Affordable Housing Online is monitoring the federal government's response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. As of March 13, 2020, Public Housing Agencies across the nation are closing their doors to the public. Most offices are still running and will communicate by phone, email, or mail. Some offices have drop boxes installed outside, so documents can still be hand-delivered. Visit the housing authority's website for the latest on its current operations, if one is available. If there is no information online, contact the housing authority directly. Due to a high volume of calls and modified office hours in most areas, expect a long wait time (days or weeks) for a response. To find your local PHA's contact info, browse by state here.
An extensive list of coronavirus resources for low-income households can be found here.
Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher ports are still being processed by many Public Housing Agencies (aka, housing authorities) around the country, but the decision is up to each individual office.
HUD issued coronavirus guidance about this to PHAs at the end of March, saying, “PHAs should continue to process incoming and outgoing ports similarly to how they are handling all operational issues at this time. PHAs are encouraged to consider processing portability requests through electronic communications, teleconferences, and phone communications to the extent practicable. HUD is not considering a portability waiver at this time.”
This guidance is only a recommendation, though, and PHAs are allowed to refuse voucher porting requests at this time.
Affordable Housing Online contacted a Regional HUD Specialist who stated most PHA’s have language in their Administrative Plans, that say, “at the discretion of the Executive Director”, and HUD is encouraging PHA’s to exercise good judgment without breaking fair housing or any other rules.
We also contacted a PHA Portability Specialist who noted that “Many PHAs are still processing port-ins and port-outs as they normally would and so far, HUD has not issued any guidance regarding the suspension of porting.”
Even if ports are still being processed, there may be some issues with landlords accepting vouchers until State stay-in-place orders are lifted.
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