General Assistance Handbook 90-01.84 :.
Housing Assistance Vendor Program
Effective Date: October 1, 2009
Published Date: 8/15/11
Published By: E113
Revision Date: May 16, 2012
Revised by: E118
This Handbook has been revised for the purpose of removing mentions of ordinances that no longer exist.
General Assistance (GA) regulations state that vendor payment will be used when possible. Generally, vendor payments for rent will be paid by direct warrant and any remainder of the grant payment will be issued to the recipient’s EBT card.
Under this program, applicants and recipients will have their rent paid by a direct vendor check to their housing provider.
Exempt individuals are those who are permanently disabled and unable to work, Former Foster Care youth in Alameda County between 18 through 24 years of age, participants in the Independent Living Skills Program (ILSP), residents in CHASS facilities and AGAP participants.
An HAVP Packet will be provided to all applicants and recipients at initial application, at the RRR and whenever a change of address or living situation is reported. This packet will contain:
A Landlord Informing notice, Form 90–93;
An Applicant/Recipient Informing Notice, Form 90-94;
Housing Assistance Vendor Agreement, Form 90–9;
Substitute IRS Form W–9; and,
A self-addressed return envelope*.
Note: The envelope should display the address of the office where the ET is located. The exception will be the envelopes including in the RRR packets that are centrally assembled and mailed.
The GA applicant/recipient's housing provider should complete Form 90-9 verifying the client’s living situation, as well as the housing cost. The housing provider is not required to provide their taxpayer identification number (TIN), or social security number. The Substitute IRS Form W-9 is used to capture this information. Either the applicant/recipient or the vendor may return forms in the envelope provided.
The Eligibility Technician (ET) should review and verify the information reported on Form 90–9. This includes clearing the address in CalWIN for any other recipients known to be residing at the same address and documenting the actual property owner using the Assessor’s records for the property address. All information should be verified by completing the County Use Section on page 2 of Form 90-9.
The HAVP packet should be given (or mailed) to an applicant at intake, or to a recipient when a change of address and/or change in living situation are reported. To ensure proper routing of the returned documents, the case number must be included on both Form 90–9 and the Substitute IRS Form W–9. The self-addressed envelope must include the ET’s worker number.
For recipient cases, when a change of address or living situation is reported, any existing split payment must be immediately removed; add In Kind Housing for the future month.
Note: The agency does not need to receive a valid Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) from the vendor payee prior to issuing any vendor rent payments.
90–9 is not returned by the housing provider:
No housing cost can be included in the payable grant before the 90-9 is completed and returned to the SSA.
When the 90-9 is not returned, housing costs have not been verified. Budget In Kind Housing in CalWIN.
90–9 is returned by the housing provider, with or without Substitute IRS Form W –9:
The Housing Assistance Vendor Agreement Form 90–9 (and any supporting verification) must be reviewed for completeness and accuracy. Refer to Handbook 50-6.20: W-9 Processing, for additional instructions.
- The ET shall verify that Form 90–9 is complete. This includes:
All housing verification (i.e. Form 90–9, rent receipt, rental/lease agreement, statement from owner, etc.) of the living situation must be documented and scanned into the case record, except the Substitute IRS Form W–9. These forms are sent directly to the Auditor’s Office. Refer to Generic Handbook 50-6.20, W-9 Processing for additional instructions. Only complete Substitute IRS Form W-9s should be sent to the Auditor’s Office.
- The name of the individual or organization identified as the vendor payee.
- The mailing address of the vendor payee.
Note: In the case of organizations with multiple facilities, it should list the main office address of the organization.
- The amount of rent paid by the applicant/recipient.
- The total number of people sharing the residence.
- The vendor payee’s signature and date signed.
All verbal verification (i.e. telephone call, in-person interview with owner/manager) must be documented in Case Comments in CalWIN. Also document the County Use Section on page 2 of Form 90–9.
When the applicant or recipient has a verified housing cost listed on Form 90–9, but the Substitute IRS Form W–9 is not received or is incomplete, the Housing Allowance will be included in the payable grant.
If all documentation is received and verified, initiate a split payment for the verified rent amount.
Drug and Alcohol Facilities and Shelters:
If the applicant or recipient resides in a licensed Drug/Alcohol Residential Treatment Facility or in a Shelter, the manager of the facility should check the appropriate box on Form 90-9 and write CHASS, Domestic Violence Shelter, or the facility’s name as appropriate in Section 2. The manager's name and contact information at the facility should also be listed.
- For organizations with multiple locations or facilities, the payment address and payee should list the main office associated with the taxpayer identification number (TIN).
- If there is conflicting information provided on Form 90–9, contact the facility to verify the completion of the Housing Assistance Vendor Agreement Form.
- All verbal verification (i.e. telephone call, in-person interview with owner/manager) must be documented in Case Comments in CalWIN and in the County Use Section on page 2 of Form 90–9.
When the applicant/recipient indicates they are unable to provide a Form 90–9 because they are residing in a foreclosed property, the ET must verify if the individual is liable for a housing cost to either the foreclosing bank or to an escrow account.
When documentation is provided verifying that the applicant/recipient is liable for housing costs, the Program Manager or Division Director must determine whether or not the Housing Allowance can be included in the payable grant. If included, the housing cost should be vendor paid to the bank or escrow account.
If no housing cost is verified, the Housing Allowance is not included in the payable grant.
When the Housing Allowance is not included in the payable grant:
- The Housing Allowance will not be included in the payable grant for households who:
- Do not have a verified housing cost. Housing costs can include a utility bill for electricity, gas, water, or garbage in the applicant/ recipient’s name.
- Are homeless.
- Receive free housing.
- A Shelter referral must be offered to the above households, except those receiving free housing.
- A face-to-face discussion must be completed with all applicants and recipients detailing all situations in which the Housing Allowance cannot be authorized.
- If an applicant will not be eligible for the Housing Allowance, they should complete and sign the GA Only Section of Form 50-160: Referral for Help with Supportive Services, documenting if they accept or decline a shelter referral. If the referral is accepted, they will see a Social Worker.
- If a recipient will not be eligible for a Housing Allowance after a change in address or living situation, they should also complete Form 50-160 when in the office. If the only contact is by telephone, the ET must clearly document the recipient’s decision in Case Comments. If the recipient accepts a referral, they must come in the office to see a Social Worker.
- When an applicant or recipient accepts a referral and they are placed in a CHASS bed, they will be eligible for the CHASS grant.
If they refuse an available bed, they will be eligible for a Basic Needs grant only.
- When an applicant or recipient accepts a referral, but the Social Worker determines that they are unsuitable for CHASS, they will eligible for the maximum eligible grant to which they are entitled.
- When an applicant or recipient accepts a referral, but no bed is available, they will be eligible for Basic Needs and a Housing Allowance on a month-to-month basis.
Note: Use the Living Arrangements tab of the Individual Attributes window. Enter “Yes” in the Aid To Pay Day and enter the last day of the month in the Aid To Pay Day Date field.
- The following Special Indicators must be entered in CalWIN:
- GA Shelter Referral: when the applicant/recipient accepts the referral.
- GA Shelter Declined: when the applicant/recipient declines a referral.
- CHASS Approved: when the applicant/recipient is placed in CHASS.
- CHASS Refused: when the applicant/recipient accepted a referral but then refused a CHASS placement.
- GA Shelter-Not Available: when the applicant/recipient accepted a referral but no bed was available.
ASSESSOR'S and TAX COLLECTOR'S RECORDS:
Verification of the owner of the rental address must be documented in the County Use Section on page 2 of Form 90–9.
If the owner of record listed on the Auditor's website matches the name of the vendor payee who signed the 90–9, document the information indicated in the "County Use Section."
If the owner of record on the Auditor’s site does NOT match the name of the vendor payee who signed the 90–9, and is not verified as a legal tenant, verify that this is the owner's authorized representative/manager of the property.
All verbal verification (i.e. telephone call, in-person interview with owner/manager) must be documented in Case Comments in CalWIN.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR USING THE ASSESSOR'S WEBSITE
From the main Social Services Staff intranet page:
Select AlcoWeb. A new web page will open.
Select For Work, then Assessor's Property Value System. Another web page will open.
Enter the property address in the displayed fields, and click Submit. The owner records will be listed for the listed address.
If no records are found, verify that the information is correct, or if this address is part of another assessed parcel at a separate address. You may need to contact the vendor payee for additional clarification.
- Document the results of the property search in the County Use Section on page 2 of Form 90–9.
Important: Do not print and image the Assessor’s information in Web Files. Document findings in the County Use Section on page 2 of Form 90-9.
- Robert Brown was provided a HAVP packet, with a need letter to return the information by September 1. The 90–9 is not returned and the housing costs are not verified. Mr. Brown’s case, if approved, will be authorized for only basic needs.
- Joan White is sharing a house with her sister, Susan White. Susan is renting the house. Joan provides a 90–9 listing Susan as the vendor payee, with a copy of Susan’s lease. Joan’s share of the rent is reported as $250. The Substitute IRS Form W-9 is not returned; the housing allowance is authorized.