The typical housing choice voucher (HCV) will inform the holder about the unit size for which the family is eligible and enable the family to rent an approved unit that meets rent reasonability and Public Housing Authority (PHA) inspection guidelines. However, a few special purpose vouchers have unique eligibility requirements and offer different benefits for the holder.

Generally, the special voucher types allow the voucher owner to qualify for targeted assistance. Most of the time, PHAs must apply for special funding that allows them to distribute these types of special vouchers. In addition to meeting unique eligibility requirements, special voucher families must usually meet the normal eligibility requirements, such as the minimum income limit. Applicant families who meet the targeted description may receive housing assistance ahead of typical waitlisted applicants. Here are a few examples of special voucher types:

Non-Elderly Disabled (NED) voucher: NED vouchers help people with disabilities who may face difficulty finding affordable private housing. The NED Category 1 voucher is designed to provide non-elderly persons or families with disabilities with access to affordable private housing. The NED Category 2 voucher type is designed specifically for non-elderly tenants with a disability who are moving out of elderly-designated public housing units or institutions that typically care for the elderly in an attempt to integrate with the broader local community.

HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) voucher: This voucher is designed for homeless Veterans and their families, and it combines a regular HCV with support services offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). HUD awards HUD-VASH grants to certain high-performing PHAs that (1) have jurisdiction over areas with a high number of homeless veterans and (2) are located near a Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC). HUD-VASH recipients are usually referred to the voucher program by a partnering VAMC.

Conversion voucher: These vouchers are designed for families currently living in public housing units that are scheduled for demolition or conversion. The local PHA will contact families that are eligible for a conversion voucher. As long as these families meet normal eligibility requirements for Section 8, they will automatically receive a conversion voucher. The family must find a new unit that meets program requirements.

Family Unification Program (FUP) voucher: FUP vouchers are intended for families with children who are separated from the family or are facing separation from the family due to current housing conditions. Former foster care recipients between ages 18 and 24 may also be eligible for FUP vouchers; however, these beneficiaries can only receive FUP housing assistance for a maximum of 36 months. FUP beneficiaries are typically referred to the housing assistance program by a local public child welfare agency.

Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) program voucher: The PHA selects housing assisted families that are eligible for the FSS program. The family signs a 5-year contract that explains the program’s expectations and the family’s responsibilities. The PHA provides services and resources to help the family meet certain self-sufficiency goals expressed in the contract.

Homeownership Voucher Program: Only certain PHAs can participate in the homeownership voucher program. Under this program, housing payment recipients who meet a PHA’s eligibility guidelines may use the HCV to make payments on a home of their own.