Guide to Porting New Housing Vouchers Without Waiting 12 Months

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Art: Robin Mead

One nice thing about vouchers is they move around with you. They go where you go. If you want to take your voucher with you to a different city or state, this is called porting. Learn more here: How to Port

If you’ve recently been offered a new housing voucher, sometimes porting is allowed immediately. Sometimes it is not.

If You Are Local

If you live in the area where your voucher is issued, you can request to port to another area immediately. There is no wait time. However, there are sometimes other reasons why a port request might not be approved (see link above).

Note: Some of our readers report that they were misinformed by their housing workers. Their workers told them that they needed to wait twelve months before they could port. This is not true. If you live in the area where your voucher is issued, you can port immediately. If you run into problems, here’s where you can find the HUD Policies on Moves and Portability.

If You Are Long Distance

If you do not live in the area where your voucher is issued, you must move to that area for twelve months first. However, in some cases you can request a disability accommodation to skip the twelve months and port immediately.

Requesting a Disability Accommodation to Skip the Twelve Months

If you or someone in your household is disabled, and you need to port your voucher immediately due to medical or disability-related reasons, you can request a reasonable accommodation for exception to porting policies. Sample letters for requesting this accommodation: Sample Disability Accommodation Letters for Porting

Unfortunately, this request is not always successful. Sometimes it is denied. On the other hand, sometimes it is approved!

If You Get Denied

Depending on the reason for the denial, you may be able to appeal and still get approved.

It’s common for housing authorities to turn down accommodations simply because they say “That’s against our policy.” Or “we cannot do that.” This is not a valid reason for a denial, and if you are denied for this reason, you can appeal, get help, and file a complaint. What to Do If Your Request is Denied 

On the other hand, sometimes it is a denied for a valid reason. Here’s examples of reasons for denials and possible solutions: Eight Legal Reasons a Request Can Be Denied

Porting Approved: Daisy’s Story

“I applied for my daughter for a voucher online out of state. When my daughter was approved for her Voucher, we were told that she would be required to live in the initial housing authority state of where the voucher was distributed for 12 months.

“My daughter suffers from mental illness and it would be a detriment for her to move out of state away from our family support, case workers, treating physicians and her job through Rehabilitation Services (which includes ADA Accommodations).

“We submitted a Reasonable Accommodation Request for to port her voucher so she could remain in her residing state. It was approved.

“Bonus: In addition, her voucher was for a one bedroom (even though my daughter has a four-year-old child). We submitted an accommodation request to increase the voucher to two bedrooms and this was also approved.”

Porting Denied: Beth Hinneberg

While most types of Reasonable Accommodation requests are approved (as long as they are properly documented), this particular request is more hit or miss. Here’s an example of someone who was denied for reasons that were upheld by the court: Court Case Where Porting Exception Was Denied.

Porting Approved: Carnation’s Story

“When I applied for housing, I applied in a town two hours north of where I lived. In the process of waiting, my son was injured.

“When I got to the top of the wait list, I decided to go to the meeting anyway, and I told them my situation. My son was receiving:

  • Therapy sessions five times a week
  • Neurologist appointment every other week
  • GI doctor appointment every other week
  • Primary care appointment every other week.

“They approved my reasonable accommodation request because moving so far would hinder his medical care. After a week, the voucher ported to the county where I live. I’ve now had my voucher for two years.”

Porting Denied: Fundamental Alteration

One reason some housing programs might deny is because of “fundamental alteration of program.” The housing authority may write that their program is dedicated to local residents, porting in this situation would alter their program goals.

While it is possible to appeal this kind of denial, “fundamental alteration” is considered a valid legal reason for denial, so we don’t know if the appeal would be successful.

Porting Approved: Hibiscus’ Story

“Aloha everyone. After joining the Disability Self-Advocacy Facebook group, and putting a lot of hours into writing these letters, I successfully received a Reasonable Accommodation to port a voucher to my current county, thus waving the 12 month residency policy.

“I started by telling my doctor what I was doing and asking if she would support my requests. Then I made an appointment with my doctor specifically to go over the letters.” Read more: Hibiscus Moves Her Voucher Instead of Moving Herself


Thanks for Reading

🌸 This page is part of the free online guide: Epic Master List of Disability Accommodation Letters

🌸 Learn More: The Sleepy Girl Affordable Housing Survival Guide

🌸 Art on this page by Robin Mead and Elizabeth D’Angelo.

🌸 Facebook group for people with disabilities and family members: Disability Support & Self Advocacy in HUD & Section 8 Housing

🌸 Page Updated: 10/1/19

🌸 To get daily updates on helpful disability services, and low income programs, follow us on Facebook: The Sleepy Girl Guide.

🌸 Please comment below with stories, ideas, questions or suggestions. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working. Please share this page with others by pressing one of these magic little buttons:

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