Housing Choice Voucher Program
The Housing Choice Voucher Program is a federally funded program, through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), designed to provide low to moderate income families with decent, safe, and affordable housing.
The 1974 Housing and Community Development Act created the Section 8 Program to assist low-income families pay their rent and give them an opportunity to obtain better housing that they otherwise could not afford. Today the program is called the “Housing Choice Voucher Program.”
irginia Housing Development Authority
The Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) is a state public housing agency that receives funding from HUD. VHDA is responsible for program administration in various localities all over the Commonwealth of Virginia. Campbell County is one of these localities.
VHDA contracts directly with HUD, and must comply with HUD rules and regulations. VHDA subcontracts with the Campbell County Department of Social Services to administer the program in our area. Housing Specialists, who are employees of the Department of Social Services in Campbell County, run the day-to-day operations following the policies and procedures set forth by VHDA.
For more information, please visit the VHDA website and the HUD website.
How does the program work for landlords?
Benefits to the landlords:
- Rental property is leased that otherwise might be vacant.
- Initial and annual inspections ensure the property is maintained in accordance with program guidelines.
- Part or all of the tenant’s rent is paid directly to the landlord each month.
Procedure for Landlords
Landlords enter into a 12-month lease agreement with the tenant and into a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Contract with VHDA. VHDA makes subsidized housing assistance payments to the landlord/property manager on behalf of the tenant. Landlords must enforce the terms of the lease agreement and comply with the terms of the HAP Contract. In addition, the landlord must maintain the property in accordance with Housing Quality Standards (HQS), which are standards specified by HUD. Discrimination is prohibited in this federally funded program.
Landlords are provided training opportunities once a year through this program on topics such as the Virginia Residential Landlord Tenant Act, Fair Housing, Hoarding, and more.
Basic Qualifications for Tenant Participation
- Family must meet residency requirements. Campbell County has a “local preference,” which means it gives preference to those families that live in, work, or have been hired to work in Campbell County first.
- Family must pass a criminal and sex offender background check.
- Family must meet income guidelines.
How to Apply for the Housing Choice Voucher Program
Step 1: Application Process
- Interested families apply to the Waiting List when it is open.
- The Waiting List must be open in order for persons to apply. Notices of openings are posted in the local newspaper, at Campbell County Department of Social Services, and on the VHDA website.
- Applications are taken online only.
- Applications are taken only during the designated times.
- Apply at https://vhda.apply4housing.com.
- Handheld devices, such as smart phones, iPhones, blackberries, tablets, etc. are not compatible.
- Paper applications are not available.
Step 2: Prescreening and Orientation Process
Once your name reaches the top of the Waiting List:
- Applicants are prescreened for program eligibility. During this process applicant families are screened for income eligibility, residency, and criminal history.
- Eligible applicants are required to attend an orientation where the program rules and regulations are explained.
- Vouchers are issued, if available.
Step 3: Seeking Housing
- Family is given sixty (60) days to find suitable housing.
- Unit must be within family’s Payment Standard and the rent must be reasonable.
- Perspective landlords must agree to participate in the program.
- Landlord and family must complete a Request for Tenancy Addendum (RFTA) form and submit the completed form to the family’s assigned Housing Specialist.
Step 4: Inspection Process
- The unit must meet Housing Quality Standards .An initial inspection must be conducted within 15 days of the receipt of the completed Request for Tenancy Approval form.
- If the unit does not meet Housing Quality Standards, the landlord must agree to bring the unit into program compliance. Should the landlord fail to bring the unit into program compliance, the family cannot use its subsidy there.
Step 5: Rent Calculations and Contracts
- Based on the family’s income, composition, allowances, deductions, etc., the Housing Specialist calculates the portion of the contract rent that is paid by the program verses the portion the family pays. The family pays their portion directly to the landlord. VHDA pays its portion directly to the landlord.
- Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) are made through direct deposit into the landlord’s financial institution only.
- The family is responsible for paying the landlord a security deposit.
- The landlord and the family sign a lease agreement.
- The landlord and the Campbell County Department of Social Services (on behalf of VHDA) sign a Housing Assistance Payment Contract.