Important Questions to Ask Before Porting (Section 8 Housing Vouchers)

Art: Robin Mead

One of the coolest things about Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers is you can move around with them. They go where you go!

If you are considering moving to a new area, first you will want to contact your current housing authority and see what their rules are and if they will allow you to move to a new area. This is called porting. How to Port

Then you may want to contact the Housing Authority where you want to move and find out a little more before making any decisions. The rules vary a lot from one to the next, and this can have a big impact on your life!

Delphinium is one of our writers, and a Section 8 wizard! These are the questions she prepared when looking into moving:

Questions for Housing Authorities

🌷 How can I get a copy of your policy on number of bedrooms? (Or let them know the ages and gender of each family member and ask how many bedrooms you will be eligible for in their area)

🌷 What is your payment standard? What amount would my voucher be? Are your payment standard charts online? Or how can I get a copy?

🌷 Where can I find a copy of your policy on adding people to vouchers? (Or… Am I able to add someone to my voucher at a later time? Who can be added?)

🌷 Are your utility allowance charts online? Or how can I get a copy?

🌷Do you have landlords or agencies you can recommend?

🌷Do you have a homeownership program?

If You Are Porting

If you already have a housing voucher, you may be able to keep it when you move to a new area. This is called “Porting.”

🌷Are you accepting port ins?

🌷Are you billing or absorbing?

🌷Am I able to add someone to my voucher after I port in?

🌷How long does it take to get a port in briefing / get my voucher once you receive my paperwork?

🌷 Will I be able to keep my current voucher size?

🌷 Could there be an issue with anyone currently on my voucher that would prevent me from porting to your Housing Authority? (For example: If someone has a criminal background record or if household members are not legally married)

🌷 Is there anything else about porting into your county that I should know that I haven’t asked?

Specific Policies

Ask about any topic that is important to you. Here’s some examples of policies that can change a lot from one Housing Authority to the next:

  • Number of nights per year overnight guests are allowed
  • Who can be added to a Voucher
  • Definition of “family” or “household”
  • How Special Needs Trusts are handled
  • How ABLE Accounts are handled
  • Criminal Background Checks
  • What counts as a medical expense


Sometimes porting is good. Sometimes not. Before porting take a look here: Twelve Reasons NOT to Port Your Housing Voucher

Facebook Groups

🌸 HUD and Section 8 for People with Disabilities

🌸 Public Housing and Section 8 HUD Tenants

🌸 Housing Choice Voucher Friends

Thanks for Reading

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

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

🌷 Page Updated: 8/1/19

What Do You Think?

🌷 Please comment below with stories, ideas, questions or suggestions. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working. 

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15 thoughts on “Important Questions to Ask Before Porting (Section 8 Housing Vouchers)”

  1. Brendyn,
    Some housing authorities will allow you to still apply even when the lists are closed if it’s due to specific reasons like domestic violence, evictions, homelessness, etc. IF you can find one that offers this and one of the specific circumstances apply to you and you can prove it, then usually you will go on the priority list and move ahead of others. It can still take 2-3 months or more to receive a voucher. Not all put it on their website so I’d just call and ask if they offer any priority vouchers. Unfortunately, sometimes they will not offer this information unless you specifically request it. I’d also read the specific guidelines from hud website. That’s been helpful to me to know when speaking to workers etc because they often will just say “no” that’s not possible just because they don’t know the answer. It’s best to be as knowledgeable as possible so that you can advocate for yourself. Other than that, call all local agencies asking if they have assistance or programs to prevent homelessness. I wish you well!


  2. Thank you, Your responses are very helpful in knowing how and what to address HUD.

    I especially like the last paragraph. I have some great supports of a lawyer and editor to put together solid statements.

    I see it will be good to take a look at my disability and share the complications so it can be understood by the intended audience.

    You’ve really helped me narrow in on how to take action,

    Thank you


  3. Re: the Home Ownership Program – The reason Sect 8 gave that I can’t get another house is that the Home Ownership Program is just for first time homeowners, and only first time homeowners can utilize the program. That’s what their rules’ state.

    I’m just reading through now your articles on Reasonable Accommodation and seeing if that can apply. It would go against the program rules of who can own a home through the program.


    1. Interesting. You can certainly make an RA request for an exception to any HUD rule, but no guarantees it will be approved.

      There would need to be a disability-related reason why you are making the request. I can’t really think what that might be in this case, but I don’t know your situation.

      I suppose if you lost your first home or could not live in your first home for some reason that was related to your disability, you could try to make an argument that you should be considered for a program for first time homeowners


  4. Ah, There’s another link I click on in “Are you billing or absorbing” which led to info on billing and absorbing and more. Thanks


  5. Hi, Thanks for having this space to ask questions! I’ve been on the Housing Choice Voucher Home Ownership program through Section 8 for 5 years. I’m on SSI/Medicaid/Food stamps/SSDI.
    Recently I had a Building Biologist come to my house and found that the Electromagnetic Frequencies coming from “Smart” meters from my neighbors houses that are very close by, and a source not yet identifiable, are making me very very ill. When I get out of the house I feel much better. Neurological functions are returning, exhaustion is clearing, virus problems are disappearing.

    The Home Ownership Program can’t find a loophole for me to buy another house. They say it’s only for first time homeowners. However, there’s no particular benefits that go for a first time homeowner per se. My voucher just goes to pay my mortgage. I think when they wrote the legislation for this program they may have not considered the need to move.

    I did tell my caseworker my doctor would write a note stating I needed to get out of my house.

    My caseworker said I could rent for three years and then be qualifies to be a new homeowner for the program again, but 1) I’d rather buy a house 2)My house went up in value by $100,000 leaving me with that equity. If I sell, then rent, it could boot me off many of the programs I’m on. Also, I bought at the low of the housing market, houses are more expensive now, I’d much rather put that money toward another house.

    This year my projected medical bills are $22,000. Section 8 is helping to pay a major portion of that cost.

    I’m thinking of calling the Senator’s office to see if I can talk with someone is the appropriate agency. As this problem is making my disability worse, I may have a case.

    What’s may complicate things is that Electromagnetic Frequency problems are new and not considered a problem. Also, my SSDI diagnosis was PTSD/depression, though in the past 3 years doctors found I’m high in 15 heavy metals which explains all the mental and severe physical symptoms.

    Though you may not have the answers, I’m very open to any brainstorming you may provide. Any leads to follow that could be possibilities?

    Thank you for all you do for the community!


    1. Hi sharon,

      I’m sorry I saw these comments out of order! Ignore my last response.

      Yes, I think this looks like a reasonable request to me. Of course, I have no way of knowing it will be granted.

      You would definitely need to make this in writing along with a very clear doctors letter that it is medically recommended that you relocate.

      I think the part about renting three years is complicated. You might need to show that either: a) because if your condition it would not be possible for you to find a suitable rental or b) I don’t know if this would be possible, if being a renter would cause you to lose your healthcare services perhaps that would be considered a disability-related reason?

      If the request is denied, you might need to appeal or go to a higher level. this is a bit of a complex one 🙂


  6. How do you find who has, “Emergency Vouchers”? I read online that if you are in a “Crisis”, then an emergency voucher may be issued for a certain amount. I am in desperate need of this ASAP!!! I will be homeless in a matter of days, if I can’t find help!!!


    1. Hi brendyn,

      Sorry that I don’t know the specific answer to this. Some homeless agencies sometimes have emergency vouchers. I think the best thing would be to contact every homeless agency and program you possibly can and ask what services are available. Very much hope you can find something to help.


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