Housing Choice Vouchers

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Overview Video of Housing Choice Voucher Program

The Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) is not accepting applications at this time.


What is the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8)?

The Section 8 Program is a rental assistance program that assists very low-income families with their rent in the private market. The voucher program increases affordable housing choices for very low-income households by allowing families to choose privately owned rental housing. The family may choose a unit with a higher rent than the fair market rent (FMR), however, the rent must be reasonable.
The rules and regulations of the housing choice voucher program (HCV) are determined by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
NRHA will issue a voucher to an income-qualified household, which allows the family to search for their choice of housing. The voucher is good for 60 days from the date of issue. The family may also request an extension if they are not able to find housing by their deadline date. All requests for extensions must be submitted in writing with supporting documentation of the reason for the request. The maximum number of days on the voucher is 120 days. After that time the voucher will expire, unless the request is for a reasonable accommodation. The voucher is portable, which allows the family to locate housing outside the boundaries of NRHA. All new applicants must reside in the City of Norfolk at the time the initial application is placed in order to utilize portability when the voucher is initially issued. Otherwise, the new applicant will have to reside in Norfolk for one year.
The voucher will indicate the number of bedrooms for which your family is eligible. The unit size is based on HUD guidelines. The family does have the option of renting a larger bedroom size that what is issued on the voucher, provided the rent is reasonable and affordable (does not exceed 40% of monthly adjusted income at initial leasing).
The family must be income eligible for the program as defined by HUD. The income limits for the household must not exceed the very low-income limit (50 percent of the area median income) and up to 80 percent area income median for households already assisted under the Housing Act of 1937. See Attachment.
Who is eligible?
Families or individuals with very-low to low-income qualify for the Housing Choice Voucher Program. Your eligibility will be based on
***1) annual gross income
     2) whether you qualify as an elderly or disabled family, a person with a disability, a veteran or as a  family, and
     3) U.S. citizenship/immigration status
NRHA will monitor admissions to ensure that at least 75% of families admitted to the Housing Choice Voucher Program each fiscal year shall have incomes that do not exceed 30% of the area median income of NRHA’s jurisdiction.  Families whose income does not exceed 30% of area median income are referred to as “extremely low income families”.  If the family’s verified gross annual income, at final eligibility determination, does not fall under the Extremely Low Income limit and the family was selected for income targeting purposes, the family will be returned to the wait list.
Number of Occupants Extremely Low
30% of AMI
Very Low
50% of AMI
Low Income
80% of AMI
1 Person $14,900 $24,850 $39,700
2 Person $17,000 $28,400 $45,400
3 Person $20,090 $31,950 $51,050
4 Person $24,250 $35,450 $56,700
5 Person $28,410 $38,300 $61,250
6 Person $32,570 $41,150 $65,800
7 Person $36,730 $44,000 $70,350
8 Person $40,890 $46,800 $74,850
Median $70,900

NOTE: For each person in excess of eight, 8 percent of the four-person base should be added to the eight-person income limit. (For example, the nine-person limit equals 140 percent [132 + 8] of the relevant four-person income limit.). Income limits are rounded to the nearest $50.00.

How does the application process work?
The NRHA will collect the following information to determine your eligibility:
  1. Names of all persons who would be living in the unit with you, their sex, date of birth, social security number, and their relationship to the head of household.
  2. Your present address and telephone number.
  3. Family characteristics (e.g. disabled, veteran, etc.) and their circumstances that may qualify the tenant for tenant selection preferences, such as living in overcrowded conditions, or being in a high rent burden.
  4. An estimate of your family’s anticipated income for the next twelve months.
  5. Names and addresses of employers, banks and any other information that NRHA would need to verify your income and deductions, and to verify the household composition.
  6. All adult family members will be required to do a criminal background check.
You will need to provide any documentation needed, such as valid identification, birth certificates, and social security cards, verification of income, assets, and expenses for your household.
 How is rent determined?
Your rent will be based on your family’s anticipated gross annual income less deductions, if any. HUD regulations allow Housing Agencies (HA) to exclude from annual income the following allowances: $480.00 for each dependent; $400 for any elderly family or a person with disability, and some medical deductions for families where the head of household (or spouse) is an elderly person or a person with disabilities. All families are required to pay at least $50.00 minimum rent.
Rent will be calculated based of the highest of the below formula:
1) 10% of monthly income
2)  30% of monthly adjusted income (Gross Annual Income less deductions allowed by
      the regulations), which is called the total tenant payment (TTP)
3)  a $50.00 minimum rent, set by NRHA at this time
NRHA will use the greater of the Payment Standard or the Gross Rent less your TTP to determine the HAP amount.
Payment Standard (2 bedroom)          $928.00
Minus Total Tenant Payment              $220.00
Maximum housing assistance           $708.00
Voucher Payments Standards are established by the NRHA based on the Fair Market Rent and may be adjusted annually.
A utility allowance is the PHA’s estimated average amount the household will pay for utilities each month. 
(NOTE: Allowances are Only given for tenant paid services and appliances)
The utility allowance will vary by unit size and type. In some cases a family may receive a utility reimbursement check.
The family will be required to have utilities on and current at all times, and in the name of an Adult household member.
The family must submit a copy of utility bills within 45 days of lease start date.
Locating Suitable Housing:
NRHA will provide the family with a Request for Tenancy Approval and a Lead Disclosure Form (RFTA) to complete with the landlord and a copy of the Tenancy Addendum and a referral list of properties available for rental. These forms along with an unsigned proposed lease must be submitted to NRHA to begin the lease-up process.
The family will be responsible for locating their choice of housing. They may check the newspaper, ask friends and neighbors, drive through neighborhood, search the internet, check with real estate offices or rental agencies and look for flyers in Laundromats/ supermarkets. Please note that the rent must be reasonable.
The family may opt to stay where they are. If the family decides to stay where they are, they must have the landlord prepare an unsigned proposed lease and the unit must meet the inspection requirements completed by NRHA’s Housing Quality Inspector.
NRHA encourages families to locate housing in low-poverty areas, which will improve educational and employment opportunities as well as safety.
Unit Selection (Proposed and Signed Leases):
All proposed leases must include the name and address of tenant and owner;
Rent amount and security deposit amount; No more than 60 days moving notice; and
It MUST contain ALL the provisions of the Tenancy Addendum. The family must not sign the proposed lease. Any side payments are illegal. Please be sure to read the lease and make sure the terms are understood.
The RFTA, the Proposed Unsigned Lease and Lead Disclosure form must be returned to NRHA completed in entirety.
NRHA will review all documents to ensure they meet the program’s guidelines.
If the paperwork is approved, the family and the landlord will be notified in writing; and the landlord will have to call the Inspection Department to schedule the unit inspection.
If the unit passes inspection – the family will be advised to sign the lease.
If the unit fails inspection – the landlord will have 10 days to make necessary repairs.
If the landlord does not make repairs, the family must locate another unit.
The rent must be reasonable.
The unit must pass inspection.
The owner must be willing to enter into a contract with NRHA and comply with program regulations.
Security Deposit
NRHA does not pay any security deposit. The landlord may require up to 2 months for security deposit, so the landlord may opt to do a credit check.
*If the lease is approved and passes inspection, the family will be advised to sign the lease with the landlord, and provide NRHA with a copy. Attach Tenancy Addendum to Lease. The signed ease must be identical to the proposed lease, only the effective date may change.
*NRHA will send the landlord a Housing Assistance Payment contract upon receipt of your signed lease in order to initiate payments on your behalf.
*Payments will begin after the landlord returns the signed lease to NRHA.
NRHA is not responsible for unpaid tenant rent or damages.
The family must be recertified annually. The family will be notified in writing to come in for the annual recertification.
The family must report changes in their household income and family composition within 10 business days of the change. Additions to the family must be approved by NRHA prior to the requested member (other than birth, adoption or court awarded custody of a child) moving into the unit.
The unit must be inspected at least annually.  Prepare for the annual inspection – make sure someone 18 years of age or older is at home for the inspection.
The family must be in good standing with their current landlord and NRHA will verify the same in writing to the landlord. 
The family must be reissued a new housing choice voucher and the new unit must pass inspection before moving to another unit.




The housing choice voucher program is the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development vehicle to provide lower income families, the elderly and disabled with affordable housing in the private market. Since housing assistance is provided on behalf of the family or individual, participants are able to find their own housing, including single-family homes, townhouses and apartments.

Young woman moving

The participant is free to choose any housing that meets program requirements and is not limited to units located in subsidized housing projects.

NRHA receives federal funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to administer the voucher program.

A family that is issued a housing voucher is responsible for finding a suitable housing unit of the family's choice where the owner agrees to rent under the program. This unit may include the family's present residence. Rental units must meet minimum standards of health and safety, as determined by the NRHA.

A housing subsidy is paid to the landlord directly by NRHA on behalf of the participating family. The family then pays the difference between the actual rent charged by the landlord and the amount subsidized by the program.

Eligibility Requirements:
Eligibility for a housing voucher is determined by NRHA based on the total annual gross income and family size and is limited to US citizens and specified categories of non-citizens who have eligible immigration status. In general, the family's income may not exceed 50% of the median income for the county or metropolitan area in which the family chooses to live. By law, NRHA must provide 75 percent of its voucher to applicants whose incomes do not exceed 30% of the area median income. Median income levels are published by HUD and vary by location. NRHA can provide you with the income limits for Norfolk and family size.

During the application process, NRHA will collect information on family income, assets, and family composition. NRHA will verify this information with other local agencies, your employer and bank, and will use the information to determine program eligibility and housing assistance payment amount.

If NRHA determines that your family is eligible, your name will go on a waiting list, unless NRHA is able to assist you immediately. Once your name is reached on the waiting list, NRHA will contact you and issue a housing voucher.


Tenant's Obligations: When a family selects a housing unit, and NRHA approves the unit and lease, the family signs a lease with the landlord for at least one year. The tenant may be required to pay a security deposit to the landlord. After the first year the landlord may initiate a new lease or allow the family to remain in the unit on a month-to-month lease.
When the family is settled in a new home, the family is expected to comply with the lease and the program requirements, pay its share of rent on time, maintain the unit in good condition and notify NRHA of any changes in income or family composition.

Landlord's Obligations: The role of the landlord in the voucher program is to provide “decent, safe, and sanitary housing” to a tenant at a reasonable rent. The dwelling unit must pass the program's housing quality standards and be maintained up to those standards as long as the owner receives housing assistance payments. In addition, the landlord is expected to provide the services agreed to as part of the lease signed with the tenant and the contract signed with NRHA.

Housing Authority's Obligations: NRHA administers the voucher program locally. NRHA provides a family with the housing assistance that enables the family to seek out suitable housing and NRHA enters into a contract with the landlord to provide housing assistance payments on behalf of the family. If the landlord fails to meet the owner's obligations under the lease, NRHA has the right to terminate assistance payments. NRHA must reexamine the family's income and composition at least annually and must inspect each unit at least annually to ensure that it meets minimum housing quality standards. 

HUD's Role: To cover the cost of the program, HUD provides funds to allow NRHA to make housing assistance payments on behalf of the families. HUD also pays NRHA a fee for the costs of administering the program. When additional funds become available to assist new families, HUD invites NRHA to submit applications for funds for additional housing vouchers. Applications are then reviewed and funds awarded on a competitive basis. HUD monitors NRHA administration of the program to ensure program rules are properly followed. 

If you are already in the Housing Choice Voucher Program and want to transfer to Norfolk, VA, please submit a Request to Transfer to your current housing authority. If the staff there determines that you are eligible for transfer, they will forward your portability package to NRHA. Once you know that they have sent your package to us, please contact us to schedule an appointment. Our goal is to make an appointment with you within 10 days of your contacting us.

When requesting a transfer to Norfolk, please provide your current housing authority with the following information:

Norfolk Redevelopment & Housing Authority
P.O. Box 968
Norfolk, VA 23501
Attn: Janene Taylor-Smith
Phone: (757) 624-8631
Fax: (757) 314-1307
Email: jsmith@nrha.us

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NOTICE OF NONDISCRIMINATION - NRHA provides equal housing and employment opportunities for all persons. NRHA does not discriminate against any applicant, resident or employee on the basis of disability, age, race, color, religion, gender, familial status or national origin in the admission, access or operations of programs, services or activities. NRHA complies with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. An internal grievance procedure is available to resolve complaints. If you feel you have been discriminated against, you have the right to file a complaint of discrimination  by calling toll free (888) 799-2085. Qualified individuals who need communication aids, services or other accommodations to participate in programs and activities are invited to make your needs known to the 504/ADA Coordinator, Kim Thomas (757) 623-1111. Please give NRHA at least seven to ten days advance notice to meet your needs