The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to provide rental subsidy to low-income families, the elderly and persons with disabilities who wish to live in privately-owned housing and receive rental assistance. Participants are issued a “voucher” in an amount determined by income and family composition, and then search for a housing unit in which they would like to live. Private landlords have no obligation to participate in the HCV program, but many choose to do so. When an HCV Participant finds a unit in which the individual or family wishes to live, there are a range of conditions that the housing unit needs to meet in order to be approved for participation, including standards related to the condition of the unit, called Housing Quality Standards (links to landlord page). If approved, the HCV participant enters into a lease agreement with the landlord, and Reading Housing Authority enters in to a contract with the landlord. In most cases, the tenant (participant) pays a portion of the rent to the landlord, and RHA pays the remainder.
RHA receives HUD funding to directly assist approximately 600 families in the City of Reading.
Housing Choice Vouchers are portable, which means that a participant may move anywhere within the United States or its territories where there is a HUD-recognized public housing agency and continue to receive assistance.
In order to participate in the HCV Program, the participant and the landlord must comply with certain HUD regulations. The set of rules for the participant is documented on the Voucher, and the obligations for the landlord are described in the Housing Assistance Payment contract.