Earlier this month, HUD sent an email detailing procedures to be followed when a Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program participant wanted to port (move) from a jurisdiction covered by a non-operational PHA. As of October 6, 2017, all PHAs in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are considered to be non-operational. A complete list can be found on HUD’s website.
HUD has established a portability procedure for PHAs that are contacted by families in Major Disaster Declaration areas (following Hurricanes Irma and Maria), who wish to exercise their option to port their voucher, but whose initial PHAs are non-operational and unable to complete their portability responsibilities. HUD stresses that “communication disruptions” or “portability billing concerns” should not interfere with helping displaced families in major disaster declaration areas. HUD will ensure that “legitimate portability moves” are paid for.
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For incoming portability voucher families arriving without any documentation, for which the PHA has received no portability information from the initial PHA, the receiving PHA is advised to the do the following:
- Obtain the name and Social Security Number of the Head of Household of the family;
- Obtain the name of the initial PHA; and
- Determine if the initial PHA is non-operational by checking HUD’s list.
If the initial PHA is not listed as a non-operational PHA (i.e., it’s an operational PHA), then the receiving PHA should attempt to contract the initial PHA directly (by telephone or email) to help facilitate the family’s move. If the receiving PHA is unable to contact the initial PHA, the receiving PHA should contact their local HUD Office of Public Housing for assistance. HUD will facilitate communication or advise the receiving PHA to follow these alternative procedures.
If the initial PHA is on the non-operational list, then the initial PHA should verify that the family was receiving voucher assistance from the initial PHA on the date of the disaster through the Enterprise Income Verification (EIV) System existing tenant search. If the EIV confirms that the family receives HCV assistance at a non-operational PHA, the receiving PHA should contact Sonia Colon Miranda at (305) 520-5076 or Sonia.I.Colon-Miranda@hud.gov at the Miami Field Office. The Field Office will confirm the household composition and verify the household members’ date-of-births, social security numbers, immigration statuses, and any other relevant information. Due to security concerns, the information must be confirmed over the phone. The receiving PHA should use this information to ensure that no new household members have been added. The receiving PHA then follows normal portability procedures for the family to lease a unit.
If the EIV does not confirm that the family receives HCV assistance, then the receiving PHA adds the family to its waiting list following normal procedures.
The receiving PHA may need to conduct a new reexamination for the family, as the displaced family’s income may have been affected by the disaster, but the receiving PHA should not delay issuance of the voucher or approval of the unit. The receiving PHA may choose to absorb the family or bill the non-operational PHA. HUD recommends absorbing the family, but notes that if the PHA opts to bill, HUD will pay the receiving PHA directly. HUD will issue additional guidance on the this modified billing process.
HUD is currently establishing an alternative portability processing and billing system for non-operational PHAs.
HUD’s full guidance document can be found here.
The list of non-operational PHAs can be found on HUD’s HCV website here.