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The Housing Choice Voucher program is the federal government’s major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary 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.

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

Housing choice vouchers are administered locally by public housing agencies (PHAs), like the Northampton County Housing Authority. The PHAs receive federal funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to administer the voucher program.

A family that is issued a 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 current residence. Rental units must meet minimum standards of health and safety, as determined by the PHA, and the rent charged by the landlord must be affordable (in accordance with payment standards set by the PHA) and reasonable (compared to similar unassisted units in the same area).

The PHA pays a housing subsidy directly to the landlord 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.

The Northampton County Housing Authority (NCHA) administers funds received from HUD, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and distributes them in the form of Housing Choice Vouchers to eligible families and individuals. A voucher allows participating households (tenants) to rent housing that meets their needs from a private landlord. The tenant pays a portion of the rent directly to the landlord. NCHA pays the landlord the difference between the tenant’s portion of the rent and the total rental amount.

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