Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program

Currently, the housing choice voucher (HCV) waiting list is closed. 

The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program has proven to be a good alternative to public housing, for it involves the private sector in helping resolve the affordable housing crisis in our City and throughout our Nation.

The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program provides monthly rental assistance payments to private landlords on behalf of low-income households who have been determined eligible by the Housing Authority. The program's objective is to allow lower income households access to safe, decent and affordable housing via the private rental market.

Eligible applicants are given a Voucher of participation and are instructed on how to search for and lease a private unit with their Section 8 Rental Assistance. The Housing Authority, through a rigorous income verification procedure, determines what amount constitutes 30% of the household's income. That amount of rent is what the household is required to pay to the landlord. The balance of the rent (up to a HUD determined Fair Market Rent that is set annually by bedroom size and Housing Authority verification of reasonable rent) is paid by the Housing Authority to the landlord on the first of every month. Because the federal government, via the Housing Authority, pays that portion of the rent the tenant household cannot afford, both the participating individuals and families and the landlords/property managers benefit from the program.

The Housing Choice Voucher program under Section 8 of the 1937 Act, as amended by the Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act (QHWRA) and commonly referred to as Section 8, is the largest U.S. housing subsidy program funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Locally, the Housing Authority of Texarkana Texas returns approximately $3 million per year to the community in the form of rental assistance payments to landlords participating on the program.

Federal and Local Agencies the Section 8 program is funded by HUD and administered by public housing agencies (PHAs) such as The Housing Authority of the City of Texarkana, Texas. These agencies have annual contracts with HUD to operate the program. The program's primary purpose is to provide rental assistance to low-income families for affordable decent, safe, and sanitary housing. Recipients of this assistance receive a voucher and use to rent homes in the private market. Eligibility for the voucher is based on a family's household income. PHAs may also establish local preferences or priorities for families receiving vouchers. For example, a housing authority may give a preference to a family who lives within a certain area. Seventy-five percent of new vouchers issued must be made available to families earning less than 30 percent of the area median income (AMI). The voucher covers a portion of the rent and the tenant is expected to pay the balance. The tenant's share of rent is an affordable percentage of their income, which is generally between 30 to 40 percent of their monthly adjusted gross income for rent and utilities.

Tenants:   The recipient searches for an apartment in the private market. When the recipient finds an apartment from a landlord willing to accept the voucher, the PHA will then inspect the rental unit to ensure that it meets the housing quality standards (HQs) of the program. If it does meet HQS and the rent is deemed appropriate for comparable rents for that size unit, the family and the landlord sign a lease. At the same time, the landlord and the Housing Authority sign a housing assistance payments (HAP) contract that lasts the length of the lease. The subsidy is paid to the landlord directly by the Housing Authority 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.

The family is required to comply with the lease and program requirements, pay its share of rent on time, maintain the unit in good condition and notify the Housing Authority of any changes in income or family composition. A family can move without jeopardizing its participation the program as long as it notifies the Housing Authority ahead of time, terminates its existing lease within the lease provisions and finds acceptable alternate housing.

A family in the Section 8 program may choose to exercise a "portability" right that allows it to use its voucher outside the boundaries of the Housing Authority's jurisdiction. This in essence means that a family can move anywhere in the United States and its territories where there is an agency that administers the Section 8 Program.