The housing choice voucher program, formerly known as Section 8, is the federal government’s program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market. Housing choice vouchers (HCV) are administered locally by public housing authorities (PHAs), such as the Housing Authorities of the City of Eureka and the County of Humboldt. The PHAs receive 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 choice voucher (HCV) is free to choose any housing that meets the requirements of the program. It is their responsibility to find a suitable housing unit within the private market where the owner/landlord agrees to rent under the HCV program and where the rental unit meets the minimum standards of health and safety as determined by the PHA. The family may even choose their current residence if approved by their landlord and the PHA.
Once the lease and voucher are approved, the rent is then paid directly to the landlord by both the PHA and the tenant. The PHA pays a portion of the rent, known as a “housing subsidy,” directly to the landlord on behalf of the participating family (Voucher Holder). The family pays the remaining portion of rent to the landlord.
You charge the same fair market rate for rent to an HCV participant as you would any other tenant. HUD has created guidelines for the fair market rents that cannot be exceeded. The Housing Authority encourages landlords to screen HCV participants as they would any other renter.
You sign your own lease with the tenant and a contract with Housing Authority. After the first year, the lease can be renewed on a month-to-month basis.
Participating landlords will receive timely housing assistance payments (HAP) each month by direct deposit or mail if requested. If your participating tenant has a loss in income and they report the loss to us in a timely manner, we will make the adjustment to pay a higher portion of the rent starting the following month.
Due to the lack of affordable housing, you should not worry about having high vacancy rates. Landlords can select their own criteria for tenants, as long as they follow local and federal fair housing guidelines.
Free annual inspections are designed to ensure the landlord’s property is kept in decent, safe, and sanitary condition and that all participants comply with federal Housing Quality Standards (HQS) set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Housing (HUD). Before your unit is rented to an HCV participant, it will be inspected, free of charge, to ensure it meets these standards. If the unit fails an inspection, you will have time to make the repairs.
NOTE: Emergency violations must be corrected or repaired within 48 hours. A unit must be in compliance with Housing Quality Standards (HQS).