HCV Program (Section 8) - Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program?

The Housing Choice Voucher Program provides housing assistance in the form of vouchers to families. The HCV Program offers the opportunity for low-income families to rent from a landlord in the private rental market. A family issued a housing voucher is responsible for finding a suitable housing unit where the owner agrees to rent under the program. 

How does the Housing Choice Voucher Program work?

Program participants who are issued a housing voucher are responsible for finding a suitable housing unit of their choice from an owner who 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 HACV.

A housing subsidy is paid to the property owner directly by HACV 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?

To Participate in the Housing Choice Voucher Program, applicants must:

  • Qualify as a family.
  • Have a combined income under the established income limits.
  • Disclose and verify Social Security Numbers for each household member.
  • Be a U. S. Citizen or National or meet eligible non-citizen immigration status.
  • Have no history of drug/alcohol abuse and/or have record of violent crime.
  • Have no household member that is subject to lifetime registration under any State sex offender law.
  • Have no household member that owes money to any housing authority.
  • Each household member must comply with the requirement to sign release information authorization and/or consent forms.
  • Full Eligibility Criteria and Details can be found in the Administrative Plan (Link here)


Income Eligibility

Income eligibility limits for the voucher program are set by the Office of 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.

FY 2021 Income Limit Area: Victoria

Median Family Income : $74,400

No. of Family Members

30% of Median

Very Low Income


Low Income



































For more information on the calculation the area median income and income limits click here:

Income Limits

FY 2021 Income Limits Documentation System -- Summary for Victoria County, Texas (huduser.gov) https://www.huduser.gov/portal/datasets/il/il2021/2021summary.odn?states=48.0&data=2021&inputname=METRO47020M47020*4846999999%2BVictoria+County&stname=Texas&statefp=48&year=2021&selection_type=county

Area Median Income

FY 2021 Income Limits Documentation System - Median Income Calculation for Victoria County, Texas (huduser.gov) https://www.huduser.gov/portal/datasets/il/il2021/2021MedCalc.odn



How long will my wait be?

The average wait is 1-2 years however this vary depending on funding and voucher availability. You will be called from the waitlist in the order that you applied according to date/time.


What should I do if my address, family composition, and/or family income changes while I'm on the waiting list?

You must notify the HA in writing of any change in contact information (address or phone number) or family composition. If you do not notify the HA in writing of a change of address, and any correspondence sent to you is returned, or if you do not respond to a scheduled appointment or any request for additional information, you will be removed from the waiting list and will need to reapply.


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 who has 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 years.


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.


What will the application be like?

You will need to organize all documents so that you can bring them with you when you apply. If you will need assistance with reading/writing, please contact the HACV in advance to ensure that someone will be available to assist you when you arrive. When you bring in your application, the associate assisting you will make copies of all required documents. The associate will review all of your paperwork to make sure that everything is complete. You will be asked to return with any documents that you failed to provide at this meeting within 10 calendar days.


What happens after I apply?

An associate will review all of your paperwork to determine eligibility. A criminal background check is conducted to verify that no household members are ineligible. Your income is evaluated to make sure that you are income eligible. Those who are over income, Registered sex offenders, anyone who does not meet the criminal screening criteria, and those who owe any Housing Agency money, are not eligible. Once you have provided all requested documents, you will receive a determination letter by mail within 30 days.


I received a denial letter, what do I do next?

If you are denied due to income, you will be removed from the waiting list as you are not eligible for the program. If you are denied due to criminal background, you may request an informal hearing in writing by the deadline stated on the letter. You must complete this request and have it submitted to our office by the specified deadline.

I received an appointment letter to attend the Voucher Issuance Briefing, what do I do next?

Congratulations! By receiving this letter, you now know that you have been approved for the HCV Program. Keep the appointment letter in a safe place so that you do not lose your appointment date and time.

What will the Voucher Issuance Briefing be like?

The program will be explained to you in great detail and you will receive all necessary documents to begin searching for a unit. You will leave knowing how the program works, what unit size you are able to search for, and what price range you must stay within.

How can I become part of this rental assistance program?

Eligibility for a rental voucher is determined by the total annual gross income and family size and is limited to U.S. citizens and specified categories of non-citizens who have eligible immigration status. In general, the family’s income may not exceed 50% of the area median income. Median income levels are published by HUD and vary by location. During the application process, the Housing Authority will collect information to determine program eligibility and the amount of the rental assistance payment. If the Housing Authority determines that your family is eligible, The Housing Authority will then put your name on a waiting list. Once your name is reached on the waiting list, the Housing Authority will contact you and issue to you a rental voucher.

Where can I live?

Once your family has been issued a Housing Choice Voucher by the Housing Authority, you can search the private rental market in your community for a housing unit that is decent, safe and sanitary according to Housing Quality Standards (HQS) established by HUD and the local Housing Authority. (The HA will provide you with a copy of the HUD booklet “A Good Place to Live!” to guide you in finding a unit that meets these standards.) When you have found a suitable unit and the owner agrees to lease the unit to your family under the housing choice voucher program, the Housing Authority will inspect the unit to assure that it is suitable. After the unit passes HQS Inspection and the rent has been approved, the landlord and tenant enter a lease for an initial term of one year. The Housing Authority and the landlord sign a Housing Assistance Payments Contract through which the rent is assisted on your behalf. You will be responsible for the monthly payment of the difference between the total rent and the Housing assistance payment.

Can I move and continue to receive this assistance?

A family’s housing needs change over time with changes in family size, job locations, and for other reasons. The Housing Choice Voucher Program is designed to allow families to move without the loss of rental assistance. Moves are allowed as long as the family notifies HACV ahead of time, terminates its existing lease within the appropriate provisions, and finds acceptable alternate housing.

Under the voucher program, new voucher holders may choose a unit anywhere in the United States if the family lived within the jurisdiction of HACV at the time the family applies for rental assistance. Those new voucher holders not living within the jurisdiction of HACV at the time the family applies for rental assistance must initially lease a unit within that jurisdiction for the first twelve months of assistance. A family that wishes to move to another Housing Authority’s jurisdiction must consult with the Housing Authority that currently administers its rental assistance to verify the procedures for moving.

What is the term of the lease and contract?

New voucher holders must lease the first unit for a one-year period. After the initial year, you may renew the lease for a specified time period (ex. month-to-month, six months, etc.). You may vacate after the term of the initial lease expires with a written notice to the Housing Authority and the landlord (See you landlord lease agreement for term of notice required). If you remain in the unit, you are recertified for eligibility and the unit is inspected for Housing Quality Standards annually, at which time the landlord may request a rent increase. This request must be submitted by your landlord in writing to both the Housing Authority and to you sixty days prior to renewal.