The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program Overview

The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program Overview

The Housing Choice Voucher Program is the Federal Government’s major program for assisting very low to moderate 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, condominiums and apartments.

The participant is free to choose any housing that meets the requirements of the program. Housing Choice Vouchers are administered locally by public housing agencies (PHAs) like the nine PHAs we service here at Imagineers (see a list of PHAs we administer under the Rental Assistance Programs tab). The PHA’s we administer housing programs for receive federal funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to administer the voucher program.  These funds are then used to pay housing assistance payments (HAP) to property owners and to perform the associated administrative requirements of the program. 

A family that is issued a Housing Choice Voucher is responsible for selecting a suitable housing unit of the family’s choice where the property 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. A housing subsidy is paid to the property owner directly by Imagineers on behalf of the participating family. The family then pays the difference between the actual rent charged by the property owner and the amount subsidized by Imagineers. Learn more about the HCV program below. When you’re ready to sign up, see the “Steps to Becoming a Property Owner in the HCV Program” section below.


Roles and Responsibilities

The HCV program has many partners. A summary of each party’s role is below.

HUD: HUD provides funds to allow PHAs to make housing assistance payments on behalf of the HCV tenant. HUD monitors the PHA’s administration of the program to ensure policies and regulations are properly followed.

Public Housing Agency: The PHA administers the HCV program locally and provides the HCV tenant with the housing assistance. The PHA must examine the tenant’s income and household composition and ensure that the housing unit meets minimum housing quality standards. The PHA enters into a contract with the property owner to provide housing assistance payments on behalf of the family.

Property owner: The role of the property owner in the voucher program is to provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing to a tenant at a reasonable rent. The dwelling unit must pass the program’s housing quality standards and be maintained up to those standards as long as the owner receives housing assistance payments. In addition, the property owner is expected to provide services as agreed to in the lease signed with the voucher family and the contract signed with the PHA.

Tenant: When a voucher family selects a housing unit, they are expected to comply with the lease and the program requirements, pay their share of rent on time, maintain the unit in good condition, and notify the PHA of any changes in income or family composition.