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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.

Public housing is made up of apartment buildings that the NCHA owns and manages. In the Public Housing Program, the tenant pays rent directly to the NCHA as the landlord.

In contrast, the Housing Choice Voucher gives you the freedom to find your choice of decent, safe, and sanitary housing with a private landlord. This program lets you choose where you would like to live and the kind of apartment or house you would like to live in.

For information on the status of our waiting lists, visit our Waiting List/Application Process page.

If the Housing Choice Voucher waiting list is closed, this means that the HCV program is still operating; however, due to the large number of families who are currently on the waiting list for assistance, we are not accepting new applications until further notice.

No. The NCHA does not have any type of emergency housing in either its public housing or HCV programs. If you are in need of emergency housing, you may wish to contact 211 on your phone to find assistance in your area. 

You must first contact your initiating PHA and tell them you would like to port to Northampton County Housing Authority. Your PHA will determine if you are eligible to port and then forward the required documents to NCHA. Once NCHA has received the required documents from your initial PHA, NCHA will send you a packet to complete and return to NCHA with any requested supporting documents. Please make sure you answer all the questions in the packet and return it as quickly as possible. We expect verifying documents to be provided by you.

  • Proof of income for all household members (current 60-days of pay stubs, award letters for Social Security benefits, DSHS benefits, unemployment, child support, pensions, etc.)
  • Proof of all assets for all household members (all pages of current bank statements, trust funds, life insurance, etc.)
  • Social security cards for all household members
  • Current picture identification for all adults 18 years and older
  • Birth certificates for all children under 18 years old
  • Legal immigration documents for all household members (if applicable)

This paperwork is very important. We must receive all of this information before we can approve your request to port-in and issue you an NCHA voucher. Delays in providing or failure to provide this information could cause your voucher to expire.

Eligibility for a housing voucher is determined by the NCHA based on 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 median income for the county or metropolitan area in which the family chooses to live. By law, the NCHA must provide 75 percent of vouchers to applicants whose incomes do not exceed 30 percent of the area median income. Median income levels are published by HUD and vary by location.

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

There are many reasons why an application may be denied, including, but not limited to:

  • Failed criminal background check
  • Previous evictions
  • Income over the federally-mandated income limits
  • Failure to appear for scheduled appointments
  • Failure to provide necessary documents or information for us to determine eligibility.

All denials are based on the policies and regulations found in the NCHA’s Administrative Plan. The NCHA is prohibited by federal law from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, familial status, and disability.

You may request to add or remove family members from your application or voucher. Any request to add somebody to your voucher must be approved by the landlord before it can be approved by the NCHA. All adult members will be subject to a criminal background check as well as a check of whether they owe any money to us or to another housing authority. If you remove any member of the household from your voucher, they are prohibited from living in the subsidized unit.

Yes! You must report any change of address to the NCHA within 10 business days, either in person or in writing, to the following address:

Northampton County Housing Authority-HCV Department
15 S. Wood Street

Nazareth, PA, 18064

You may also report changes by writing a brief letter that includes your name, social security number, and both old and new addresses. Fax this letter to (610) 759-8451 or mail it to the NCHA at the address above. We do not accept changes by phone – they MUST be in writing.


Please note: changing your address with the post office will NOT change your address with the NCHA. You must update us separately.

Almost all of our communication with you will be conducted via mail. This is why it is extremely important to keep us updated with your current address. If a letter is returned by the post office, your name will be removed from the waiting list.

Waiting List Info

If your family size has changed in any way, you must notify the NCHA in writing. The addition or removal of family members may change the unit size (number of bedrooms) you qualify for.

Changes in your income may affect your eligibility or the amount of assistance you will be entitled to. You do not need to report changes of income before your intake interview, but after your intake interview you are required to keep us updated.

If you no longer want to be on the waiting list, please write to the NCHA at  15 S. Wood Street, Nazareth, PA, 18064. Please include your name and social security number. Should you be interested in housing assistance again in the future, you may reapply when the waiting list is open.

No, you do not have to be a citizen; however, you must have eligible immigration status. At the time of the eligibility interview, everyone in the household will be required to declare their citizenship status and provide proof of identity. Non-citizens with eligible immigration status will be required to provide proof of eligible immigration status as well.

The housing choice voucher program places the choice of housing in the hands of the individual family. Participants are encouraged to consider several housing choices to secure the best housing for their family’s needs. A voucher holder is advised of the unit size for which they are eligible based on family size and composition.

The housing unit selected by the family must meet an acceptable level of health and safety before the NCHA can approve the unit. When the voucher holder finds a unit that it wishes to occupy and reaches an agreement with the landlord over the lease terms, the NCHA must inspect the dwelling and determine that the rent requested is reasonable.

PHAs determine a payment standard that is the amount generally needed to rent a moderately-priced dwelling unit in the local housing market and that is used to calculate the amount of housing assistance a family will receive. However the payment standard does not limit or affect the amount of rent a landlord may charge or the family may pay. A family which receives a housing voucher can select a unit with a rent that is below or above the payment standard.

The housing voucher family must pay 30% of its monthly adjusted gross income for rent and utilities, and if the unit rent is greater than the payment standard the family is required to pay the additional amount. By law, whenever a family moves to a new unit where the rent exceeds the payment standard, the family may not pay more than 40 percent of its adjusted monthly income for rent.

The NCHA generally assigns one bedroom for every two persons within the household. Any exceptions are outlined in our Administrative Plan.

No. That is illegal and a violation of NCHA and HUD regulations. You should never pay more than the NCHA states you should pay.

This depends on a number of factors including your income, the deductions to which you are entitled, the number of people in your household (which determines your voucher size), the applicable payment standard, and the utility allowance for the unit you have chosen. Generally speaking, you will pay between 30% and 40% of your monthly-adjusted income for rent.

The Payment Standard (PS) is the maximum monthly assistance payment (subsidy) set by the BCHA per bedroom size. The following are the final PS for all bedroom sizes as of 10/01/2023:

0 BD (Studio)$967

For more information, please refer to the HUD fact sheet on how your rent is determined, as well as a worksheet showing how we calculate your rent amount.

The owner/landlord cannot be the parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, sister, brother, or spouse of any member of the assisted family. Any exceptions are outlined in our Administrative Plan.

All vouchers are issued for 60 days. A voucher extension of up to 60 additional days may be issued at the discretion of the NCHA.

After the “Extension Expiration Date” written on the voucher, the voucher will expire. If your voucher has expired, you will have to reapply when the waiting list is open. Any exceptions are outlined in our Administrative Plan.

The Housing Choice Voucher is valid anywhere in Northampton County. This means that any unit you wish to rent must be located in this jurisdiction. 

The NCHA’s jurisdiction includes the following areas:

Subject to certain restrictions that are detailed in the NCHA Administrative Plan, you may transfer your voucher to another housing authority, anywhere in the country where an HCV program is operating. This is called “portability”.

If you wish to transfer, or “port”, your voucher to another jurisdiction, you must complete the Request for Portability form found on the Forms page and return it to our office

Give the Request for Tenancy Approval (RFT) form to the landlord to complete. Return this form to the NCHA. The rent will be reviewed to ensure it is reasonable and affordable. If the rent is approved, the unit will be scheduled for an inspection, usually within 14 business days. The landlord will be contacted by McCright & Associates, our inspection contractors, to schedule this. Your landlord will notify you if the unit passes or fails the inspection. It is very important that you keep close contact with your prospective landlord during the process.

The NCHA will not pay any subsidy on your behalf until the unit passes inspection and is under contract. If you move in before this time, the NCHA will NOT pay any portion of your rent. The landlord may be able to charge you the full amount of rent.

Sometimes people with disabilities may need a reasonable accommodation in order to take full advantage of the NCHA’s housing programs and related services.

A reasonable accommodation is a change, adaptation, or modification to the NCHA’s rules, policies, practices, or services which is necessary to provide a qualified individual with a handicap or disability an equal opportunity to participate fully in the services, programs, or activities provided by the NCHA.

You may request a reasonable accommodation.  A request may also be made on behalf of the individual by a family member or other agent.

If your question isn’t answered in this section, you can call our office at 610-759-8488 option 4. We will get back to you as soon as possible. 

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