Created under the Homes and Community Development Act of 1974, the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program is a nationwide program that provides rental assistance and a homeownership option to low-income households. Under the program, assisted households are not confined to units located in subsidized housing developments, but have the option to use vouchers to find suitable housing in the private rental market. Upon receiving a voucher, eligible households are responsible for paying 30 percent of their annual income towards the apartment rent. Voucher payments are made by New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), or New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to building owners for the remaining gap between the family’s payment and the market rent (a capped amount). This gap and subsequent subsidy is known as the Housing Assistance Payment, which varies depending on the income of the family or individual and the approved rent or mortgage amount for the unit. In New York City, a small number of Section 8 HCV was used for homeownership payments by HPD in partnership with Neighborhood Housing Services of NYC. HCR also has a small program for homeownership assistance.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides HCV grants to local Public Housing Authorities (PHA), which in turn make housing assistance payments on behalf of the households. HUD also pays the PHA a fee for the costs of administering the program. In New York, HCR runs a statewide program of Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, NYCHA distributes vouchers to New York City residents for use in the private market, and HPD uses vouchers in conjunction with its affordable housing preservation and development programs. Special Purpose Vouchers are specifically provided for by Congress in line item appropriations and can be combined with other services or target a specific population. Some federal special purpose vouchers include the Veteran Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH), the Family Unification Program (FUP), Non-Elderly Disabled (NED), Tenant Protection Vouchers (TPV).