Once you are approved for the Housing Choice Voucher program (also known as Section 8) and receive your voucher, you can begin your search for a housing unit that meets all program requirements. If you’re wondering how to find housing that accepts the voucher, this guide can help!
What is a Housing Choice Voucher?
The Housing Choice Voucher is Portage Metropolitan Housing Authority’s (PMHA) largest housing assistance program. The program increases affordable housing choices for low-income households by giving families assistance with rent for privately-owned rental units that meet the requirements of the program. PMHA sends payments directly to Section 8 landlords, on behalf of the family. The family then pays the difference between the actual rent charged by the landlord and the amount of assistance the family qualifies to receive.
Finding Affordable Public Housing
When you are approved for the program and receive a Housing Choice Voucher, it’s time to find find safe and sanitary housing in the private market that works for your needs and budget. This may include your present residence, or follow these steps to find housing that’s right for you.
Search for an Apartment or House
The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers a scrollable map to look for properties that accept housing choice vouchers in your area. Also, you can look online at websites like GoSection8, OhioHousingLocator, Craigslist, Hotpads, Apartments.com, Rently, Zillow, or Facebook Marketplace.
PMHA’S Determination Process
Once you locate a unit and meet with the landlord, ensure the Request for Tenancy Approval (RFTA), which you received along with your voucher, is completed by the landlord, and submitted to the PMHA office. PMHA will determine that you qualify for the unit, and what your portion of rent will be, as well as the amount of assistance that will be paid on your behalf.
Inspections Are Required
The housing unit must meet an acceptable level of health and safety before PMHA can approve it. When you find a unit and reach an agreement with the landlord, PMHA will inspect it and determine that the rent requested is reasonable. Once everything passes inspection, you can move in.
Carefully Review the Lease
Your lease is a legal document, and the language can be hard to understand. It can be helpful to read the lease through alongside a housing authority staff member, housing advocate, or local lawyer before deciding whether to sign. As always, ask questions if you don’t understand something.