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 where the landlord is willing to accept the voucher payment. Housing Choice Vouchers are administered locally by Columbia Housing. Columbia Housing 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 Public Housing Agency.
A housing subsidy is paid to the landlord directly by Columbia Housing 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.
Columbia Housing currently has an allocation of 4,048 vouchers, to include 414 HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) Vouchers. The Housing Choice Voucher Program Administrative Plan establishes guidelines for applicant eligibility and continued rental assistance.