If Your Housing Authority Doesn’t Offer Homeownership

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Want to buy a house using your voucher, but your Housing Authority doesn’t offer this option? Here’s two things you can try:

Option A: Port

You could try moving to a different area with a housing authority that does have homeownership. This is called “porting your voucher”.

You may not have to port very far. For example, some areas have both city and county housing authorities covering the same area. You could port your voucher and stay still!

Another option: you can request a disability accommodation to allow homeownership just for you due to your special disability needs for housing.

Option B: Accommodation 

If your housing authority does not have a homeownership program, you can request a disability accommodation to allow homeownership just for you due to your special disability needs for housing. We’ve not yet heard from any readers who have tried this request.

Will My Accommodation Request Be Approved?

It might not be approved, because the housing authority may say it creates an “undue administrative burden” to create an entire program just for you.

On the other hand, if your housing authority is nice and willing to work with you, maybe it will be approved. It doesn’t hurt to try. Please comment below and let us know how it goes.

Regulations

Here’s some regulations that might help. Your housing authority probably won’t know these regulations. You can show them.

From the Housing Choice Voucher Homeownership Guidebook

Determining Whether Homeownership Assistance is Required as a Reasonable Accommodation

In the case where homeownership assistance is requested, the family demonstrates that the housing available to lease under the Housing Choice Voucher Program is not readily accessible to or usable by the family and the nature of the disability of the disabled family member makes such an accommodation necessary, the PHA will determine if an accommodation is necessary and reasonable on a case-by-case basis, based on the specific circumstances and individual needs of the person with the disability.

The regulations at 24 CFR § 982.625(d) provide: “ … It is the sole responsibility of the PHA to determine whether it is reasonable to implement a homeownership program as a reasonable accommodation. The PHA will determine what is reasonable based on the specific circumstances and individual needs of the person with a disability. The PHA may determine that it is not reasonable to offer homeownership assistance as a reasonable accommodation in cases where the PHA has otherwise opted not to implement a homeownership program.”

The following are some examples of circumstances in which a PHA might determine that homeownership is necessary as a reasonable accommodation:

• A voucher participant who receives kidney dialysis three times a week has no car and transportation to and from the hospital where he receives treatment is unreliable and expensive. There are no suitable rental properties within walking distance of the hospital, but there are condominium units across the street that would be affordable to the participant with homeownership assistance.

• A voucher participant with Tourette’s syndrome needs to find a detached singlefamily unit where her behavior will not disturb neighbors. In the PHA’s jurisdiction, there are typically few, if any, single-family rentals, so the participant would like to use her voucher assistance to purchase a home.

• A voucher participant with multiple chemical sensitivities has severe reactions to substances commonly found in paint, floor coverings, cabinets, and countertops. The participant requests a homeownership voucher so that he can find a housing unit that does not make him sick.

In all of these examples, the PHA’s decision would ultimatey rest on its judgment of the validity of the request and the administrative burden involved in complying with the participant’s request.

It is also noted that the family in the above cases would have to meet the eligibility requirements for the Homeownership Voucher Program, including attending and satisfactorily completing the pre-assistance homeownership counseling program.

Learn More

This page is part of the free online guide:  The Sleepy Girl Affordable Housing Survival Guide

Learn More: How to Buy a House Through Section 8

Facebook Group: HUD and Section 8 Disabled Residents & Family Members

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

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