Effective September 21, amendments to HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program – the government’s largest program for assisting low-income, elderly, and disabled populations in the private housing market – will change the portability process. Portability enables a voucher holder to use the voucher assistance to move outside of the jurisdiction of the public housing authority (HA) that initially issued it. Unfortunately, the current portability regulations and guidance are often unwieldy for many HAs, and in some cases have led to disputes, delayed payments, and other unintended consquences. HUD indicates that the amendments seek to better define the roles between HAs if the family moves into another PHA’s jurisdiction, improve billing arrangements in portability cases, and allow families to more easily lease and rent homes in their favored locations. Hopefully, the new regulations will achieve HUD’s intended results.
The new regulatory provisions include the following changes:
- Mandatory absorption (when HAs absorb the HCV into their own portfolio rather than bill the initial HA) requirements are removed; mandatory voucher suspension notifications are clarified.
- HAs must notify local HUD offices within 10 days of any portability moves that were denied due to lack of funding.
- Vouchers issued by the receiving HA to the family must be given expiration dates no less than 30 calendar days from the expiration of the initial HA voucher.
- All parties involved in portability must be briefed on how portability works and the benefits of living in low-poverty areas.
- Families are allowed to choose the receiving HA if they use portability.
Additional information, detailed regulations, and comments on HUD’s final rule is available.