Helping voucher holders find opportunity neighborhoods in the Dallas Metroplex

Find out if an address is in a Walker Targeted Area? or may be eligible as a High Opportunity Area.?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Para ayuda en Español por favor contacta (214) 743-4602.

 

Language and Terminology

What is a Walker Targeted Area (WTA)?

What is a High Opportunity Area (HOA)?

What is a census tract?

What does “met standards” mean?

Finding Housing

Can you help me find housing?

Do you have a vacancy list?

What areas should I be searching to find something quicker?

Do you know which zip code qualifies for ICP financial assistance?

What areas qualify for ICP financial assistance?

Why don’t you help with certain areas?

 

ICP Assistance & Process

What financial assistance does ICP provide?  What are the amounts?

What is the process of getting assistance?

Do I need to come into the office?

How long does the financial assistance process take?

 

Landlords

I’m a landlord. How do I get my property on your program?

 

Inclusive Communities Project

Who is ICP (Inclusive Communities Project)?

 

Troubleshooting

I can’t get this website to work right. What should I do?

The address that I searched didn’t show up. What next?

______________________________________________

What is a Walker Targeted Area (WTA)?

A “Walker Targeted Area” is an area defined by the court in the Walker v. HUD case.  WTAs are census tracts where (according to the most recent Census data):*

  1. the poverty rate is 22.3% or lower;
  2. the Black population is 25.7% or lower; and
  3. there is no public housing.

ICP does not decide what is or is not a Walker Targeted Area. If you have a Walker Settlement Voucher, which is a special voucher issued by the Dallas Housing Authority, you must find housing in a Walker Targeted Area.  Some Walker Targeted Areas are also High Opportunity Areas—but not all.  Like regular DHA housing choice vouchers, Walker Settlement Vouchers may be used in Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Kaufman, Rockwall and Tarrant counties.

*Some pre-determined exceptions may apply.

 

What is a High Opportunity Area (HOA)?

A “High Opportunity Area” is defined by ICP as a Walker Targeted Areas with additional qualities.  These are areas that tend to have more opportunities.  HOAs are census tracts where:

  1. the income falls at or above 80% of the area median income;
  2. the poverty rate is no more than 10%; and
  3. the public schools are high performing.

 

The first two factors are based on the 2010 Census data and determine whether an area is “High Opportunity Area eligible”. To see if an address is confirmed as a “High Opportunity Area”, the elementary and high schools must be checked.  The zoned elementary school for the address must have “met standards” and the zoned high school must have a 4-year graduation rate of 85% or greater. Standards and rates are determined by the Texas Education Agency.

 

Dallas Housing Authority “regular housing choice voucher” holders must be moving to a confirmed High Opportunity Area to apply for ICP move-related financial assistance.  Exceptions will be considered for households with no infants, toddlers or school aged children.  (Walker Settlement Voucher holders may qualify for certain ICP assistance if moving to a Walker Targeted Area or High Opportunity Area.)

 

For 4-year graduation rates, go to http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/acctres/completion/2013/campus.html (Table 2, Column 3).

 

For 2013 elementary school accountability reports go to http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/perfreport/account/2014/srch.html?srch=C.

 

What is a census tract?

United States Census Bureau divides counties into small areas called “census tracts” to help them count the population and get other information about the people living there.  Each census tract is assigned a unique number (example: 305.28; 71.02; 402.00).  The census count is taken every ten years, and the most recent count was done in 2010.  Census tracts generally have between 2,500 to 8,000 residents.

In the Dallas Area, census tracts tend to be smaller than zip code areas.  So, one zip code may have many different census tracts within it.  Also, two addresses across the street from each other may be in different census tracts. 

What does “met standards” mean?

The Texas Education Agency rates all public schools based on state test scores and related factors.  There are three possible ratings for public schools:  (1) met standards, (2) improvement required, (3) and not rated.  For detailed information about ratings, go to http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/perfreport/account/2013/summary_explanatio....

Normally, ratings are released in the late summer or early fall and are based, in large part, on the previous school year’s statewide testing. ICP uses these most recent available ratings.

 

Can you help me find housing?

Our Mobility Assistance Program counselors are available to assist voucher holders in finding and accessing housing in High Opportunity Areas throughout Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Kaufman, Rockwall and Tarrant counties.  Housing search assistance does not guarantee that a particular unit will be made available by a landlord.

 

Do you have a vacancy list?

No. Vacancies in High Opportunity Areas tend to go quickly.  Check with your ICP counselor for up to date housing search assistance.

 

What areas should I be searching to find something quicker?

Some cities and counties tend to have more High Opportunity Areas (HOAs) than others.  The map on the opening page of the Opportunity Moves website will help you see where WTAs and HOAs tend to be.  Look for parts of the map that are colored orange or yellow.  Not all Walker Targeted Areas or High Opportunity Areas have available vacant housing.  Dallas Housing Authority voucher holders may find that, in addition to your own search, working with an ICP counselor may help provide a better idea of where available housing in WTAs and HOAs may be.

 

Do you know which zip code qualifies for ICP financial assistance?

Both the voucher holder and the unit must meet certain requirements before financial assistance will be approved.  First, ICP looks at the census tract in which a property address is found.  A census tract is a smaller area than a zip code.  It’s the housing authority who uses zip codes to decide what payment standard it will use for a property address.

Submission of financial request forms does not guarantee approval of financial assistance. Approval is granted after review of all financial assistance request documents. Whether and how much assistance will be granted may depend upon prior ICP financial assistance provided.

 

What areas qualify for ICP financial assistance?

A voucher holder may apply for move-related financial assistance if the unit meets certain requirements.  The Opportunity Moves website will help give you an idea of where on the map WTA and HOA-eligible neighborhoods are and whether a specific address is a WTA or HOA-eligible.

For DHA’s Walker Settlement Voucher holders:

DHA is the first source of move-related financial assistance for Walker Settlement Voucher holders.  Call DHA at (214) 640-6837 for more information about this.

ICP will consider WSV holders for ICP financial assistance if assistance is denied by DHA and the unit is in a Walker Targeted Area.

For regular housing choice voucher holders:

A property may be in a Walker Targeted Area or a confirmed High Opportunity Area with high performing schools.  If there are children in the household, the school performance applies whether they are in high school, middle school, elementary school or not yet school age.

Once you find a unit in a WTA or “HOA eligible” area, your ICP counselor will check the zoned elementary and high schools.  The elementary school rating must have “met standards” as based on the most recent rating reports.  The high school must have a 4-year graduation rate of at least 90%.   (Ratings are determined by the Texas Education Agency.)

Submission of financial request forms does not guarantee approval of financial assistance. Approval is granted after review of all financial assistance requests and completed supporting documents.

 

Why don’t you help with certain areas?

Neighborhoods that are not Walker Targeted Areas or High Opportunity Areas, where ICP does not provide financial assistance, tend to be places where several voucher holders have been able to move without the extra assistance of ICP.  ICP targets its mobility resources for voucher holders who are trying to move to or remain in WTAs and HOAs that are harder to access without ICP assistance yet offer a number of opportunities.

 

What financial assistance does ICP provide?  What are the amounts?

A regular Dallas Housing Authority housing choice voucher holder, who is moving and finds a property that is WTA or HOA eligible, should have ICP check the zoned elementary and high schools to see if they are high performing.  If they are, ICP move-related financial assistance may be available. Move-related financial assistance may also be available for Walker Settlement Voucher holders who find units in WTAs or HOAs (without school information). Types of financial assistance include:  application fee assistance, assistance towards security deposits, and landlord bonuses (if necessary to reduce the reasonable rent to an acceptable level or to convince a landlord who otherwise will not try DHA’s voucher program).  Voucher holders should be in communication with an ICP counselor with a pre-move assessment on file before making a financial assistance request.

It is important to speak with your ICP counselor before assuming what financial assistance you may receive.  Both the voucher holder and the unit must meet certain requirements before financial assistance will be approved.  

The amounts of financial assistance depend on several factors including, but not limited to actual costs and voucher certification size.  An ICP counselor can discuss further details with you after a phone assessment is completed.

ICP does not provide general rental assistance.

Submission of financial request forms does not guarantee approval of financial assistance. Approval is granted after review of all financial assistance request documents.

 

What is the process of getting assistance?

Processes vary depending on the type of assistance that is being requested by the Dallas Housing Authority voucher holder and the voucher type.  Types of assistance range from housing search assistance, move-related financial assistance, landlord negotiations and bonuses, fair housing counseling, referrals to social service agencies and other post-move help.

If you are preparing to move with your Dallas Housing Authority voucher, our counselors will likely be at your relocation briefing at the housing authority.  There, you will get the chance to sign-up to request our move-related assistance.  If not, call us.

If you do not see an ICP counselor at your relocation briefing or if you have a non-move related concern (such as a fair housing complaint), give us a call at (214) 658-1330.

All levels of assistance will first require a counselor to do a brief telephone assessment, which is like a questionnaire.  This takes about ten minutes.

 

Do I need to come into the office?

After you have signed up with ICP at a DHA briefing or called and been assigned a MAP counselor, your counselor will tell you if you need to come to the office.  In most cases, counselors make it convenient by accepting calls, faxes, emails and U.S. mail from clients. (Example: The required assessment is done on the telephone.)  They are periodically out of the office on business, so call before making a trip.

 

How long does the financial assistance process take?

It is hard to say.  The length of the financial assistance process depends on how long your lease-up process takes with the housing authority and how long it takes for you and your landlord to submit the necessary completed documents to your counselor.

 

I’m a landlord. How do I get my property on your program?

ICP does not put properties on Dallas Housing Authority’s (DHA) voucher program.  If you have a property in a WTA or High Opportunity Area that you would like our clients to know about, please email us about the property at info@inclusivecommunities.net.  Include the unit’s address, zip code, number of bedrooms and type of unit (apartment, condominium, townhouse, single family detached).  Units must be located in Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Kaufman, Rockwall or Tarrant counties.

A landlord who decides to rent to an ICP client while trying DHA’s Section 8 voucher program for the first time may qualify for a landlord bonus from DHA.  Call (214) 640-6837 for further information.  Landlord bonuses may be available from ICP, if necessary, to reduce the reasonable rent to an acceptable level.  If you want to know more details about the bonus process or other benefits of renting to an ICP client, give us a call at (214) 658-1330.

Several landlords also list their properties on www.goSection8.com.  DHA’s landlord services department provides detailed information about participating in their voucher program.  Go to DHA’s website for additional information: http://www.dhadal.com/Business/1/Benefits%20to%20Landlords.

Qualifying security deposits on behalf of ICP clients and landlord bonuses will not be provided if landlords charge ICP clients more for units than they do unassisted rental applicants and tenants.

 

I have a voucher but don’t live in the Dallas area.  How can you help me?

ICP and the Opportunity Moves website only provide move related assistance for voucher holders who are moving to locations within Dallas, Collin, Denton, Tarrant, Rockwall, Ellis and Kaufman counties.  If you want to relocate to the Dallas area from out of town, talk to your housing authority about porting.  Vouchers have a portability feature that involves an agreement between your housing authority and one in the area where you want to move.

There are a handful of other housing mobility counseling programs across the country.  To read more about housing mobility in other parts of the country, visit http://www.housingmobility.org/other-mobility-programs/.

 

I don’t have a Dallas Housing Authority Voucher.  Will you help me?

One-on-one counselor-assisted mobility help is provided to voucher holders in the Dallas area. However, ICP’s hope is that all low-income families and persons in the Dallas area who are seeking housing in High Opportunity Areas will find our Opportunity Moves website to be a helpful resource.  The cost of obtaining a unit in these areas without a voucher may be difficult because there are few units that may be affordable to you.  ICP recognizes this and is working to increase the amount of accessible housing in High Opportunity Areas that low income persons can afford.  The 2011 introduction of zip code-based fair market rents and payment standards have been a start.

If you don’t have a voucher and wish to get one, you may want to periodically contact local public housing authorities to ask about getting on their housing choice voucher waiting list.  Public housing authorities’ waiting lists open and close at different times and waiting times can be from months to years.  Here is a list of some local housing authorities:

Dallas Housing Authority
http://www.dhadal.com/

Dallas County Housing Agency
    http://www.dallascounty.org/department/hhs/dcha.html

Denton Housing Authority
    http://www.dentonhousingauthority.com/

Fort Worth Housing Authority
    http://www.ftwha.org/

Garland Housing Agency
    http://www.ci.garland.tx.us/faqs/categoryqna.asp?id=40

Grand Prairie Housing & Neighborhood Services
    http://www.gptx.org/index.aspx?page=326

McKinney Housing Authority
    http://www.mckinneyha.org/

Mesquite Housing Office
    http://www.cityofmesquite.com/housing/

Plano Housing Authority
    http://www.planoha.org/

 

Who is ICP (Inclusive Communities Project)?

The Inclusive Communities Project (ICP) is a not-for-profit organization that works for the creation and maintenance of thriving racially and economically inclusive communities, expansion of fair and affordable housing opportunities for low income families, and redress for policies and practices that perpetuate the harmful effects of discrimination and segregation.

The Mobility Assistance Program is ICP’s housing mobility counseling program that serves low income families who participate in the Dallas Housing Authority's Housing Choice Voucher Program. MAP works to insure that families are made aware of and have access to high quality rental housing in lower poverty, higher opportunity areas of Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Kaufman, Rockwall and Tarrant counties.  MAP is committed to providing the families with whom we work a wide range of services, including housing search assistance, move-related financial assistance and counseling designed to help them access good schools, safe neighborhoods, employment, and a healthy environment.

ICP is not the Dallas Housing Authority, and we do not administer any housing vouchers. Our MAP counselors are different from DHA counselors/OTs.  ICP clients may find that they will need to communicate with both their ICP counselor and their DHA counselor/OT to address their individual situations.

To find out more about ICP, go to www.inclusivecommunities.net.

 

I can’t get this website to work right. What should I do?

OpportunityMoves.org was created to be used with most internet browsers (examples: Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari).  It was not created as a mobile app, but access to most of the site’s features will likely work on your smartphone.  If you continue to have problems, email info@opportunitymoves.org.

 

The address that I searched didn’t show up. What next?

The address look-up feature is linked to Google Maps.  If Google Maps cannot find the exact address (not just the street or block), then it won’t show up on OpportunityMoves.org.

 

You may also search for an addresses’ census tract information by going to:

 

http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/index.xhtml

 

  1. Click on Address Search
  2. Enter the address
  3. Press go
  4. The census tract will appear on the 5th row

 

 

http://www.ffiec.gov/geocode/default.aspx 

 

  1. Enter the address
  2. Press search
  3. The census tract will appear in a box titled tract code