The Rental Assistance Program (RAP) is the major state-supported program for assisting very low-income families to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market. Participants find their own housing, including apartments, townhouses, and single-family homes. The participant is free to choose any private rental housing that meets the requirements of the program. RAP certificates are funded through the Department of Housing (DOH) and are administered statewide by DOH and its agent, J. D'ameila & Associates (JDA). JDA subcontracts operation of RAP to six local Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) and one Community Action Agency in the state. A family that is issued a RAP certificate is responsible for finding a suitable housing unit of the family's choice where the owner agrees to rent under the program. This unit may include the family's present residence. Rental units must meet minimum standards of quality and safety as defined by the State of Connecticut, which has adopted the federal housing Quality Standards (HQS) as established by the U.S. Department of housing and Urban Development (HUD). A housing subsidy is paid by JDA directly to the landlord on behalf of the participating family. The family pays the difference between the actual rent charged by the landlord and amount subsidized by the program. Who is Eligible? : Eligibility for a RAP certificate is determined based on the household's annual gross income and the state's definition of a family. Participation is limited to US citizens and specified categories of non-citizens who have eligible immigration status. In general, the family's income may not exceed 50 percent of the annual median income (AMI) for the county or metropolitan area in which the family chooses to live. Connecticut has adopted the AMI levels published by HUD. These levels vary by location throughout the state. During the application process, information on family composition, income, and assets is collected by the PHA. The PHA verifies this information and uses it to determine the family's eligibility and the amount of their housing assistance payment. If the PHA determines that a family is eligible, the PHA will place the family on a waiting list, unless it is able to assist them immediately. Once a family is chosen from the waiting list, the PHA will contact them and issue them a certificate. How does a family apply? : The department of Housing will re-open the waiting list to accept applications when most people on the waiting list have been served. When the list is about to be opened, a notice and pre-application form will be placed in local newspapers as well as on the DOH web-site.