What is the Housing Choice Voucher Program?
The Housing Choice Voucher Program (formerly known as Section 8) provides tenant-based assistance, in the form of a voucher, to low-income families, for rental units of their choice in the private market. Program participants choose from a variety of housing options, including apartments, duplexes, single-family homes and townhomes. Vouchers can also be used to help families buy homes.
How does the Housing Choice Voucher Program work?
Program participants issued a housing voucher are responsible for finding a suitable housing unit of their choice where the owner agrees to rent under the program. The unit may include the participant's present residence. Rental units must meet minimum standards of health and safety, as determined by the Houston Housing Authority.
A housing subsidy is paid to the property owner directly by the Housing Authority on behalf of the participant. The participant then pays the difference between the actual rent charged by the property owner and the amount subsidized by the program. A participant's rent is usually about 30 percent of their monthly income.
What are the requirements to be in this program?
Income eligibility limits for the voucher program are set by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as percentages of the local area median income. The incomes below are the maximum household income based on the number of family members in the household. Only applicants who meet the following income limits are eligible.
View the current Income Limits.
How can I receive immediate housing? How do I apply?
The Housing Authority of the City of El Paso (HACEP) does not provide immediate or emergency housing. However, at this time HACEP is accepting applications for both the Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher (S8) programs. Once an application is filled out, applicants are placed on a waiting list according to the date and time of their application, size of the unit for which they qualify (public housing only) and local preference for which they may qualify.
Where am I on the waiting list?
Once a preapplication form is successfully submitted through our online application form, it typically takes 2-6 years to receive an appointment for an interview with one of our eligibility technicians due to high demand and limited federal resources. If you would like to know approximately how much waiting time remains, please contact us (915) 849-3742 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the full name of the applicant and the last four digits of that person's social security number.
What are the current utility allowances for the HCV (S8) Program?
View the current Utility Allowances.
How much is my voucher worth?
The value of your voucher is determined by the number of bedrooms you need, based on the size of your household. These are called the "Payment Standards". The Payment Standards are adjusted each year around the first of January to reflect changes in the rental market.
View the current Utility Allowances. * Please note that adjustments are made to account for tenant utility costs and apartment condition, age and amenities.
What if someone in my family does not have a Social Security number/card?
It is required that Social Security cards are submitted for everyone in your household, if they have a Social Security number. If any family member does not have a Social Security number, they must submit a signed certification that they have no number. If you cannot find your card or you've never had a Social Security number, we will accept copies of documents that show your proof of eligible immigration status.
What if someone in my family does not have a photo I.D.?
It is required that photo I.D.'s are submitted for everyone in your household over the age of 18. There are no exceptions.
What if someone in my family does not have a birth certificate?
It is required that either birth certificates or passports be submitted for everyone in your household. The only exceptions are children under 6 years old. If you cannot get the identification needed by your designated deadline, we will accept receipts of purchase showing that you've purchased a replacement birth certificate.
What protection do I have as a tenant if the property I reside in is being foreclosed?
Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act-Guidance on New Tenant Protections
Do you have a program for homeownership?
HACEP does have a Homeownership Program. Residents must be in the HCV Rental program for a year and be a first-time home buyer or cannot have owned a home in the last three years. A minimum of $3,000 must also be contributed toward the down payment, closing cost or reserves. Residents must then qualify for a first lien mortgage and have received first mortgage financing from a private financial institution. Lastly, a HACEP-approved home buyer training course must be passed. Please visit our Homeownership page to learn more.