The Role of HUD and Your PHA Role in the Housing Choice (Section 8) Voucher Program

Researcher & Writer
January 18, 2016

The Housing Choice (Section 8) Voucher program is funded by the U.S. Department of Urban Development (HUD) and administered through local Public Housing Agencies (PHAs). Each party plays a significant role in the execution of the program, but what exactly is that role?

HUD funds cover the cost of the program. The agency is responsible for giving these funds to PHAs, who then make subsidized rent payment to landlords on behalf on tenants enrolled in the program. PHAs also receive money from HUD to cover administration of the program. If additional funds come in, HUD requests funding applications from PHAs for additional vouchers to serve new families. HUD reviews the applications and awards funds based on the proposals. HUD is also responsible for overseeing the program in its entirety to make sure program guidelines are being followed at all times.

PHAs are responsible for carrying out the Housing Choice (Section 8) Voucher program in their area. The first step is determining participant eligibility. If a family is eligible, the PHA will process their application. Your PHA will calculate how much rent your family is responsible for paying and what a reasonable rent payment is in the area you will be living. Both determine how much rent your voucher will cover.

Once a family is enrolled and picked a place they’d like to live, the PHA must inspect the home to ensure it meets Housing Quality Standards. This same inspection is done on an annual basis. The lease between the landlord and tenant will be reviewed by the PHA. The PHA will also execute an agreement with the landlord called a Housing Assistance Payment Contract. Once those are in place, a family is ready to move in.

After moving in, your PHA will pay the housing voucher amount directly to your landlord. Even though the PHA has the authority to step in to resolve issues between a tenant and landlord, they are not likely to do so unless the situation escalates. It is preferred that issues be worked out through the tenant and landlord without the PHA’s involvement. 

A PHA's role is to ensure the program is functioning according to the guidelines set by HUD. PHAs will certify continued eligibility of families and suitability of the homes being rented with voucher assistance. The PHA reserves the right to request information from the tenant at any time to confirm their eligibility status or the condition of the home.

Written by
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