The housing choice voucher program is a federally run government program that helps low-income families and elderly participants secure affordable and safe housing. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, manages the program.
The housing choice voucher program helps to provide housing in the private market, and participants in the program can seek their own housing depending on their specific needs. They are not limited to government subsidized housing, and can look for homes, apartments and townhouses that meet specific program health and safety standards. Although the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has responsibility for overall program administration, it works in conjunction with local public housing agencies to allocate vouchers, which are paid directly to the landlord by the agency.
The program is only available to U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens who fall within a specific eligibility category. Based on HUD requirements, each local housing agency determines eligibility and voucher amount, which depends on family size and gross income relative to the county or metropolitan area where the participant lives.
Obligations under the programs are similar to a landlord and tenant relationship. Tenants must sign a one-year lease and comply with program mandates by paying rent in a timely manner and ensuring the premises remain in good condition. Likewise, the landlord must provide a safe, well-maintained unit and meet program quality standards.