History - Southwestern Idaho Cooperative Housing Authority (SICHA)

In 1972, SICHA was formed with a mission to provide affordable housing.

The Housing and Community Development (HCD) Act of 1974 created a new federally assisted housing program – the Section 8 Existing program (also known as the Section 8 Certificate program). The HCD Act represented a significant shift in federal housing strategy from locally owned public housing to privately owned rental housing.

In 1976, SICHA contracted with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and began providing Section 8 assistance to low-income families.

Under the Certificate program, federal housing assistance payments were made directly to private owners of rental housing, making this type of housing available to lower-income families. Eligible families were able to select housing in the private rental market. Assuming that the housing met certain basic physical standards of quality, also know as Housing Quality Standards (HQS), and was within certain HUD-established rent limitations (fair market rents), the family would be able to receive rental assistance in the housing unit. Family contribution to rent was generally set at 30% of the family’s adjusted income, with the remainder of the rent paid by the program.

Another unique feature of the Certificate program was that the rental assistance remained with the eligible family. If the family chose to move to another privately-owned rental unit that met program requirements they could, unlike the public housing program where the rental assistance remains with the unit. As such, the Certificate program was characterized as tenant-based assistance, rather than unit-based assistance.

The Housing and Community Development (HCD) Act of 1987 authorized a new version of tenant-based assistance – the Section 8 Voucher program. The Voucher program was very similar to the Certificate program in that eligible families were able to select housing in the private rental market and receive assistance in that housing unit.

However, the Voucher program permitted families more options in housing selection. Rental housing still had to meet the basic HQS, but there was no fair market rent limitation on rent. In addition, family contribution to rent was not set at a limit of 30% of adjusted income. Depending on the actual rental cost of the unit selected, a family might pay more than 30% of their adjusted income for rent.

SICHA facilitated the formation of Housing Southwest, Inc. in March of 1978 for the purpose of constructing and owning assisted rental projects using funding from HUD and USDA Farm Home Administration (now called USDA Rural Development).

One project for disabled persons was constructed and ready for occupancy in 1981. This project was twelve one-bedroom units built using the Department of Housing and Urban Development Section 8 202 program.

Housing Southwest, Inc. also built five additional USDA Farm Home Section 515 projects for elderly/disabled persons between 1979 and 1998.

All of the rental projects built by Housing Southwest, Inc. have project-based rental assistance available to tenants that qualify for the subsidy. SICHA managed all six projects until 1998 when the ownership of the five USDA Farm Home projects was transferred to SICHA. The remaining 202 HUD project is still owned by Housing Southwest, Inc. and managed by SICHA.

In 1980, SICHA acquired a low-income family public housing complex in Glenns Ferry, Idaho. This property is owned by HUD, but managed by the housing authority.

In 1994, SICHA acquired various low-income family public housing units at different sites in Caldwell, Idaho. These sites are owned by HUD, but managed by the housing authority.

In 1994, SICHA implemented the Family Self -Sufficiency Program for its Section 8 Voucher participants on the Section 8 Voucher Program.

In 1998, four USDA low-income senior projects were transferred to SICHA. SICHA also built a low-income senior project in Melba, Idaho.

From 1987 through 1999, public housing agencies managed both the Certificate and Voucher tenant-based assistance programs, with separate rules and requirements for each. From 1994 through 1998, HUD published a series of new rules, known as “conforming” rules, to more closely combine and align the two similar housing programs, to the extent permitted by the law.

In 1998, the Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act (QHWRA) – also known as the Public Housing Reform Act – was signed into law. QHWRA eliminated all statutory differences between the Certificate and Voucher tenant-based programs and required that the two programs be merged into a single tenant-based assistance program, now known as the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program.

The HCV program was modeled closely on the pre-merger Voucher program. However, unlike the pre-merger Voucher program, the HCV program requires an assisted family to pay at least 30% of their adjusted income for rent.

The transition of assistance from the Certificate and Voucher programs to the new HCV program began in October 1999. By October 2001, all families receiving tenant-based assistance were converted to the HCV program.

In 2003, SICHA purchased two low-income USDA family housing complexes in Cambridge and Council, Idaho.

In 2004, SICHA implemented the Housing Choice Voucher Homeownership Option Program.

In 2007, three USDA low-income senior projects and one USDA low-income family project were transferred to SICHA in Homedale, Marsing and McCall, Idaho.

In 2008, two USDA low-income senior projects and one USDA low-income family project were purchased by SICHA in Payette and Middleton, Idaho.

In 2009, one USDA low-income family project was purchased by SICHA in Middleton, Idaho.