The District of Columbia’s Housing Authority’s Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP) fills a critical void to help families compete in DC’s expensive housing market, and has been a success story for more than a decade. HCVP is federally funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and is administered throughout the country, with nearly 1.5 million households participating.
In DC, DCHA administers several voucher programs to help low- and moderate-income residents find affordable housing by providing vouchers to help participants pay rent in privately owned properties across the city. Today 10,500 families in the city are HCVP federal participants — and thousands more are on the waiting list.
The Housing Choice Voucher Tenant-Based Program provides rental assistance to eligible families or individuals who find their own housing (single-family homes, townhouses and apartments) as long it meets the requirements of the program. If participants want to move to another location, they simply apply to take their voucher with them to a new home, even out of state. Participants pay a portion of the rent that is based on a percentage of the family’s income (on average about 30 percent), and DCHA pays the rest of the rent directly to the landlord.
In the Housing Choice Voucher Project-Based Program and the Moderate Rehabilitation Program, DCHA links the subsidy payments to specifically designated HCVP units at numerous apartment communities throughout DC. The tenants cannot keep the voucher subsidy if they choose to move, unlike the tenant-based vouchers.
DCHA also administers a separate program, the District of Columbia Local Rent Subsidy Program (LRSP), which is modeled on the federal program but funded by the District of Columbia government. The program provides 700 tenant-based vouchers, but participants holding these vouchers cannot move out of the District.
More than 3,400 local landlords are providing housing through the voucher program and, in the last year alone, DCHA provided more than $130 million in rent payments — helping to buoy the lives of city residents and contribute to the city’s growing economy.