Subsidy Book

 Housing Subsidy Programs

Participant Overview

 

Welcome
Congratulations on being approved for help paying your rent from the Q Foundation. The purpose of this booklet is to familiarize you with the program you are now part of provide specific guidance on maintaining eligibility and how to communicate with Q Foundation. Please note that this guide is not exhaustive of the rules and regulations governing this program. You should always contact Q Foundation with any questions.

Program Overview
This program was created to prevent eviction for people who, but for our assistance, would lose their housing; and to assist people who would be denied affordable housing because their income is too low.

We are a bridge to keep people housed while they qualify for a more affordable housing. While we have compassion for people that want to stay in their homes or move to higher quality housing, those needs are beyond the scope of our program. Toward that goal, we apply for affordable units in SF that are less than your current rent. If your subsidy level is higher than our $250 per month minimum subsidy, you will need to move to the new unit, in order to remain in our program at your existing subsidy level.

How Our Subsidy Works
The goal of our program is to pay the entire rent to your landlord before the first of each month – so it is never late. No more late fees, yay! Later, we deduct your portion from your bank account, debit, or credit card to repay us for this short term loan. If you have not already signed up for our automatic rent payment program (Q:RENTS), you will need to do so in order to remain in the program.

Subsidies can be on-going, meaning there is no pre-determined exit date, or they can be time-limited for a defined period of time. Generally, our senior & permanently disabled adults subsidies are on-going, and subsidies for non-disabled adults are time-limited.

Case Management
All members in our subsidy programs must participate in case management. We will perform a needs assessment and design a housing plan with you to help remove any potential barriers to housing stability. You must use your good faith efforts to comply with the plan in order to stay eligible for the subsidy. Part of the assessment includes a visit with you in your home to be sure that it is safe and that your landlord is keeping it in good repair.  We will help identify ways to increase your income and reduce your expenses, and referrals to other services. Your good faith effort to comply with the plan includes keeping appointments with your service providers, following all program rules, and informing your case manager of any life changes.

Staying In-Touch
In order to facilitate communication between Q Foundation and members in our subsidy programs, we have developed a one-stop communications application called QRENTS which you can access on any smartphone, tablet or computer. QRENTS keeps all of our communications in one place that can be accessed by our team to help us work on your case. Sending us a message through QRENTS is more efficient for everyone, so phone calls and emails are discouraged.

On the QRENTS App you can update your contact info, update documents, let us know about changes in income and rent, download documents for other service providers, and so much more.

Core Program Rules

✔ You must actively participate in case management and practice good faith efforts to keep appointments and follow care plan.

✔  You must reduce housing and other expenses where appropriate. This includes renting unoccupied bedrooms. As mentioned above, you must also accept more affordable housing when it is presented. If you do not accept the unit, then our subsidy amount will decrease to the amount we would be paying at the more affordable unit.

✔  You must pursue and accept all reasonable efforts to maximize income, such as applying for CAAP, Social Security Retirement or Disability, etc. You must also immediately notify us of changes in household income.

✔  Q tenants are good tenants. You must pay your portion of rent on time every time. You must treat the property with reasonable care, follow house rules, and respect the quiet and peaceful enjoyment rights of your neighbors.

✔  You cannot receive any other housing subsidy while in our program. You are responsible for your portion of the rent.

✔  Renting your home, such as peer-to-peer networking (i.e. AirBnB), is prohibited. You cannot make money off of our subsidy.

✔  In most cases, you cannot transfer from another housing subsidy.

✔  Generally, you cannot use the subsidy to move to more expensive housing.

✔  You must report life changes within 48 hours of receiving a rent increase notice, losing your housing, changes in income or assets, or changes in disability status.

✔  You must notify us in advance before adding or subtracting roommates or family members to the household.

✔  You must respond to requests to recertify your eligibility within 48 hours.

✔  As mentioned above, enrolling in the automatic rent payment system is required.

✔  Members are strongly encouraged to respond to satisfaction and housing stability follow up surveys. These are requirements of our funders and help us advocate to expand resources to help more people like you.

Subsidy Hiatus
A hiatus means that we are not currently paying the rent to your landlord but you are still in the program and receiving case management. Reasons for hiatus can include nonpayment of rent, loss of housing, etc. A period of hiatus is up to 3 months. Renewals must be requested by you and are at the discretion of Q Foundation. If your subsidy is closed for any reason, you can re-apply.

Hold
holdoccurs when a member has achieved an income above the program limits. As a program founded and run by people with disabilities, we want to support efforts at greater autonomy, not erect barriers, and understand the fear of leaving a safety net when confidence in the ability to sustain employment has not yet been built. We give #1 priority to people on hold to reinstate their subsidy should they need it again.

Escalation
Escalation is a temporary increase in your subsidy above the ordinary program limits. You may only be in escalation for a total of 24 months over the entirety of the subsidy. To enter escalation, you must have a documented path to no longer needing the increased subsidy amount. You must recertify every three months while in escalation.

Exiting From the Program
Our ultimate definition of success is when we are able to support people’s housing throughout their lifetime, or to bridge people into housing they can afford without our subsidy. Successful graduations include:

✔  Moving into deeply affordable housing and no longer needing the subsidy.

✔   Increasing income and no longer needing the subsidy.

✔   Reaching end of life. There’s no rent in eternity.

✔    Relocating into assisted living, moving out of SF, etc.

✔     Voluntarily exit the program.

Other reasons to exit the program include:

✔     Non-reporting of life changes or other fraud.

✔     Non-payment of tenant portion of rent.

✔     Threatening/ dangerous behavior.

✔     Manufacture/ distribution of illegal substances.

✔     Non-compliance with housing plan.

✔     Violation of program or house rules.

Grievance/Appeal
You should try to resolve any disagreement – including dissatisfaction with any decision, any service or information provided, or allegation of mistreatment – directly with the staff member or volunteer. This should be arranged immediately if at all possible.

However, if you wish to file a formal complaint, follow the grievance policy at theQfoundation.org/grievance or contact Q Foundation by phone, e-mail or letter. See the back cover for contact information.

Who We Are
Q Foundation believes in a world where all people have a safe, decent, and affordable home. Our staff and volunteers strive to provide services in a manner that respects the inherent worth and dignity of each individual.

Our Services

• Affordable Housing Application Workshops

• Back Rent Grants

• Move-in Deposit & First Month’s Rent Grants

• Needs-based Rental Subsidies

• Tenant Rights Counseling

• Landlord Mediation

• Job Training & Supportive Employment

• Public Policy Advocacy

Q FOUNDATION
350 Golden Gate Avenue – Suite A
San Francisco, CA 94102
415.552.3242 – F415.561.9940

 

TheQfoundation.org

 

Prepared by Q Foundation. Grantee for the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing & Community Development, and San Francisco Human Services Agency, Department of Aging and Adult Services