The Housing Choice Voucher Program is a major program by the federal government to assist the very low income families, the disabled and the elderly to access safe, sanitary and decent housing available in the private market. Participants in this program are able to get their own housing including apartments and townhouses as well as single and family houses simply because the housing assistance is provided on the behalf of the individual or the family.
All the participants in the Housing Choice Voucher program have the liberty of choosing any dwelling units that meet the requirements of the programs and there is no limitation to the units located in areas with subsidized housing projects.
The administration of the housing choice vouchers is done locally by PHAs or Public Housing Agencies. The agencies are funded by the federal funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to oversee the voucher program.
If a family is issued with a housing voucher, it will be the responsibility of the family to search for and find a suitable family housing unit of their own choosing and which the owner will be willing to agree to rent under the program. Such a unit may include the family’s current resident. It is also important to note that such residential units must comply with the health and safety standards as defined by PHA.
Upon successful acceptance by the landlord, a housing subsidy will be paid to him directly by the PHA on behalf of the family. It will then be upon the family to pay what is remaining between the actual rent imposed by the landlord and the amount paid by the program. In some occasions and by the authority of the PHA, the family may use the voucher in purchasing a modest home in another location.
Eligibility for the Housing Choice Voucher Program
The eligibility for the housing choice voucher is determined by the PHA. It is usually based on the total gross income as well as the size of the family and it is limited to citizens of the United States and certain specified categories of non-citizens, but those with eligible immigration status.
In general, the family’s gross income may not be more than 50% of the area median income where the family prefers to live in. According to the law, the PHA has to provide 75% of the vouchers to applicants or families with incomes not exceeding 30% of the area median income.