a Section 8 Manager at 309.788.0825 or via email at section8@RIHA4rent.org.

Landlord Information

Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program participants include people from all races, ages, religions and ethnic backgrounds. They are male, female, married, single, and divorced — in other words, they come from all sorts of backgrounds. Most voucher holders work in some capacity and many work full-time. HCV program participants have the same concerns as other families — security, employment, getting the best possible education for their children and wanting a safe, decent place to live. As a landlord participating in the RIHA HCV program, you will be taking part in one of the nation's fastest growing housing programs.

Landlord Benefits
The HCV program offers many benefits to landlords, including:

  • Landlord choice of the tenant from eligible participating voucher holders
  • Prompt and consistent RIHA payments including a direct deposit option
  • Protection from program participant’s financial hardships
  • Minimal paperwork
  • FREE annual Housing Quality Inspections

How to Participate

  1. List your property with RIHA Section 8 Manager
  2. Interview and screen prospective families from HCV program waiting list
  3. Select a family based on your screening criteria and fair housing law requirements
  4. The unsigned lease along with a request for tenancy approval is submitted to RIHA
  5. Once the lease is approved, RIHA will provide a lease addendum to meet HUD requirements
  6. RIHA will conduct a Housing Quality Standards (HQS) Inspection
  7. After the unit passes the inspection, RIHA will approve the subsidy and compute the Total Tenant Payment (TTP)
  8. The contract, lease, and all related documents are prepared
  9. A lease signing meeting is scheduled and conducted
  10. Program participant pays security deposit to landlord
  11. Program participant moves into the unit
  12. Payments begin

As part of the RIHA routine screening process, all HCV participants undergo criminal background checks. Individuals with drug-related activity and/or violent criminal activity will not be approved for participation in the HCV program.

Landlords have the sole responsibility for the management and maintenance of their rental homes and/or apartments.

Landlord/HCV Participant Relationship
The landlord/HCV participant relationship is governed by local laws – there are no additional laws or regulations governing the relationship between a landlord and the voucher holder. If there are problems with a HCV participant, as with any non-subsidized tenant, the landlord can take any action, up to and including eviction, in accordance with the law and the terms of the lease. The landlord can leave the RIHA HCV program at the end of any lease term.

Housing Quality Standards (HQS) Inspection

The rental unit must meet an acceptable level of health and safety before RIHA can approve payments to the landlord under the HCV program. HUD established HQS require that the rental unit meet the following conditions:

  • Working heating system
  • Shower or bathtub and a working flush toilet
  • Hot and cold running water in bathroom and kitchen
  • Gas and electricity must be on
  • Plumbing must be in good condition
  • No scaling, chipping peeling or loose paint – inside or outside
  • All accessible windows and doors must lock
  • Windows and doors must be in good condition
  • One window must be operable in each bedroom or living area
  • Working smoke detector on each level of the unit
  • Clean and operable stove and refrigerator
  • Exterior and interior walls and ceilings must be in good condition
  • Flooring must not have any tripping hazards
  • Unit must be free of infestations
  • No excessive debris inside, or around the exterior of the apartment or home

For more information, contact RIHA a Section 8 manager at 309.788.0825 or via email at section8@RIHA4rent.org.

  Landlord Form

Participant Information

To be eligible for rental assistance, Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program participants must qualify under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) income limits and other eligibility criteria. Generally, a family interested in participating in the HCV program must apply to RIHA when the waiting list is open, and applications are being accepted. RIHA must give public notice in multiple media outlets, the RIHA Newsletter and website detailing when the waiting list will open and where applications will be taken.

When RIHA issues an eligible individual or family a HCV, they can identify quality housing anywhere in the city of Rock Island with the assurance that they will not have to pay more than 30 percent of their adjusted income toward rent. Housing options typically belong to private owners and landlords and include single-family homes, townhouses and/or apartments.

As an RIHA HCV program participant, you will be taking part in one of the nation's fastest growing housing programs.

For more information, contact RIHA a Section 8 Manager at 309.788.0825 or via email at section8@RIHA4rent.org.

Leasing Steps

Application: During the application process, RIHA will collect information on household income, assets, and family composition. RIHA will verify the information with other agencies, employers, and bank, and will use the information to determine program eligibility and the amount of the housing assistance payment the applicant qualifies for.

Eligibility Determination: Program participant eligibility for a housing voucher is determined by RIHA based on the total annual gross income and family size and is limited to U.S. Citizens. Eligibility also includes special categories of non-citizens who have eligible immigration status. In general, the individual or family's income may not exceed 50 percent of the median income for Rock Island or the metropolitan area in which the tenant chooses to live.

Briefing and Issuance: HCV participants are required to attend pre-scheduled meetings, and complete and sign necessary forms. Failure or refusal to cooperate or provide required information may result in delays, refusal of assistance, and/or termination of assistance.

Housing Search: Under the HCV program, participants can find their own housing including single-family homes, townhouses, and apartments. The landlord must be willing to lease the unit to the voucher holder and the unit must be of appropriate size and rent and must meet a Housing Quality Standards (HQS) inspection. HCV holders are encouraged to consider several housing choices.

Finding a Unit: Unit size is based on family size and composition. An acceptable unit must be located within 60-days of the issuance of the HCV. If a unit is not located, a Grant Extension may be issued to the voucher holder upon written request. If a unit is not located, and an extension is not requested in accordance with the program, the voucher will be lost to the family or individual and their name will be dropped from the waiting list.

Request for Tenancy Approval: When the program participant finds a unit and reaches an agreement with the landlord over the lease terms, RIHA reviews the unsigned lease for approval. Landlords may use their existing lease. The unsigned lease, along with a “Request for Tenancy Approval," is submitted to RIHA. If approved, RIHA will provide a "Lease Addendum" to meet HUD requirements, inspect the unit, and schedule a lease signing meeting.

Housing Quality Standards (HQS) Inspection: The HQS inspection ensures that the unit meets an acceptable level of health and safety standards. The unit must pass HQS before RIHA can approve payments to the landlord under the HCV program.

RIHA Approves Subsidy and Computes Total Tenant Payment: RIHA determines a payment standard that is the amount generally needed to rent a moderately priced apartment or home in the Rock Island housing market. That information is used to calculate the amount of housing assistance the program participant will receive.

Contract, Lease, and Related Documents Prepared: Once RIHA approves an eligible individual's or family's housing unit, the participant and the landlord sign a lease and at the same time, the landlord and RIHA sign a Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) contract that runs the same term as the lease.

Landlord and Tenant Execute Lease/Contract: Once all conditions are met, a lease is signed by both the landlord and the HCV participant. The landlord then receives a guaranteed monthly payment from RIHA equal to the difference between the rent paid by the program participant and the approved rent for the unit.

Payments Begin: The landlord maintains the same responsibility as he/she would with any other tenant including rent collection, unit upkeep and maintenance, collection of damage deposit from program participant, reporting vacancies, and if necessary, evictions.

Recertifications: As part of the HCV program, RIHA is required to conduct an annual review of the HCV participant's income and to re-certify qualified participants.

Income Changes: It is vital that participants report all income and changes in the number of people living within the household. If the participant is not meeting these responsibilities, the individual or family is in jeopardy of losing their voucher and all rental assistance.

For more information, contact RIHA a Section 8 Manager at 309.788.0825 or via email at section8@RIHA4rent.org.

  RIHA Housing Choice Voucher Participant Information brochure

Resident Opportunities & Self-Sufficiency (ROSS) Program

Resident Opportunities & Self-Sufficiency (ROSS) Program is designed to help Public Housing residents attain economic and housing self-sufficiency. The program works to promote the development of local strategies designed to coordinate efforts with public and private resources, to provide supportive services and resident empowerment activities. These services are provided to enable participating families to increase earned income, reduce or eliminate the need for welfare assistance, make progress toward achieving economic independence and housing self-sufficiency or, in the case of elderly or disabled residents, help improve living conditions and enable residents to age in-place. A Service Coordinator ensures that program participants are linked to the supportive services they need to achieve self-sufficiency or remain independent.

The ROSS Program

  • Connects residents with services in the community to promote independence and stability
  • Seeks active partnerships with community organizations to provide services to Public Housing residents
  • Assists families in increasing earned income moving them toward economic and housing self-sufficiency
  • Ensures that elderly and disabled residents have the opportunity to maintain independent living by ageing in-place and/or avoiding placement in a full-care facility to the greatest extent possible

Service Coordinators

ROSS Service Coordinators assess the needs of Public Housing residents and coordinate available resources in the community to meet those needs. Acting as a bridge, they ensure that program participants are linked to the supportive services they need to achieve self-sufficiency or remain independent. They organize educational and wellness events so that residents can receive information regarding services available in the community. While Service Coordinators do not provide direct services, such as acting as a homemaker or providing job training, they do act as a source of general assistance to residents facing crisis situations or lease violations. Coordinators are also bound by a code of ethics that requires all personal information to remain confidential unless the resident signs a consent form to release information. Coordinator activities include:

  • Assisting residents with obtaining needed community-based services and/or public benefits
  • Monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of the supportive services provided to residents individually and collectively
  • Identifying and networking with appropriate community-based service providers
  • Advocating on behalf of residents individually and collectively to ensure their needs are met
  • Assisting residents with establishing and working with Resident Councils, as requested
  • Assisting residents to set up informal support networks
  • Assisting residents with resolving problems with their tenancy
  • Developing and acquiring appropriate health and wellness programs for the housing community
  • Developing after-school youth, job readiness, literacy, volunteer and financial management programs for residents and their families
  • Eliminating barriers to enable frail and at-risk low income elderly, people with disabilities, and families to live with dignity and independence
  • Assessing the needs of elderly residents in Activities of Daily Living and determining their respective service needs

Resident Participation

The ROSS Program is available to all RIHA residents living at Sunset Heights, Spencer Towers, and Lincoln Homes. To participate in the program, residents need only to make an appointment with a Service Coordinator to discuss their specific needs. The Coordinator will then be in the position to link them to the supportive services they need to achieve self-sufficiency or remain independent. Property Managers may also refer residents to the ROSS Program for assistance to maintain housing stability and avoid lease violations and/or eviction.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment with the ROSS Service Coordinator, please call 309.788.0825 ext 209 or 210.

Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program

The RIHA Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program is available to Public Housing residents, and Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program participants.

The voluntary program enables HUD-assisted families to increase their earned income and reduce their dependency on welfare assistance and rental subsidies. The FSS Program Coordinators assist the family in the development of an Individual Training and Services Plan (ITSP) to help assure that program participants are linked to the supportive services within the community that they need to achieve economic self-sufficiency. Some of the services coordinated through the program include: child care, transportation, education, job training, employment counseling, and financial literacy, among others.

FSS Contract of Participation

One of the basic requirements of the FSS program is creation of an FSS Contract of Participation between the head of the FSS family and RIHA. The contract includes the rights and responsibilities of the FSS family and RIHA. The term of the FSS contract can be up to five years; however, participants may successfully graduate in less than five years. The contract may also be extended for up to two more years provided that there is good cause for the extension, such as serious illness or involuntary loss of employment. The FSS contract requires that:

  • The family comply with the lease
  • All FSS household family members are welfare-free for the 12 consecutive months before the FSS contract is completed
  • The head of the FSS family seek and maintain suitable employment

Important Notes

  • Noncompliance with the FSS contract is NOT considered a lease violation and will NOT result in termination of the family’s RIHA lease or Section 8 Voucher.
  • While one of the primary objectives of the FSS program is to reduce the dependency of RIHA families on federal, state, and local housing assistance programs; some families may still need and may continue to receive assistance for housing

Individual Training and Services Plan (ITSP)

In addition to the rights and responsibilities of both RIHA and program participants, the FSS contract incorporates the family’s Individual Training and Services Plan (ITSP). The ITSP allows the FSS Coordinator and the family to measure the family’s progress toward self-sufficiency. It is a customized written plan that consists of a series of intermediate and long-term activities to be completed by the family coupled with a list of the services and resources they may need to access to achieve their goals.

Interest-Bearing Escrow Account

If and when the FSS family’s rent increases as a result of increased earned income, an interest-bearing Escrow Account will be established by RIHA on behalf of the FSS family. Deposits will be made throughout the duration of the family’s participation in the FSS program.

Service Coordinators

FSS Coordinators work with program participants to develop a Contract of Participation and a customized Individual Training and Services plan (ITSP). While Service Coordinators do not provide direct services, they do act as a bridge connecting participants with the services and resources they may need to access to achieve their goals including:

  • Assisting the family in the development of their ITSP
  • Assuring that that FSS program participants are linked to the supportive services they need to achieve the goals outlined in the ITSP
  • Identifying and networking with appropriate community-based service providers
  • Monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of the supportive services provided to residents individually and collectively
  • Assisting residents to set up informal support networks
  • Assisting residents with resolving problems with their tenancy

Coordinators are also bound by a code of ethics that requires all personal information to remain confidential unless the resident signs a consent form to release information.

More Information

To participate in the FSS program, or to schedule an appointment with the FSS Coordinator, please call 309.788.0825 ext 202.

For additional information, please call 309.788.0825 or e-mail Housing@riha4rent.org.