July 14, 2020

Program Designed to Increase Housing Choice for Low-Income Renters on Federal Assistance

ROCHESTER, N.Y., July 14, 2020 – The Rochester Housing Authority (RHA) announces the introduction of a landlord incentive program that runs until October 1, 2020. The program encourages participation in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program, the federal government’s primary program for assisting low-income families, the elderly and persons with disabilities to afford quality, safe housing in the private market. Housing choice vouchers are administered locally to participants by public housing agencies (PHAs), like RHA, that receive federal funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to administer the program. The tenant, landlord and PHA all have obligations and responsibilities under the HCV program and to work effectively, it requires active and willing participation from all parties.


More than 9,000 families are currently in RHA’s HCV program, with 300-600 participants actively looking for a unit to rent. Although housing discrimination is now illegal, the additional requirements for landlords to accept an HCV participant, including inspection requirements and additional paperwork, can be a deterrent to accepting applications. 


“Our community’s housing crisis has been exacerbated by COVID-19 in recent months, making it even more difficult for struggling families to find quality, safe and affordable units,” said Shawn Burr, Rochester Housing Authority Deputy Executive Director. “We hope that by reducing some financial and process barriers for area property owners, we can encourage greater participation in critical low-income rental programs that will increase options for program participants and ultimately help create long-term stability for those with the greatest need of support.”


The program will have $515,000 in available incentives and is financed by federal funding secured by New York Senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, who previously announced funding for RHA as part of a total of $9 million allocated to New York State in the CARES Act to support Tenant-Based Rental Assistance, which funds the HCV Program.


Landlord Incentives include:

  • Security Deposit Initiative: Rochester Housing Authority will pay the security deposit for Housing Choice Voucher participants impacted by COVID-19, to the landlord, for up to the cost of one full month of rent.
  • Leasing Up Bonus: Rochester Housing Authority will offer a bonus to landlords when they lease a new unit to a Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) participant. New landlords will be eligible to receive a one-time $1,000 bonus payment per unit and existing landlords will be eligible to receive a one-time $500 bonus payment per new unit leased, with a limit of five qualifying units per landlord.
  • Rehabilitation Cost Recovery Plan: Rochester Housing Authority will reimburse landlords for up to $1,000 for vendor services used to conduct repairs or improvements to a Section 8 housing unit.
  • Lead Clearance or Testing Costs: Rochester Housing Authority will reimburse a landlord up to $500 per unit, in which, an RHA HQS Move-in inspection requires Lead Clearance or testing. A passed Lead Clearance test is required along with lease-up of an HCV participant.


For more information on the landlord incentive program and to learn how to become a Rochester Housing Authority landlord, please www.rochesterhousing.org/landlord-incentive-program.


Rochester Housing Authority also previously announced additional COVID-19-related supports for residents and participants enrolled in public housing or rental assistance programs, whose income had been affected by the pandemic, including applying to have rent payments temporarily reduced by up to 100%.



About Rochester Housing Authority

Established in 1955 as an independent public corporation by New York State Public Housing Law, the Rochester Housing Authority (RHA) serves more than 26,000 lower-income families, seniors and disabled residents and program participants in the five-county Greater Rochester area. Approximately 20% of those reside in the 2,400+ RHA public housing units, while others served receive assistance in the form of voucher or certificate programs that help them afford eligible, private housing.


Rochester Housing Authority does not discriminate based on race, color, national origin, sex, religion, family status or disability in leasing, rental, occupancy, use or other disposition of housing or related facilities.


# # #