Housing Choice Voucher


 Wait-list Information –  The wait-list is currently open.

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Housing Choice Voucher Program

What are housing choice vouchers?

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). 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 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 PHA.

A housing subsidy is paid to the landlord directly by the PHA 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. Under certain circumstances, if authorized by the PHA, a family may use its voucher to purchase a modest home.

Am I eligible?

Eligibility for a housing voucher is determined by the PHA 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, a PHA must provide 75 percent of its voucher 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. The PHA serving your community can provide you with the income limits for your area and family size.

During the application process, the PHA will collect information on family income, assets, and family composition. The PHA 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.

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

Housing vouchers – how do they function?

The housing choice voucher program places the choice of housing in the hands of the individual family. A very low-income family is selected by the PHA to participate is encouraged to consider several housing choices to secure the best housing for the family needs. A housing voucher holder is advised of the unit size for which it is 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 PHA 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 PHA must inspect the dwelling and determine that the rent requested is reasonable.

The PHA determines 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 and does not 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.

Can I move and continue to receive housing choice voucher 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 housing assistance. Moves are permissible as long as the family notifies the PHA ahead of time, terminates its existing lease within the lease 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 in the jurisdiction of the PHA issuing the voucher when the family applied for assistance. Those new voucher-holders not living in the jurisdiction of the PHA at the time the family applied for housing assistance must initially lease a unit within that jurisdiction for the first twelve months of assistance. A family that wishes to move to another PHA’s jurisdiction must consult with the PHA that currently administers its housing assistance to verify the procedures for moving.

Eligibility is determined by the PHA based on the total annual gross household income and family size and is limited to US citizens and specified categories of non-citizens who have eligible immigration status.

Roles – the tenant, the landlord, the housing agency and HUD

Once a PHA approves an eligible family’s housing unit, the family and the landlord sign a lease and, at the same time, the landlord and the PHA sign a housing assistance payments contract that runs for the same term as the lease. This means that everyone — tenant, landlord and PHA — has obligations and responsibilities under the voucher program.

Tenant’s Obligations: When a family selects a housing unit, and the PHA 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 the PHA 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 the PHA.

Housing Authority’s Obligations: The PHA administers the voucher program locally. The PHA provides a family with the housing assistance that enables the family to seek out suitable housing and the PHA 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, the PHA has the right to terminate assistance payments. The PHA 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 PHAs to make housing assistance payments on behalf of the families. HUD also pays the PHA a fee for the costs of administering the program. When additional funds become available to assist new families, HUD invites PHAs to submit applications for funds for additional housing vouchers. Applications are then reviewed and funds awarded to the selected PHAs on a competitive basis. HUD monitors PHA administration of the program to ensure program rules are properly followed.

For more information contact the Community Outreach Specialist at your local Family Resource Center.

How to Apply:

The MVCAA Lafayette Housing Authority is accepting applications for the Housing Choice Voucher (formerly Section 8) program.

Click the link below to complete an application and to attach all required information.

 **If you fail to submit any required documents, your application CANNOT be processed and you WILL NOT be placed on the waiting list.

 Walk-in applications will not be accepted.

Get started by completing the online Preliminary Application.


Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Does the housing authority have emergency housing?

A: There is no emergency housing available through the Lafayette County Housing Authority. You may have to reach out to your local MVCAA Family Resource Center.

Q: How long will it take for my application to be processed?

A: Once your application is submitted, we will review the application to verify it is complete. When the application is complete, we will place you on a waiting list and a letter will be sent to you(this may take a few weeks to process).

Q: How long does it take to be housed?

A: It varies. Depending on your placement on the waitlist, it could take from six months to more than one year.

Q: Does the housing authority implement preferences?

A:  Yes, a preference is given to individuals living within the MVCAA service area.  Applications are placed on the wait list by time and date of application along with the preference for applicants residing within Carroll, Chariton, Johnson, Lafayette, Pettis, and Saline counties.

Q: How do I update the information on my application?

A: You must submit changes to your address and/or phone number in writing. It is critical that you keep your address and phone contact information up-to-date so that you can receive our documentation via the U.S. Postal Service. Periodically while on the waitlist, you will be sent a letter to determine if you are still interested in being on the waitlist.  You will then have 30 days to respond.  If you do not respond within the required timeframe, you will be removed from the waitlist.

Our mailing address is:

Lafayette County Housing Authority
1415 S. Odell
Marshall, MO 65340

 You can also email all changes to: hcv@mvcaa.net

Q: How do I check where I place on the waitlist?

A: Call our office at 660.886.7476 and dial extension 1401 for Kindall or 1402 for Trae.  You will need to have your social security number available and provide your birth date.

Q: Can I complete an application in person?

A: Yes. Call your local Family Resource Center to schedule an appointment.

Walk ins will not be accepted.

Q: What happens when my name comes to the top of the list?

A:  When your name reaches the top of the waitlist, you will receive a packet delivered by the U.S. Postal Service.  You will have 30 days to return the packet completed and with all requested documentation.  The Housing Specialists will process the paperwork and once eligibility is determined, you are REQUIRED to come in person to MVCAA’s corporate office located at 1415 S. Odell Ave, Marshall MO 65340 for a housing briefing where you will meet your assigned Housing Specialist and receive your voucher, if all eligibility requirements are met.