The Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP) 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 individual, participants are able to find their own housing, including single-family homes, townhouses and apartments 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 Housing Authority of the County of Contra Costa (HACCC). HACCC 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 anywhere in HACCC’s jurisdiction where the owner agrees to rent under the program and the rent is within the maximum that HACCC permits landlords to charge. This unit may include the family’s present residence. Rental units must meet minimum standards of health and safety, as determined by the PHA. Under portability, the family is also eligible to move to the jurisdictions of other local housing authorities.
Once the family finds suitable housing at an approvable rent, the owner screens the family for suitability and the family and owner enter into a lease. HACCC then enters into a contract with the owner. A housing subsidy is paid to the landlord directly by the PHA on behalf of the participating family. The family pays the difference between the actual rent charged by the landlord and the amount subsidized by the program. Under certain circumstances, if authorized by HACCC, a family may use its voucher to purchase a home.
HACCC continues to make payments to the owner as long as the family is eligible and the housing unit continues to qualify under the program. If the family moves, the assistance continues and follows the tenant.
For more information regarding the HCV program, see HUD’s Housing Choice Vouchers Fact Sheet.
Landlords: Click here for more information about the Section 8 HCV Program, including the advantages of the program, and how to list your available unit and do business with HACCC
WHO IS ELIGIBLE
To be considered eligible for HACCC’s Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program, all applicants must:
- Qualify as a family as defined by HUD and HACCC standards.
- Have an income at or below the HUD-specified income limits.
- Have at least one member of the family who is a citizen, national, or noncitizen with eligible immigration status.
- Consent to HACCC’s collection and use of family information as seen in HACCC’s provided consent forms.
HOW THE PROGRAM WORKS
Once an applicant has been issued a voucher for the HCV Program, the family may begin to search for a unit of their choice. HACCC only provides rental assistance for units located within Contra Costa County, though applicants may use their voucher outside of Contra Costa County through the porting process.
When a family in possession of a voucher finds a unit they would like to request to lease and has reached an agreement with the landlord regarding lease terms, HACCC must inspect the unit using HUD’s Housing Quality Standards (HQS). All units must pass an HQS inspection prior to the approval of the lease.
Upon the unit’s passing of the inspection and the contract rent has been approved, the owner and the tenant must sign a lease for the approved reasonable rent and the owner must sign a Housing Assistance Payment contract with HACCC.
Each month landlords will receive two separate rent payments, one from the HCV Program participant and one from HACCC.