The housing choice voucher program is the federal government's major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market. Since housing assistance is provided on behalf of the family or the individual, participants are able to find their own housing, including single-family homes, townhouses, and apartments.
The participant is free to choose any housing that meets the requirements of the program, and is not limited to units located in subsidized housing projects.
Housing choice vouchers are administered locally by the RHA. The RHA receives federal funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to administer the voucher program.
A family that is issued a housing voucher 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 health and safety, as determined by the RHA.
A housing subsidy is paid to the landlord directly by the RHA on behalf of the participating family. The family then pays the difference between the actual rent charged by the landlord and the amount subsidized by the program. Under certain circumstances, if authorized by the RHA, a family may use its voucher to purchase a modest home.
Eligibility for a housing voucher is determined by the RHA based on total annual gross income and family size and 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% of the median income for the county or metropolitan area in which the family chooses to live.
The following documents explain the components of the Housing Choice Voucher program: