HUD Tips for Parents and Guardians of People with Disabilities| Part 2
Disclaimer: I am NOT an expert on HUD. I am sharing my personal experience to the best of my ability. Please check with your local HUD.gov office.
Parents and Guardians of People with Autism and other Developmental Disabilities often feel helpless, surrounded in myths.
We are told we have no choice in our lives: we should just “live with” our conditions; and even worse, we should be thankful for the services we have—no matter how awful.
HUD Myth #1: HUD rent vouchers CAN be transferred to another county.
For many years I was told we would not be able to transfer the HUD voucher for Aaron, our son with the label of autism.
Now, maybe some regulation just changed, or maybe the truth was buried in the millions of words on the most complicated website I know (HUD.gov) but until recently this was the common myth everyone used. NOT TRUE.
Aaron is the “head of household” and his “housing choice voucher” (HCV) is “portable.” This means Aaron could move to another county– and even another state if they have a HUD program. The giving and receiving counties have to agree on some things, but it can work.
This is amazing news for us:
1. It means Aaron will be able to live close to his family.
2. And after his parents die, Aaron will be able to live close to his brother Tommy, who will become his guardian. Tommy is a radio frequency engineer and gets transferred around the country.
3. It means Aaron can move to a place which offers him better program options.
This week I met with a HUD counselor and had the best experience. She was knowledgeable, friendly and cared. She took a personal interest in helping us. I can’t say enough good things about her. She is our blessing of the week.
The request for a transfer is quite simple. I sent this email and then met with the counselor to sign the official forms the following day.
Request to PORT
June 30, 2011
I , (name) at (address) am giving my 30 day notice to move my HUD voucher to (name) County.
• As I understand it, the deadline to file for the transfer is the first of each month. This was a little tricky because I learned of this at 4:55 pm on June 30th. So, I had to make a decision in the 5 minutes before the office closed for the month. If I would have filed on July 3rd, the 30 days would have started on July 31. So we would have lost a month.
• If you are the guardian, you will need to provide proof with your official guardianship paperwork.
• The next working day (after the holiday) I met with the counselor from the “sending” county to sign the official paperwork.
• The counselor then faxed the paperwork to the new “receiving” county and gave notice to the owner of Aaron’s house. This was a shock to the residential company and the owner contacted me before I could even catch my breath. Which was an unpleasant experience I knew would come eventually, but I didn’t expect it that day.
• Aaron’s housemate will no longer have the rent subsidy, but he can apply to HUD. The county has an emergency “bridge” rent fund until he gets one, so he will be okay.
• I am to contact the new county and make an appointment with the HUD counselor.
• If this was a normal HUD family rental situation, the new counselor would hand me a list of available HUD houses or apartments to rent, and then I would begin a selection process with potential landlords.
• Because we are part of “Disability World” we have another whole set of issues (next article).
Timelines: The sand is shifting in the hourglass
Aaron’s rent will stop on his current residence on July 31. If we still don’t have a new place for him to live, then we can petition HUD to get another 30 days extension but will need a letter from his landlord saying that is okay.
If we can’t find anything by August 1st we can ask for up to a 60 day extension from the local housing authority in the new county.
If we do not use the voucher by 120 days, then it is GONE—Poof! And we would need to apply again, if and when they open the window on new applications.
Change is possible, but not easy
So, the die is cast. The decision is made to move. And while there is relief, there is hope for a better life…I’m trying hard not dwell on my fears. I know this is a step in the right direction, but geez… I do keep getting the image of Dorothy from Wizard of Oz, looking into the hourglass with panic in her eyes.
Next article, I’ll talk about how Disability World complicates “just find a place to rent.”
Please share your thoughts. Do you have any tips for housing for people with disabilities? Have you ever just taken the leap of faith that all will work out? Am I nuts? Should I just have sucked it all up and stayed where we were? Do you ever experience a “counselor” in a government agency who is so helpful, you just want to give them a hug?
Keep Climbing: Onward and Upward,
All my best,