Program Eligibility and Applicant Selection Policy

The Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act (QHWRA) permanently repealed federal preferences and allows PHAs to implement local preferences. The JCHA's Strategic Goal 2000, specifically for the Rental Assistance Program and Good Neighbor Policy, is to ensure that housing assistance preferences and related support is given to senior citizens and families who are working toward self-sufficiency through employment, training, and/or education initiatives and to maximize serving the greatest number of eligible and responsible families and senior citizens with available housing assistance.

To forward this objective, the JCHA has designed a system of Local Preferences that provide priority to eligible senior citizens and families who are engaged in self-sufficiency training, or who have achieved actual employment, or have been displaced by HOPE VI related activities, and which ensures that the rental assistance provided promotes broader economic diversity and is consistent with the local housing needs as identified in the City's Consolidated Plan as follows:


  1. Families displaced by HOPE VI related activities
  2. Families displaced by other JCHA or City Redevelopment activities
  3. Witness Victims of criminal and drug related activity and domestic violence residing in JCHA public or affordable housing programs and graduates from HUD approved Transitional Housing Programs.


After selecting applicants for these highest three local preferences, the remaining Vouchers are issued as follows:

  1. Working Family Preference (75%)
    1. Working families who have a housing need
    2. Other working families
  2. Family Preference (25%)
    1. Families who have a housing need
    2. Other families


Within these Local Preferences, applicants will be selected as follows:

  1. Jersey City Residents
  2. Veterans
  3. Single elderly and/or persons with disabilities


The JCHA waiting list exceeds 3,000 applicants. The annual turnover rate is approximately 200 Certificate and Vouchers (due in large part to the deaths of elderly participants, terminations of assistance because of lease violations and participants being absorbed by other Housing Authorities); the approximately waiting time to receive a Voucher (without one of the highest local preference) is 7-18 years. Because of this lengthy wait time, the JCHA closed its Section 8 Program waiting list in October '95 and no new applications are being accepted (an exception is made for applicants who are displaced by JCHA and City Redevelopment activities and graduates of Transitional Housing Programs and for set-aside Programs, i.e. Mainstream, Family Unification Program and Mod Rehab SRO that are targeted to specific populations).


The JCHA has reduced the waiting list from over 10,000 applicants to the current 3,000 due to aggressive lease-up efforts. In order to achieve maximum lease-up, the JCHA must perform numerous hours of administrative work per applicant. The Section 8 staff completes a thorough case management process with each applicant that includes written correspondence, telephone conversations and face-to-face interviews. All applicants are screened and subject to background checks. In order to accommodate the schedules of working families, the Leasing Specialists have also offered applicants the opportunity to attend briefings and obtain their vouchers on Saturdays. Each case requires administrative and staff expenses, however, the Section 8 Program only receives funding from HUD for the applicants that are successful in their lease-up.


Due to the number of applicants needed to fill the remaining vouchers according to the local preferences, the JCHA estimates re-opening the waiting list during 2001. Details are being discussed to evaluate the proper procedures to be taken to ensure compliance with the Administrative Plan and the Local Preferences, the procedures to be implemented to make the applications available and the possibility of a third party to collect the review the applications for initial placement on the waiting list.


Last year, placement in the Section 8 General Program included applicants with the following local preferences:


  • Working Family with a housing need     49%
  • Working Family without a housing need     7%
  • Displaced by HOPE VI activities     3%
  • Witness victims or graduates of Transitional Housing Program         2%
  • Displaced by other JCHA or City of Jersey City     1%
  • Families with housing need     2%

Placement in Special Programs include:

  • Mainstream Program     15%
  • Portability     11%
  • Family Unification Program     10%


Income Targeting Requirement

The Applicant Selection Policy, adopted in the Administrative Plan approved in January 2000 and revised in January 2001 as part of the Annual Plan, implemented income targeting requirements and local preferences options as set forth in the 1998 Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act. Specifically, 75% of the Section 8 Vouchers which become available in any given year must be reserved for applicants whose incomes do not exceed 30% of the area median income; the balance of Vouchers which become available may be granted to applicants whose incomes may be up to 50% of the area median income.

The following are the current income eligibility limits based on 30% and 50% of median income:
Effective 2018.


Family Size                           Income 0-30%                      Income 31-50%

1 Person                               $19,800                                 $32,950

2 Persons                             $22,600                                 $37,650

3 Persons                             $25,450                                 $42,350

4 Persons                             $28,250                                 $47,050

5 Persons                             $30,550                                 $50,850

6 Persons                             $33,740                                 $54,600

7 Persons                             $38,060                                 $58,350

8 Persons                             $42,380                                 $62,150 

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