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What Is Portability?

Portability is the ability of a family to move from a PHAS (Public Housing Authority's) jurisdiction to a location in another housing authority's jurisdiction.

Who is eligible for portability?
Any voucher holder that is in good standing with the housing authority and is not subject to any restrictions.

Are there any restrictions on eligibility?
Yes. You must live within the housing authority's jurisdiction in which you applied for rental assistance to automatically qualify for eligibility. Otherwise, you are required to live in the jurisdiction of the Housing Authority issuing your Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) for the first 12 months of that assistance.

Example: You live in the City of Opelika when you applied for assistance; you received a Housing Choice Voucher from the Auburn Housing Authority; you must initially use the Voucher in the Auburn Housing Authority's jurisdiction. You may request to transfer your HCV assistance after you have lived in the Auburn Housing Authority's jurisdiction for at least 12 months.

Where can I transfer my Housing Choice Voucher assistance?
A family residing in Auburn's jurisdiction at the time of application may receive assistance to lease a unit outside of Auburn's jurisdiction to the jurisdiction of a housing authority anywhere in the United States that is administering a tenant-based HCV program.

However, if you choose to move to an area where there is no housing agency to administer your Housing Choice Voucher, the housing authority can deny you portability to that area.

What should I do if I choose to move under the portability provision?
You must notify Auburn Housing Authority (AHA) of your desire to move to another jurisdiction under portability and of where you want to move. The AHA will counsel the family on the proper procedures for moving and any other necessary requirements, such as paying any monies owed to the Housing Authority and/or landlord. Once all of the requirements have been met, AHA will contact the receiving housing authority serving the jurisdiction you wish to move to and determine whether or not the HA will issue their own Voucher or administer it on behalf of AHA.

AHA will send the necessary documents to the receiving housing authority and notify the client of whom they should contact at the receiving housing authority.

Will the programs work the same if I transfer under the portability provision?
Yes and no. All the programs are governed according to the Federal Regulations; therefore, there are many similarities. However, housing authorities do have areas in which they can create their own rules, and Voucher Payment Standards (PS) vary from one housing authority to another. Some areas are higher than AHA, and some are lower. You will have to locate housing that fits within the guidelines of the particular area you have chosen to live in.

You must meet the income guidelines for the area you want to transfer your Housing Choice Voucher assistance.

What are the advantages of moving under the portability provision?

The most obvious advantage is that it gives you more options without sacrificing your rental assistance. If you live in a high-poverty area, portability enables you to get away from those areas. Better living conditions usually mean lower crime rates, better public services, better schools, and better shopping areas.
If you have any questions regarding utilizing the portability option or need additional information, please feel free to contact Shannon Walters, HCV Manager, at (334) 821-2262, Extension 221.