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.

If I rent with a Section 8 voucher and someone in my home or building tests positive for coronavirus, can I live somewhere else?

Answer

Yes, Section 8 voucher holders may be able to temporarily relocate if living conditions become unsafe due to coronavirus. However, you may still be responsible for your portion of the monthly rent for your home unless there is a suspension on rent payments in your area.

Contact your caseworker and tell them the situation and request approval to leave the apartment on a temporary basis. It is very important to ask what the procedure is, get their decision in writing, and keep in contact with your apartment manager and your caseworker during the time you are absent.

Be aware that Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) can request additional information from you to verify the need for relocation and PHAs are not required to grant these requests, in advance of a specific local health department directive.

PHAs can also request verification from a medical health professional or the state or local health department as part of reviewing special requests related to COVID-19.

PHAs can allow current resident families to use vacant units for temporary relocation if separation is recommended by the health department or a medical health professional.

Under Housing Choice Voucher rules, participants can be absent from the family, on a temporary basis for up to 180 executive days for many different reasons, including illness. But usually it is the participant with the illness that is leaving. In these times of social distancing, the caseworker may decide there is a good cause to permit you to leave on a temporary basis.

More FAQs from Low Income Households

  • Do I have to do anything if I’m on a rental subsidy program and become unemployed or lose hours from coronavirus?
  • Are housing authorities still open during the coronavirus outbreak?
  • Can I be evicted if I can't pay rent because of coronavirus?
  • What is the government stimulus payment?
  • Who qualifies for the government stimulus payment?