Frequently Asked Questions -- HCV Program


How does a family participate in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program?

As vouchers become available, HACP contacts registered names from a waiting list and screens them for program eligibility. Families who meet the income guidelines and pass a criminal background check are issued vouchers. These vouchers allow them to have a portion of their rent paid by HACP and HUD (Dept. of Housing and Urban Development).

What is the cost to participate in the HCV Program?

There is no cost. The HCV Program is a government service provided free of charge. It is illegal for anyone to charge applicants, voucher holders or program participants for ANY services provided by the HCV Program, including obtaining a voucher, applying to the program or being placed on the waiting list. If someone attempts to sell you a voucher, application or place on the waiting list, notify HACP immediately by contacting the HACP Hotline at 412-456-5111.

How can I get on the HCV Program waiting list?

At this time, the waiting list is closed. In 2014, the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania) opened the lottery for the Housing Choice Voucher Program waiting list. The deadline to register was May 11, 2014. Individuals that completed the required questions and submitted a pre-application form during the registration period were entered into an electronic lottery. A computer then randomly selected the names of 5,000 individuals and randomly assigned them a position on the waiting list. Those who received a spot on the waiting list were notified via postal mail.

If you did not register for the lottery between April 27 and May 11, 2014, your name was not added to the lottery and you are therefore not eligible for the waiting list or the HCV Program. 

When will the waiting list re-open?

Information concerning the re-opening of the HCV waiting list will appear on the HACP web site.

How do I know if I was selected for the waiting list?

Everyone who submitted a pre-application form for the lottery received correspondence notifying them whether or not they had been placed on the waiting list. You may also use this link to access the HACP Applicant Portal to determine if you have been selected by random lottery and placed on the HCV waiting list. HCV Program staff continues to review the list and screen applicants for program eligibility. Those who meet the qualifications will be issued vouchers to search for a rental unit in the private market.

I am on the HCV waiting list. How do I find out my status?

When a family’s application number reaches the top of the list, they are notified by mail. This makes it extremely important for families on the waiting list to alert HACP in writing of any change in contact information. For more information, call the HACP Occupancy Department at 412-456-5030.

Are there other affordable housing options?

Yes. You may apply to HACP’s Low-Income Public Housing communities, permitting the waiting lists for those communities are open. Please refer to the “How to Apply for Housing” section of the HACP web page for additional information to apply for our Low-Income Public Housing communities.

You may also visit the HUD Low-Rent Apartment Search link indicated below. For the units listed on this site, the government gives funds directly to apartment owners, who lower the rents they charge low-income tenants. You can find low-rent apartments for senior citizens and people with disabilities, as well as for families and individuals. If this may interest you, please go to the link below, answer the questions on the site and you will be provided a listing of applicable properties to contact.


How do Property Owners/Investors participate in the program?

Property Owners/Investors who have a property for rent should advertise and market it. Voucher holders will contact you directly if they are interested in your property. If a family or individual with a voucher passes your screening process, you will submit a Request for Tenancy Approval (RFTA) packet provided by the voucher holder and submit it to HACP. Then, HCV Program inspection staff will contact the property owner/investor to schedule an inspection.

HACP also offers property owners/investors a free online property listing service.

Does the HCV Program screen families before issuing them vouchers?

Sort of. HACP conducts criminal background checks on all applicant families for individuals 18 years of age and older. Members of an applicant household must pass a criminal background check and meet income guidelines before they are issued vouchers.

HACP does not conduct criminal background checks on families already participating in the HACP HCV Program. Property owners/investors should implement and carry out their own screening process for all prospective tenants regardless of whether or not they are applicant voucher holders or participant voucher holders.

Am I allowed to consult with a Voucher Holder’s previous landlord as part of my screening?

Yes. If a voucher holder previously rented a unit under the HCV Program, HACP may provide the contact information for the property owner/manager of that unit to assist you in your screening process. These requests must be submitted in writing to the HCV Landlord Support Representative. Please call the HACP Housing Choice Voucher Department at 412-456-5090 for more information.

Why are units required to pass a Housing Quality Standards (HQS) inspection?

All units must pass HQS inspections to make sure they meet a minimum set of health and safety requirements established by the federal government. The inspection process is based on the premise that government funds should not subsidize substandard housing and that all families regardless of their income have a right to live in housing that is safe, decent and sanitary.

How can I contact the Inspection Department Directly?

The direct phone number for the inspection department is 412-456-5000, option 4, option 3. You may also e-mail Bill.Moik@hacp.org or Leslie.Davison@hacp.org for inspection results and inspection appointment dates.

How do I report program violations?

Should you become aware of any fraudulent activity by an HACP employee, HCVP applicant, HCVP voucher holder, HCV program participant or participating property owner/manager, please report it to the HACP Hotline at 412-456-5111. All reports are kept confidential. Should you become aware of what you believe to be an HCV program applicant, voucher holder, participant or property owner or manager violating the rules and regulations of the HCV Program, please report it to HACP’s HCV Program Hotline at 412-456-5111. All reports are kept confidential.

For portability purposes, what are the Housing Authority City of Pittsburgh’s (HACP’s) administrative fees?

Effective April 1, 2014, the HACP’s administrative fee is $39.17.