New to the HCV program? Here’s how it works.

Welcome to the Housing Choice Voucher program. On this page, you’ll find all the information you need on how the HCV program works and getting started with your new home.

Diagram

Program Benefits

Here are the steps to get started with your new home

1

Intake

Complete the intake certification process online using RentCafe.

2

Receive a voucher

3

SEARCH FOR A NEW HOME

You may need to contact the landlord/property manager to ask if they accept vouchers.

4

COMPLETE LANDLORD PACKET

Connect with the landlord/property manager to complete the landlord packet. Ensure that the entire packet is completed correctly and all required documents are included.

5

SUBMIT PACKET

Submit the completed packet to County Housing.

6

HOME INSPECTION

An initial inspection of the unit will be scheduled with County Housing’s Housing Quality Inspections department.

7

AFFORDABILITY TEST

Your caseworker will complete an affordability test for the unit using the landlord's proposed rent. County Housing’s Rent Analyst will use the affordability test and comparable rents to negotiate an approved rental amount with the landlord.

Sometimes an approved rent cannot be agreed upon. If this happens, you will be given a new landlord packet to continue your search for a different home.

8

PERMIT AND LEASE

If the unit passes inspection and a rent amount is approved, County Housing will request a copy of the occupancy permit or the conservation permit and signed lease.

9

REINSPECTION (if applicable)

Some units may need to be reinspected if they fail the initial inspection. The reinspection will be scheduled once the landlord/property management contacts County Housing after making the required repairs.

10

MOVE-IN SLIP

Once a signed lease and occupancy permit are submitted, your caseworker will issue a move-in slip. The move-in slip will state the tenant's portion of the rent and County Housing’s portion.

Need help?

Your HCV caseworker is the main point of contact between an applicant or voucher holder and County Housing. They, or other staff in the HCV department, will be able to answer most questions related to housing assistance.

How do I contact my caseworker?

The easiest way to contact a caseworker is through email. They each assist around 400 families each year in finding housing. Please allow 24-48 hours for them to respond to any email or voicemail, as they receive a large number of contacts throughout their day. To leave a voicemail and receive a callback, please call the main number and ask to speak to your caseworker.

How do I look up my caseworker?
You can look up your assigned caseworker by logging into the RentCafe portal. Once logged in, click on the “Contact Us” tile. From there, you will find your caseworker’s name and contact information. Information on using RentCafe can be found here.

The Strength of Partnerships

At County Housing, we believe in the strength of partnerships. We work closely with many partners who share our commitment to improving lives and communities.

We work to establish formal agreements with partners in the following areas:

Frequently Asked Questions

A voucher is a written contract between a public housing authority and a family describing program requirements and confirming a family’s eligibility for rental assistance. The voucher expires after 120 days if a family does not select a unit. The voucher lists the bedroom size the authority has determined to suit their family composition. It can be adjusted in size if the family’s household composition changes.

Note: if you find a home on a site other than AffordableHousing.com or the MHDC Affordable Housing Locator, you should reach out to the property owner and verify that they will accept a Housing Choice Voucher.

Step 1

The family selects a unit and completes the required landlord packet with the landlord. This packet includes a Request for Tenancy Approval (RFTA).

Step 2

County Housing reviews the packet and inspects the rental unit using HUD’s established inspection standards. These standards set minimum criteria for the health and safety of program participants.

Step 3:

County Housing determines if the requested rent from the landlord is reasonable and affordable for the family.

Step 4

The family and landlord sign a lease, and County Housing and the landlord sign a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Contract.

Step 5

The family moves in and pays their portion of the rent, and County Housing pays the subsidy to the landlord.

You can look up your assigned caseworker by logging into the RentCafe portal. Once logged in, click on the “Contact Us” tile. From there, you will find your caseworker’s name and contact information.

Your annual recertification is based on your move-in date to your assisted unit. Annual recertification must be completed every 12 months from the date you entered into your lease.

Please call your caseworker to request paper copies of the required forms. They will work with you to make sure you get the information you need. If you are unsure who your assigned caseworker is, please give us a call at (314) 428-3200.

Your voucher value depends on your income, location, program rules, and utility responsibilities set by County Housing. Generally, lower-income households receive higher subsidies to make rent affordable. The HCV program sets payment standards for different areas and your voucher’s value is based on this standard. You contribute a portion of your income (usually 30%), and County Housing covers the rest, up to the payment standard.

You will want to report any changes in your income to County Housing promptly if they occur. For specific details about your voucher’s value, you can email your caseworker.

Because a housing voucher allows you to rent with any private landlord, disputes between tenants and landlords will generally be resolved without the involvement of County Housing. If you suspect a breach of program rules that County Housing should be aware of, please email your caseworker.

Log in to RentCafe and click on the “Report a Change” tile. From there, follow the instructions to update your information. County Housing will require verification of the change. If you are having trouble accessing your RentCafe account, please email your caseworker.

The first thing to do if there is an issue with your home is to reach out to your landlord to resolve it. If you would like to request an inspection be completed after speaking with your landlord, please fill out this request form.