Moving and Your Section 8 Assistance


Applying for Section 8 can be done anywhere in the country. However, once you are notified that you will start receiving the housing assistance, you have to live within the area of jurisdiction of the Public Housing Agency (PHA) where you applied.

Taking your Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher to a different area

"Porting" is a process where Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher holders are allowed to move to a different area and still receive their housing assistance benefits. Certain conditions must be met for this to be allowed.

One of the conditions is that the Housing Choice Voucher holder may move after living for one year in the jurisdiction of the housing agency where the voucher was issued. For example, you currently live in Buffalo, New York, and you apply for a waiting list in San Francisco, California, you are required to live within the San Francisco Housing Authority's administration for 12 months with your housing voucher before porting.

If the housing voucher holder is a resident of the area when they originally applied for the voucher, they can request to transfer to a different jurisdiction anytime. For example, you are living in San Francisco, California and apply for the San Francisco Housing Authority's Section 8 waiting list, you may port to a new area anytime after receiving your voucher.

The Housing and Urban Development (HUD) gives a lot of leeway to the local housing authorities when it comes to their policies in porting. CHeck with the housing agency where you are applying for other details and requirements they may have.

To start this process, you need to contact the housing agency that currently oversees your voucher first. Next, is contacting the housing agency that serves the area where you are interested in moving to. That housing agency must either be "billing" or "absorbing" vouchers. Billing indicates that the housing agency is going to take you in as a tenant, however, they will bill your former housing agency for its share of your monthly rent. Absorbing indicates that the housing agency will take full control over your housing voucher.

Housing agency not absorbing or billing? Then it means you cannot port to that housing agency. Proceed with contacting other nearby housing agencies until you discover one that is either billing or absorbing vouchers.

It is very important to take into account any expenses associated with moving to a new location like your current lease, moving and travel costs, rental deposit, and utility costs. Plan for school registration, employment, transportation, and childcare before you begin the porting process to make the transition to a new home easier.

Moving out of your household who is currently receiving Housing Choice Vouchers?

Both places cannot receive the housing assistance at the same time.

  • Are you the head of household? If yes, you may check if you fulfill the requirements for porting, then start the process as mentioned above. Note, however, that if you do port, the household you leave will no longer receive rental compensation in the unit they are living in.
  • Not the head of household? You may move out, but you cannot use the housing voucher to help you pay the rent for your new unit. You may submit a new application to the Section 8 waiting list at the housing agency which covers the location you are moving to, as long as the waiting list is open, and know that you will be waiting to receive the new voucher.

Moving temporarily?

Contact the housing agency that manages your voucher so that you may pause the housing assistance until you return. However, this can only be done in a short period of time.