The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program currently provides rental assistance to approximately 4,700 households, and approximately 25,000 individuals in the greater Pima County area. Over the past year, the City of Tucson returned over $25 million to the community in the form of Housing Assistance Payments to more than 1,800 participating property owners.
Eligibility for the Housing Choice Voucher program is based on a family's household income. The voucher covers a portion of the rent and the family is expected to pay the balance. The family share is an affordable percentage of their income and is generally calculated to be between 30 to 40 percent of their monthly-adjusted gross income for rent and utilities.
The HCV recipient searches for housing in the private market. Eligible housing units for the program include single family dwellings, town houses and apartments including the family's current residence if the recipient is new to the program. When the recipient finds a unit from a landlord willing to accept the HCV, the Housing Authority inspects the rental unit to ensure it meets housing quality standards (HQS) for the program. If the unit passes the Authority's minimum standards for health and safety and the requested rent is deemed appropriate for comparable rents for that size unit, the family and the landlord execute a lease agreement. At the same time, the landlord and the Housing Authority sign a Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) Contract for rental subsidy to be paid directly to the landlord 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.
Landlords must comply with the lease agreement signed with the family and the HAP contract signed with the Housing Authority. Should the landlord fail to meet his or her obligations, the Authority may suspend or terminate payments. The family is required to comply with the lease, program requirements, pay its share of rent on time, maintain the unit in good condition and notify the landlord and the Housing Authority of any changes in their family composition or income. A family can move and continue its participation in the program as long as they notify the Housing Authority ahead of time and terminate the existing lease within the lease provisions. The family is then free to seek another housing unit in Tucson or the family may request the portability option to possibly move outside of the Housing Authority's jurisdiction.
The Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation Program (Mod Rehab) is a unit-based rental subsidy program for low to moderate-income individuals and families. While the Housing Authority administers the program, HUD provides rent subsidy payments to private and nonprofit property owners for rental units rehabilitated under this program. These subsidies provide both a rental subsidy to the family as well as funds to service the debt incurred by the property owner for the unit’s rehabilitation. Mod Rehab assistance is not transferable. Participants in the Mod Rehab program may only receive rental assistance if they are living in a Mod Rehab unit. If they move from a Mod Rehab unit, they will lose their assistance. Some Mod Rehab units are set-aside for the elderly, disabled and homeless.
Mainstream Vouchers are a special allocation of vouchers designed to assist families/individual with disabilities. The Mainstream program vouchers are targeted towards persons with disabilities who face difficulties in locating suitable, accessible housing and living independently in the private market. Only a family that includes a disabled person and is income eligible may receive a Mainstream program voucher. The Tucson Housing Authority administers 50 Mainstream vouchers for special needs clients. Mainstream program recipients are selected from the Mainstream waiting list. Referrals/applications are submitted by partner agencies.
HCV Portability refers to the option whereby a program participant or applicant is allowed to move to the jurisdiction of another housing authority and still retain their voucher. A participant in good standing may transfer their subsidy anywhere in the United States (including Guam, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands and the Canal zone) where there is an Agency administering the HCV program. Families can request a portability transfer at any time, assuming the proper notification of the intent to vacate was given to the current landlord. However, program regulations provide that at any time, the Housing Authority may deny permission to move if the Housing Authority does not have sufficient funding for an increase in assistance.
The eligible household must qualify as "Extremely Low Income" which is defined by HUD as 30% of the Area Median Income. Family income includes salaries, wages, tips, interest from assets, pensions, social security, assistance from grants, etc. for all household members.
The following chart provides the current income limits by family size to qualify for assistance:
30% of Median Income
Extremely Low Income
50% of Median Income
Very Low Income
80% of Median Income
The area median family income is $55,000.
Housing Choice Voucher Family Obligations
Federal regulations require certain obligations and responsibilities on the part of the family for continued participation. If a family fails to meet these obligations, their participation in the Housing Choice Voucher program may be terminated.
- The family must supply any information or certification that the Housing Authority (HA) or HUD determines is necessary in the administration of the program, including submission of required evidence of citizenship or eligible immigration status.
- The family must supply any information requested by HA or HUD for use in a regularly scheduled reexamination or interim reexamination of family income and composition.
- The family must disclose and verify social security numbers and must sign and submit consent forms for obtaining information.
- Any information supplied by the family must be true and complete.
- The family is responsible for damages caused by the family or its guests.
- The family must allow the HA to inspect the unit at reasonable times and after reasonable notice.
- The family or any member(s) of the household may not commit any serious or repeated violation(s) of the lease.
- The family must give proper written notice to the HA and the landlord before the family moves out of the unit, or terminates the lease with the landlord.
- The family must promptly give HA a copy of any owner eviction notice.
- The family must use the assisted unit for residence by the family. The unit must be the family's only residence.
- The composition of the assisted family residing in the unit must be approved by the HA. The family must promptly inform HA of the birth, adoption or court-awarded custody of a child. The family must request HA approval to add any other family member as an occupant of the unit. Only members of the assisted family may reside in the unit except for a HA approved foster child or live-in aide.
- The family must promptly notify the HA if any family member no longer resides in the unit.
- The family must not sublease the unit or assign the lease or transfer the unit.
- The family must promptly notify the HA of absence from the unit.
- The family must not own or have any interest in the unit.
- The members of the family must not commit fraud, bribery or any other corrupt or criminal act in connection with the program.
- The members of the family may not engage in drug-related criminal activity, or violent criminal activity.
- An assisted family, or members of the family, may not receive HCV tenant-based assistance while receiving another housing subsidy, for the same unit or for a different unit.