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Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP) | Eligibility, Benefits, Income Limit & How to Apply ?

Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP)


What is the Housing Choice Voucher Program ?


The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, the country's largest rent assistance program, helps elderly and disabled and low-income families find safe, decent and hygienic housing units in the private market. Housing Choice Voucher programs help lift more than one million people nationwide each year out of poverty and give families the opportunity to move to safer, less impoverished neighborhoods. The HCV program provides a number of benefits to the communities as a whole and the families participating in the program, including :
  • Reducing homelessness
  • Increasing housing sustainability
  • Poverty alleviation
  • Helping low-paid workers
  • Providing families with access to better schools and safer neighborhoods
  • Reducing costs in health care and other public services
  • Allowing persons with disabilities and senior citizens to live independently
The Housing Choice Voucher Program primarily assists low-income families and people with disabilities to find affordable and safe housing in the private market. Local public housing agencies (PHAs) issue Housing Choice Vouchers to eligible families. HCVP is funded by the federal Department of Urban Development (HUD).

HCVP is also commonly referred to as Section 8 Accommodation. PHAs determine Section 8 eligibility for their area based on family size and income. In general, a family's income must be less than 50% of their area's median income to qualify for Section 8, but this qualification can vary by city and state.

Housing assistance often takes the form of rental assistance, which allows low-income renters to find their own unit, includes 1.2 million units of public housing, a voucher program, and privately-owned subsidized housing units. The main objective of HCVP is to ensure that low-income households do not spend more than 30% of their income on rent. Local agencies administer it to 2.2 million households.

Applicants are free to choose any accommodation that meets the program requirements. The selected housing option must meet minimum standards of safety and health set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Bucks County Housing Authority (BCHA).

Families and individuals who qualify for the voucher can live anywhere. These vouchers can be used in any residential neighborhood that meets PHA's safety and health requirements. Voucher recipients have to find their accommodation under HCVP. The housing subsidy is paid by the PHA directly to the landlord of the kidney.

The individual or family is responsible for paying the difference between the amount subsidized by the voucher program and the market value of the rent. Under specific requirements, a family can use the voucher to purchase a modest home in an affordable neighborhood, however, according to the HUD website, the transaction must be authorized by the PHA.
 

Understanding the Housing Choice Voucher Program


The Housing Choice Voucher Program was established by the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 although it was an amendment to Section 8 of the Housing Act of 1937. (Housing Choice Voucher Program Guidebook)

HCVP works with public housing agency to find accommodation. Families can use their vouchers to pay for individual residences ranging from single-family private residences to apartments. These vouchers are not limited to subsidized housing projects (the family can choose any property). Once they choose, a landlord has the option of whether or not to agree to participate in the program. If the landlord agrees, the landlord receives the subsidy directly from the housing authority that issued the voucher and the tenants must pay the difference.

Landlords may prefer to participate in programs because they are guaranteed to receive a portion of the rent each month, even if the tenants experience financial hardship. The landlord is required to meet minimum sanitary and safety conditions, if the house refuses to meet these standards, the housing authority can cancel the subsidy at any time.

Note :
Mortgage loan discrimination is illegal. If you believe you have been discriminated against on the basis of religion, race, marital status, national origin, age, disability, there are steps you can take. A similar move You can file a report with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

What is Section 8 Housing ?


Another name for the Housing Choice Voucher Program is Section 8, which is funded and run by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

How Does A Housing Choice Voucher Work ?


The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program (formerly called the Section 8 Program) is managed by DHA's Compass Point Select team. DHA vouchers receive federal funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to manage the program. HCVP works with the Public Housing Agency to help families locate housing and participating landlords.

The Housing Choice Voucher Program is designed to expand housing options by allowing low-income families and the disabled to search for rental housing in the private market. When a low-income family is invited to participate in the program, HACP issues a housing voucher to that family. The voucher identifies the size of the unit the family is eligible for, as well as the maximum amount of monthly rent that the family can pay. Using the voucher information, the voucher holder searches for an affordable rental unit that best matches the housing needs of the family. The Housing Choice Voucher online briefing gives tenants through the HCV program how it works.

The Voucher Program helps participating families pay for housing in the private market, such as condominiums, apartments, townhouses, duplexes and single-family homes. Participating households contribute 30-40% of their income towards rent and utilities and the balance is paid by the CHA directly to the property owner.

Typically, when a voucher becomes available, eligibility is screened and the family at the top of the waiting list is contacted. After being selected from the waiting list, the family has to follow the below mentioned steps :
  • Apply and interview
  • Attend a voucher briefing
  • Select a unit, submit a Request for Tenancy Approval
  • Await inspection results
  • Await rent determination
  • Sign the lease
  • Move in, pay rent and utilities
  • Comply with HUD and CHA’s rules and regulations
After entry into the program, families must re-establish eligibility approximately every two years. All household members must comply with the terms of the lease with the property owner and the CHA's family obligations to remain in good standing in the program.

Key Features of Housing Choice Voucher Program


  • The Housing Choice Voucher Program is a rental housing assistance solution that puts housing choices in the hands of the family or individual.
  • HCVP helps low-income families or people with disabilities find affordable private housing.
  • HCVP is also known as Section 8 Housing.
  • The program offers vouchers to low-income renters who pay about 70% of their utilities and monthly rent.
  • HCVP eligibility is based on family size and income.
  • Under this program, landlords must follow strict HUD procedures when it comes to evicting tenants.

Requirements for Housing Vouchers


To qualify for the Housing Choice Voucher Program, family size and income requirements must be met. These figures are based on average family size and income for the region. Wait times to be approved are often long, and preference will be given to families who are currently living in substandard housing conditions, paying increased rental costs or are homeless. More than 50% of the regional average is considered increased rental costs.

Families are able to move from one housing unit to another due to the addition of family members and changes in income or job status. HCVP thus tries to provide mobility without losing housing benefits. With this program the beneficiaries with the vouchers sign leases with the property owners. With subsidized housing, residents sign leases with property managers (who oversee federally-owned projects).

Eligibility for Housing Choice Voucher Program 


To qualify for the HCV program, applicant households must meet the following eligibility requirements :
  • Meet HUD’s definition of family
  • Meet income limits specified by HUD
  • Qualify on the basis of eligible immigrant status or citizenship
  • Provide Social Security number information
  • Pass screening process
  • Sign required consent forms
  • To be eligible for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, the household must be either a single household or an individual whose income does not exceed the area limit set by HUD.
  • Only individuals or applicants who meet very low and very low-income standards are eligible for this program.
  • Low-income standards are used only when, in certain circumstances, owners change from a project-based to a tenant-based program.
  • 75% of new entrants to tenant-based programs and 40% of new entrants to project-based programs must be very low-income. Remaining new entrants cannot exceed the very low income limit.

HUD establishes annual income limits by family size as follows :

1) Extremely Low-Income : 
Income does not exceed the higher of the federal poverty level or 30% of area median income

2) Very Low-income : 
50% of area median income

3) Low-income : 
80% of area median income.

The HUD income range for the San Diego area is in the table below :

FY 2021 HCV Program Income Limits (Effective 04/01/2021) 

Number of
Persons

 Extremely
Low-Income

Very Low-Income
50% of Median 

 Low-Income
80% of Median

1

$25,450

$42,450

$69,900

2

$29,100

$48,500

$77,600

3

$32,750

$54,550

$87,300

4

$36,350

$60,600

$97,000

5

$39,300

$65,450

$104,800

6

$42,200

$70,300

$112,550

7

$45,100

$75,150 

$120,300

8

$48,000

$80,000

$128,050 


Portability


Effective January 1, 2017, the CHA will bill the initial PHA for the Participant's Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) and the fee associated with administering the voucher. The household to whom a housing option voucher has been issued, an eligible household or individual where a housing agency is operating an HCV program, may use the voucher to lease a unit anywhere in the United States. This feature of HCVP is known as portability.

Payment Standards


The payment standard is the maximum amount of subsidy that the housing authority is allowed to pay on behalf of our customers for rental assistance as per the size of their bedrooms. It is based on the Fair Market Rent Study (of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development). There is an extremely low-income group and low-income group for the Housing Choice Voucher Program. Public housing is for the low income. The income limit is determined by the number of family members in the household at the time of admission to the program applied for. Payment Standards (Effective Date 03/01/2022) :

Housing Size 

Payment Amount 

 Studio

 $1428

 1 Bedroom

 $1,584

 2 Bedroom

 $2,028

 3 Bedroom

 $2,820

 4 Bedroom

 $3,444

 5 Bedroom

 $3,961


Reporting Changes in Income or Household


If there is a change in the structure of your home, including the birth of a child or marriage, you must notify your caseworker of this change in writing within 10 calendar days of the change. Caseworkers cannot accept changes over the phone, so please do not call. Please attach copies of marriage license, birth certificate or other relevant documents.
  • All income changes must also be reported in writing within 10 calendar days. If you get a pay increase or a new job, please attach copies of pay stubs (at least 2). If you lose the job, attach your original termination or layoff notice. (Please ensure that your employer's address is on these documents)
  • Remember that failure to report changes may result in the termination of your assistance.
  • Mail these documents with the complete change notice.

Utility Allowance


HCV program participants pay about 30% of their income for rent and utilities. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) defines "Rent" as Total Tenant Payment (TTP) to include both the cost for utilities and shelter in a reasonable amount. The prescribed amount is the required cover utility allowance for the reasonable utility cost of the resident. Utility Allowance (Effective Date 10/01/2021) :

 Utility

  Studio  

1 Bedroom

2 Bedroom

3 Bedroom

4 Bedroom 

5 Bedroom

 Gas Heating

$4.00

$6.00

$7.00

$9.00

$11.00

$13.00

 Electric Heating

$5.00

$7.00

$9.00

$11.00

$14.00

$17.00

 Gas Cooking

$2.00

$3.00

$4.00

$5.00

$6.00

$7.00

 Electric Cooking 

$3.00

$4.00

$5.00

$6.00

$8.00

$9.00

 Gas Water Heating

$8.00

$11.00

$15.00

$18.00

$23.00

$26.00

 Electric Water Heating 

$11.00

$15.00

$19.00

$24.00

$30.00

$34.00

 Other Electric (Lights, Etc.)

$16.00

$23.00

$29.00

$36.00

$45.00

$52.00

 Water

$60.00

$84.00 

$108.00 

$132.00 

$168.00 

$192.00

 Sewer

$20.00

$28.00

$36.00

$43.00

$55.00

$63.00

 Trash

$30.00

 Refrigerator

$6.00

 Stove/Microwave

$10.00


How to Apply For a Housing Voucher ?


To apply for a housing voucher or section 8 housing choice voucher program, first of all, you need to find out if you are eligible for HCVP. There are specific income-related requirements that you must meet in order to qualify for a housing voucher. If you meet these requirements, you can apply for Section 8 Housing application or HCVP, you will need to contact your local public assistance housing agency to start the application process. (Housing Choice Vouchers Fact Sheet)

BCHA will collect information about family assets, income and family structure during the application process. If BCHA determines that your family is eligible, will issue you a housing voucher.

Accommodation Choice Voucher policies vary by PHA, so you will need to contact your local PHA for application details. You will need to provide information about your income and family so that PHA can determine your eligibility. If you are eligible, your PHA will let you know and put your name on a waiting list. When your name appears on the list, the PHA will provide you with a housing voucher. Vouchers are limited, so the waiting list can be very long. PHAs can also give priority to families facing extraordinary hardship.

More Information and Support


Find out detailed information about the Housing Choice Voucher Program in the fact sheet from HUD.

For specific information about voucher opportunities near you, contact your local PHA. Find their contact information here.

If you're having trouble reaching your nearest PHA, your local HUD office can also help.

Section 8 HCV documents are available in PDF format. The documents will need to be printed, completed and submitted in person at the Housing Authority office or via mail.

HCV Participant Resources


1) Find HCV Housing :
Find Housing Choice Voucher Units on the GoSection8.com website, this website Section 8 - a national database of HCV rental units, which allows customers to search Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) rentals. GoSection8.com also allows landlords and owners to list their properties online.

2) Deconcentration Brochure :
HCVP allows you to select the units of your choice. Shop wisely so that you and your family find a unit that meets your needs. There is a deconcentration/mobility brochure that will help you make an informed decision.

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