Project-Based Vouchers

A variation on the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program is the Project-Based Voucher (or “Project-Based Certificate” for commitments prior to 2001) program. Under this program, the public housing authority (PHA) uses a portion of its Housing Choice Voucher funds to attach voucher assistance to particular units through Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contracts with private landlords. PHAs enter into initial HAP contracts for 15-20 years year terms and may agree to extend the initial or renewed HAP contract for up to 20 additional years. PHAs usually cannot assign PBVs for more than 25% of the units (or 25 units, whichever is greater) in a project. PHAs refer eligible tenants from its Housing Choice Voucher waiting list to private landlords for available units. Good cause is required for the owner to terminate or not renew a tenant’s lease. After living at the property for 12 months, tenants may request tenant-based rental assistance from the PHA to move from the property. If a family chooses to move, the PBV assistance remains with the building, to be used by the next occupant, for the length of the HAP contract between the PHA and the landlord.

What are some emerging issues?

Conversions under the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program have resulted in many public housing, Rent Supplement, Rental Assistance Payment, and Moderate Rehabilitation units converting to project-based vouchers. This means that tenant advocates may see large increases in the number of PBV units in their community.

Additionally, there are differing opinions on whether PBVs are considered “project-based assistance” under federal laws and regulations. NHLP has written this memo describing why we believe that PBVs should be considered project-based assistance, especially in the context of tenant organizing rights.


Statutory and Regulatory Authority

  • Statutes
    • Section 8 of the United States Housing Act of 1937, 42 U.S.C.A. §§ 1437f(o) and 13661-13664
  • Regulations
    • 24 C.F.R. part 5
    • 24 C.F.R. part 983
  • HUD Notices
    • HUD Notice 2013-27: Subject: Voluntary Relinquishment of Enhanced Voucher Assistance or Regular Housing Choice Voucher Assistance in Exchange for Project-Based Voucher Assistance in Multifamily Housing Conversion Actions
    • HUD Notice 2011-54: Subject: Guidance on the Project-Based Voucher Program
    • HUD Notice 2015-05: Subject: Project-Based Voucher (PBV) Guidance