Voucher Program

The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, commonly referred to as Section 8, is a rental subsidy program administered by this agency. As vouchers become available, Portsmouth Housing Authority selects qualified families or individuals from the Wait List who are then certified and briefed on the requirements of the program. After these first steps, the voucher is issued and the recipient (renter) is responsible for finding an apartment of their choice within 60 days, and then arranging for the apartment to be inspected by one of our specialists. If the apartment meets our quality standards and rental limits then you can use the voucher to receive rental assistance.

The dollar amount of the assistance is based upon the difference between rental amount agreed to by the tenant and landlord, and the amount equal to 30% of the family’s adjusted gross income. Portsmouth Housing will submit this amount directly to the landlord to assist the tenant.

To apply for housing assistance, see our Applications page or call us at 603-436-4310.

Voucher Holder FAQs

  1. Complete Portsmouth Housing’s Preliminary Application and be sure to select "Section 8" as a housing option.
  2. Return the fully completed Preliminary Application, along with copies of Social Security cards and Birth Certificates for each member of the household, by email to applications@nh-pha.com or to our office at 245 Middle Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801.
  3. Wait for your Preliminary Application to be processed by Portsmouth Housing. Processing an application can take 2-4 weeks after the completed application and all required documents are submitted. Once processed, you will hear from Portsmouth Housing to confirm or deny that you have been placed on our Waitlist.
  4. When your name nears the top of the Waitlist, you will be invited to a mandatory Voucher Holder Meeting held at the Portsmouth Housing Authority.
  5. Voucher holders will then locate an apartment or home to rent and be sure that the rental price is at or below our allowed limits.
  6. Work with Portsmouth Housing to arrange an inspection by one of our Housing Quality Standard (HQS) Inspectors.
  7. Await the HQS inspection results. If the unit passes the HQS inspection, Portsmouth Housing will provide a lease start date and give the tenant the rent amount.
  8. Sign the lease contract between you and the landlord.
  9. Move in to your new home!
  10. Comply with Portsmouth Housing’s program rules and regulations as spelled out in Portsmouth Housing’s Section 8 Administrative Plan.

The wait time for housing is difficult to determine at time of application. The total wait time is determined by the number of preference points that the applicant has and which properties the applicant has signed up for.

The portability feature allows an eligible family that has been issued a Housing Choice Voucher to use the voucher to lease a unit anywhere there is a housing agency operating the Housing Choice Voucher Program.

Voucher holders in jurisdictions other than Portsmouth may transfer or “port” their vouchers to Portsmouth Housing’s program depending on availability.

All changes must be reported to the PHA within ten days from the date of change. Documentation supporting the change should be submitted along with written notice. Your monthly rent could change depending on whether your income goes up or down. Not reporting changes to income is considered fraud and could cause termination of your tenancy.

Vouchers are issued for a period of 60 days. Two 30-day extensions can be granted based on PHA discretion for a total of 120 days.

Yes, there is a minimum rent requirement of $50.00. This amount will be taken into consideration when calculating the family’s Total Tenant Payment (TTP).

The share of rent is generally 30-40% of your monthly adjusted gross income (AGI).

Yes, it is possible to rent a unit that has more bedrooms than you are eligible for. In addition to advising your Housing Specialist, consider that the rent for the apartment must be equal or less than your voucher payment standard and also factor in the cost of utilities.

Neither you nor any member of your household may lease a unit from immediate family (such as parents, child, grandparents, grandchild, sister, brother, spouse or domestic partner).

No, the unit must pass inspection before we can give you financial assistance.