Housing Assistance Payments - Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Housing Choice Voucher Program?
The Housing Choice Voucher (formerly Section 8) housing assistance program is funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). It is designed to help individuals and families living on a limited income afford a private housing unit like an apartment, duplex or house. The program is administered in Brown County by Integrated Community Services, Inc. (ICS) and is available to qualifying Brown County residents who wish to rent or purchase a home. Click this link to learn more about the Homeownership Option.

What do I have to do to apply?
In order to apply, a preliminary application must be filled out.  Preliminary applications are located at our office (address listed below), a number of local non-profit agencies and by clicking on the link below.

Preliminary Application (636 KB)

Solicitud Preliminar - Spanish (2502 KB)

Where is ICS located?
ICS is located at 2605 S Oneida St, Suite 106, Green Bay, WI 54304.

How long will the process take?
Once our office has received your complete application, your household will be placed on the waiting list. Factors such as length of waiting lists, missed appointments, and improper information at appointments will affect the length of the application process. Current estimated wait times based on application preference can be found on the Housing Choice Voucher page, under the "HOW LONG is the wait for Rental Assistance?" section.

What are the income limits?
The yearly gross income limit is dependent on the number of people in your household. Click this link to see the current income limits.

How does the program work?
A Client Services Specialist will determine the rent amount that you will pay. This amount will be determined by such factors as assets, income, deductions, and housing expenses. We are required to verify all of your assets, income and deductions with your banks, employer, child support agency, child care provided, medical expenses, whereever you have assets, income, or eligible deductions. Generally, you pay 30% of your income toward your housing expenses. ICS will pay the difference up to the Voucher Payment Standard for which you are eligible. If you choose to rent a unit where the rent plus an allowance for tenant-paid utilities is greater than the Voucher Payment Standard, you will then also have to pay that extra, as long as your portion of the housing expenses do not exceed 40% of your income. Once your share of the rent has been determined, your unit passes a housing quality inspection, and a one year lease has been signed, ICS will pay the Housing Assistance Payment directly to your landlord each month. You will also pay your portion directly to the landlord.

Can I choose my own housing?
Yes! One of the unique features of the program is that is allows you to choose a new housing unit or remain in your current rental unit.

How do I find housing that accepts the assistance?
ICS can provide a partial list of landlords who already accept rental assistance. Many landlords who own only one or two rental units choose not to be included on this list to avoid calls when they have no openings. If you are interested in a particular unit for rent by a landlord not on this list, we recommend that you inquire with the landlord about the unit, fill out any rental application the landlord may require, allow him or her to screen you just as other tenants would be screened, and then if the unit is offered to you, ask the landlord if he or she is willing to participate in the Housing Choice Voucher Program.  The landlord can call our office for more information or dowload a landlord guide from this website. ICS also occasionally has listings of available units provided by landlords.

Will my current housing unit qualify?
Probably. Some questions need to be answered first before a definite decision can be made:

  1. Does your housing unit qualify according to Housing Quality Standards?
    Your housing unit must be in a decent, safe, and sanitary condition. This guide of A Good Place to Live will help you determine if your unit will qualify or what repairs may be needed. You must have a kitchen and living room, a private enclosed bathroom separate from the bedroom, a shower or tub, hot and cold running water, adequate heat and ventilation, and an adequate number of rooms to accommodate your household. A bedroom requirement exists and is based on the age and sex of the occupants as to how many bedrooms must be in the unit. Generally, the rule is two people per pedroom but there are several exceptions to this rule.
  2. Does the cost of your housing unit, including utilities, fall within the limit set by the Housing Choice Voucher Program? The Voucher Payment Standards are:
    Inside Green Bay City Limits Outside Green Bay City Limits
    0 Bedroom $565 $585
    1 Bedroom $625 $650
    2 Bedrooms $845 $875
    3 Bedrooms $1185 $1225
    4 Bedrooms $1200 $1231
    5 Bedrooms $1375 $1410
    6 Bedrooms $1525 $1600
  3. Is the rent charged for your housing unit reasonable compared to other similar units?

What if I can't pay my rent?
You may want to contact Salvation Army at (920) 593-2364 or St. Vincent De Paul at (920) 435-4040 to check for short term, immediate assistance. If you are already receiving rental assistance and there has been a change in income, please contact Customer Service or your Client Services Specialist for a change form.

What if I move while I am on the waiting list?
If you are already in Brown County and have moved to another Brown County unit, this change has to be reported using a change of address form (can pick up at our front desk) If you applied from another county and have moved to Brown County, a lease or bill (electric, cable, etc.) must be provided as proof of residence.

When will I know if I am accepted?
After your interview and verification of income is received, qualified applicants will be issued a Voucher to confirm participation in the program. After this time, participants will have 60 days to locate a housing unit and submit the required forms. If you are unable to locate a housing unit, you may wish to utilize the services of your Client Services Specialist.  If you still unable to locate a unit, you may submit a written request for an extension on your Voucher. After the maximum two extensions have expired, your case will be closed if you haven't yet secured a housing unit.

When can I expect the assistance to begin?
Generally, the assistance can be made effective for the first of the month after the unit passes the housing inspection. Often times however, the final steps are completed too late in the month for us to send the first payment to the landlord for the beginning of the next month. When this happens, the payment is usually sent at the beginning of the third week of the month. (Be aware however that you are still responsible to pay the landlord the full amount of the rent by the due date. He or she can reimburse you or credit you for the following month after our check is received. Any late fees incurred because you only paid a portion of the rent will by your responsibility).

Who is my Housing Specialist?
That will be determined at your initial interview, but may change later. If you are ever unsure you can contact Customer Service by email or at (920) 498-3737 and they will be able to direct you to your Specialist. Or you can email your question to Customer Service who will forward it to your Specialist.

What happens if my landlord changes my rent?
Your landlord must provide you with a written notice 60 days in advance if he or she wishes to raise your rent. A copy must also be sent to ICS.  The notice must state the amount of the increase and when it will be effective. You are not obligated to pay the increase if you are not given sufficient notice. After we receive the notice, we must do a rent reasonableness comparison. If the rent increase is reasonable, you and your landlord will be notified in writing of any changes to your Housing Assistance Payments.

How do I report an additional household member?
You must obtain approval from both ICS and your landlord before any additional people may join your household.  To request ICS approval, first provide the necessary information by completing and submitting a Household Change Packet.  A criminal background check will then be conducted on any adult to be added to the household. If the background check shows no history of drug or violent criminal activity in the past 5 years, an appointment will be scheduled for you and the new household member. After the appointment, we will verify any assets, income and deductions of the new member and adjust your housing assistance accordingly. You and your landlord will then be sent a letter notifying you of the approval of the new member and any change in your assistance.

What if I change or lose my job or have another change of income?
If there has been a loss of or change in household income you will need to complete an income change form. You can download one, pick one up at our office or request one from Customer Service. If you will be applying for/receiving unemployment, please be sure to indicate that on your change form. Please allow 45 days for ICS to process your change. You will be notified in writing when the review is complete.

How can I get proof of my rental assistance for another agency?
You can request a summary from Customer Service.

I am receiving assistance and want to move. What do I do?
A complete move review will need to be completed. Please plan in advance to allow enough time for ICS to process the move review. First call your specialist three to four months in advance to request a move appointment.  Please provide your name, Social Security number, what type of appointment you need and the anticipated move date. You will be sent a move packet to be completed prior to the appointment. Bring the move packet, along with a copy of the written notice to your landlord to the move appointment. You must provide written notice at least 30 days in advance. Refer to your lease or contact your landlord to see if additional notice is required.  If you gave verbal notice you must get written acknowledgement from your landlord to provide to ICS. You and your new landlord will need to complete the Request for Tenancy Approval, the new unit must pass a Housing Quality Standards Inspection, ICS needs to re-verify your income, you and your landlord must sign a one year lease (and provide a copy to ICS) and your landlord must sign a Housing Assistance Payment Contract. After all these steps are completed, you and your landlord will receive an authorization letter. Remember to leave your previous unit in a clean and re-rentable condition, pay all utilities from the old unit, and do not break your lease.

I am a building owner/manager - can I post an apartment opening with ICS?
Yes, you may do so by contacting Sarah Hernandez at 920-496-1949 or sarahhe@ics-gb.org. Please provide the information about the unit as you would like it to be listed.  The information will be posted on a listing that is distributed at ICS and is also available on the website.

What if I have legal questions?
ICS cannot provide legal advice. Please contact The Tenant Resource Center at 1-877-138-RENT (7368) or online at www.tenantresourcecenter.org. Or you may contact Wisconsin Consumer Protection Bureau at (920) 448-5110 or 1-800-422-7128 or Legal Action at (920) 432-4645.

What do I do if my landlord did not receive my Housing Assistance Payment on my behalf?
You can contact Customer Service and they will assist you in looking into this matter.

How do I report fraud?
Report of fraud can be made by calling (920) 498-3737 or completing and submitting the Fraud Referral Form. All reports of fraud are kept confidential. Please provide as much detail as possible in your report, such as: The tenant's name and address, names of any unreported household members, whether unreported members have income and what type, where they are employed, etc.  If you are reporting that they have a violent criminal offense or drug related activity, please indicate the state and city in which the offense was committed and the dates, if know. Your name and contact number is also helpful in case the fraud investigator needs to contact you for additional information, but this is optional.

When is my housing inspection? Can I reschedule, cancel?
A housing inspection cannot be scheduled until a Request for Tenancy Approval is received by your Specialist and he or she requests the inspection.

What do you look for when you do an inspection?
There are numerous standards established by federal and local regulations.  You can help make sure your unit will pass the inspection by making sure your home is clean and sanitary, that there are working smoke detectors present, and that there is no chipping or peeling paint. If the property fails to meet Housing Quality Standards at the first inspection, you and the landlord will have an opportunity to correct the problems and let us know when it's ready for re-inspection. We have a pamphlet entitled A Good Place to Live which gives an idea of some things the inspector looks for.

What if I have questions/comments concerning housing inspection results and findings?
Please contact the Inspection Department by email and the question will be directed to the appropriate inspector.

Who can I contact if I have additional questions about the Housing Choice Voucher Program?
Call or email Customer Service and a Customer Service Representative will either answer your question or direct it to someone who can.