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Living in Communities (LINC)

 

Living in Communities (LINC)

LINC is a program operated and offered by NYC DHS and HRA. Families and shelter staff may not apply for LINC directly or through New Destiny. The City will notify all eligible households.

In September 2014 DHS and HRA rolled out a limited number of targeted rental assistance slots to homeless families in both the DHS and HRA shelter systems; due to limited funding, not every shelter resident will be eligible for assistance. The new program called Living in Communities (LINC) is targeted to specific populations in the shelter system who have been in shelter the longest. DHS and HRA will identify eligible families in shelter and contact them directly about eligibility and next steps.  There are several versions of the program designed to meet the varied needs of homeless families. Additionally, each program will be paired with appropriate services to assist families in remaining in stable housing including: non-residential community based domestic violence services, HomeBase homeless prevention programs, anti-eviction legal services and HRA emergency assistance grants. 

Program Descriptions
Payment Standards
Landlord and Broker Incentives
Leasing Process
Aftercare


Program Descriptions

LINC I – Working Families

This program is targeted to families with demonstrated work histories and at least one adult currently working full time (35 hours or more for at least 90 days) or two or more adults with a combined 35 hours or more of work for at least 90 days. The program is targeted to families residing in the DHS shelter system who have been in shelter the longest as well as a limited number of residents in the HRA DV shelter system who are working and are most likely to succeed with this program. Enrolled tenants will pay 30% of their income towards rent and the subsidy would cover the rest. The subsidy is renewable based on continued need and eligibility on an annual basis for up to five years*. Click here for a fact sheets for both clients and landlords.

LINC II – Families With Multiple Shelter Stays

This program is targeted to families with a higher need for ongoing support to stay stably housed in the community and who have a history of needing DHS or HRA shelter. To begin, this program will be available to those families in DHS shelters and later may expand to the HRA DV shelter system. Families with income such as SSI or employment who have been in shelter multiple times may be eligible with priority given to those with the longest shelter stays. Enrolled tenants will pay 30% of their income towards rent and the subsidy would cover the rest. The subsidy is renewable based on continued need and eligibility on an annual basis for up to five years*. Click here for a fact sheets for both clients and landlords.

LINC III – Domestic Violence Survivors

This program is targeted to families that have become homeless due to domestic violence and are residing in HRA DV shelter.  Families in DHS shelter may be eligible if they are former HRA DV shelter residents who "timed out" of the DV shelter system or if those families were screened for domestic violence at intake and deemed "NoVA eligible". To qualify, families must receive public assistance (no sanctioned cases will be accepted). Families with long stays in DHS and HRA shelter, families who have reached the 180 day time limit in HRA shelter and would otherwise be discharged to DHS shelter and, families placed in a DHS shelter and have been certified as a DV survivor through the NOVA program but could not be placed in an HRA DV shelter because of lack of capacity will be given priority. The subsidy is renewable based on continued need and eligibility on an annual basis for up to five years*. Click here for a fact sheets for both clients and landlords.

LINC IV

This program is targeted to individuals and adults in families residing in DHS shelters, safe havens or drop in centers who are, or include someone who is age 60 or older and cannot afford housing. Eligible households must have an active or single issue public assistance case and earn less than 200% of the federal poverty level. Due to available funding, not all households that meet this criteria will be selected by the City to enroll, priority is being given to those who have been in shelter the longest.   Enrolled households are required to pay 30% of their income towards rent and the program may be renewed indefinitely. LINC IV program participants may rent apartments or rooms; rented rooms must be at or below $800 per month. For more information, see the LINC IV client fact sheet and LINC IV landlord and broker fact sheet.

LINC V

This program is targeted to individuals and adult families in DHS shelters, safe havens and drop in centers who are working but cannot afford housing. Enrolled households will pay 30% of their income towards rent and is renewal for up to 5 years and possibly longer on a case by case basis. To be eligible, at least one member of the household must be working in unsubsidized employment or as part of the Shelter Exit Transitional Jobs Program (SET) and can demonstrate at least 30 days or employment before becoming certified for LINC V. Households must also maintain an active or single issue public assistance case and total household income cannot exceed 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. LINC V program participants may rent apartments or rooms; rented rooms must be at or below $800 per month. Because of limited funding, not all eligible households will be selected by the City for the program, priority is being given to those in shelter the longest. For more information see the LINC V client fact sheet and the LINC V landlord and broker fact sheet.

LINC VI

This program is designed to help homeless families in shelter to reunify with "host families" consisting of friends or relatives chosen by the homeless family by offering monthly rental assistance payments for one year with annual renewals of up to five years. To be eligible, families must reside in an HRA or DHS shelter for at least 90 consecutive days, have a total household income of less than 200% of the federal poverty level, have an active or single issue public assistance case and have identified a qualifying residence and host family. The host family must be a friend or a relative who is the primary tenant or owner of the residence.  Moving into the host residence must not create overcrowding. The residence must be evaluated to ensure health and safety and, members of the host family must pass an evaluation that includes a review of ACS records, if any, and a clearance with the Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment as well as the New York State Sex Offender Registry. For more information see the LINC VI client fact sheet and the LINC VI host family fact sheet.

*The duration of all LINC programs is subject to funding availability

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Payment Standards – new enhanced rent levels available!

Each LINC program has the same maximum rental amounts by household size as shown in the chart below. No additional fees or "side deals" are permitted. Landlords may not charge tenants any extra fees for heat or hot water or for any other service above the contract rent amount legally agreed upon in the lease. 

Effective November 7, 2014 and until further notice, apartments leased through the LINC program can be rented at even higher levels than the standard LINC rental amounts. The client contribution to rent will not be affected. Upon lease signing at the enhanced rent level, the rent level will not be reduced by the City for as long as the client participates in the LINC program, including renewals, even if in the future, the City again issues certification letters for new LINC clients with the standard maximum rent levels. For more information about the enhanced rent levels see HRA's fact sheet.

LINC I-V Rental Assistance Program Chart
Family Size1* ^2 ^345678910
Standard Maximum Rent$914$1,028$1,200$1,257$1,428$1,542$1,599$1,714$1,770$1,828
ENHANCED Maximum Rent$1,213$1,268$1,515$1,515$1,956$1,956$2,197$2,197$2,530$2,530
Increase$299$240$315$258$528$414$598$483$760$702

* While LINC I-III are for families with children, the maximum rents for the LINC III program are based on the number of household members active on the family's public assistance (PA) case. In cases where there is only one household member on the PA case, the LINC household size will be 1.

^ Single individuals enrolled in LINC IV or LINC V will be certified for the enhanced rent level normally given to households of 2 - they may rent apartments costing up to $1,268.

Please Note:  LINC IV and LINC V program participants may rent rooms or apartments. The maximum monthly rent for rooms is $800 per month.

LINC VI Rental Assistance Program Chart
Family Size1 or 23 or 45 or more
Maximum Rent$650$750$1,000

LINC VI rental assistance will pay the entire portion of the rent for enrolled families up to the amounts listed in this chart such that enrolled families will not have to pay any rent to the host family. Tenants should not pay broker's fees or security deposits nor should they be charged extra for heat or hot water. The total amount of LINC VI assistance should not be more than the proportional share of the rent (generally this means that it should be half or less than half of what the primary tenant pays). For more information see page 2 of the LINC VI fact sheet.

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Landlord and Broker Incentives

The City is offering special bonuses and supplemental assistance funds to landlords who participate in the program in order to make it more competetive in the housing market.

The City will provide a $1,000 bonus to landlords who submit complete leasing packages to DHS or HRA by June 30, 2016 (this bonus was originally set to expire earlier, click here for the official notice of the extension). The bonus will be provided to landlords at lease signing and there are no restrictions on its use. There is no cap on the number of apartments each landlord can offer and therefore no limit on the number of bonuses any one landlord can receive provided that leasing packages are submitted by June 30, 2016.

In addition, for participating LINC landlords, the City will provide additional financial protection in the event rental payments are not made and the shortfall cannot be covered by other eviction prevention programs or if there is damage to the apartment beyond what is covered in the security deposit. The newly created Supplemental Assistance Fund will provide a total of $3,000 for the total time of the LINC lease including renewals.

For more information on these incentives and to learn how to register an apartment with the LINC program see HRA's fact sheet here.

Broker's are also eligible to receive an enhanced fee of up to 15% of the annual rent for all units leased under the LINC program where there is a lease signed for one year or more. The enhanced fee expires on June 30, 2016. For more information click here.

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Leasing Process

Once a shelter resident is certified for the LINC program, they have 90 days to find an apartment. Apartment seekers should know that landlords who owns more than 6 apartments cannot refuse to rent to a person just because they will use a program such as LINC to pay the rent. To learn more, see this fact sheet. If a landlord refuses to rent to a LINC client exclusively because they are not interested in the program, clients may contact either the Fair Housing Justice Center or Legal Aid's Homeless Rights Project.  For additional tips on finding an apartment click here

Once a LINC client identifies an apartment, the landlord can work with the client and shelter representative to complete a leasing package and register the apartment for an inspection. HPD is conducting all inspections for apartments renting under the LINC program and will do so within two business days of  the request. Apartment seekers and landlords should be sure that the apartment is ready to pass inspection prior to submitting a package for leasing. Once the apartment passes inspection and all documents are reviewed an approved a lease signing will be scheduled with HRA. In general, lease signings can be scheduled in about a week after the inspection passes. For information on what needs to be including in the leasing package and for links to appropriate forms and inspection requirements click here.

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Aftercare

All tenants leasing apartments through the LINC programs will be offered robust aftercare services. Providers include HomeBase and, for tenants enrolled in the LINC III program for domestic violence survivors, community based domestic violence service providers are available via the LINC UP initiative.

LINC III tenants are encouraged to choose a domestic violence aftercare provider before moving into their new homes. The shelter case manager makes the introduction before the lease signing so that the tenant is familiar with the aftercare program and services before they move in. A meeting is then arranged shortly after lease signing where the tenant and aftercare service provider can discuss available services to help ensure a seamless transition into their new community. Establishing relationships early will make it easier to follow up with any needs a tenant may have once they move in. If you are a LINC III tenant and need help accessing aftercare services a directory can be found here.

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