FAQ Friday: Port Returning to Initial PHA
QUESTION We are not sure what to do in this situation. An HCV participant has been in the process of moving into our PHA’s jurisdiction for several months. Our PHA issued a voucher with an expiration date 30 days after the expiration date of the voucher the client received from the initial PHA. We later approved a 30-day extension of the voucher term at the client’s request, and the extension is about to expire.
The client has not submitted any requests for tenancy approval (RFTAs). She says that she has applied with several local landlords, who have rejected her due to a recent history of eviction. The client has decided to return to her original PHA and seek housing in its jurisdiction. She is requesting that we grant a 60-day extension to seek housing there. We are hesitant to do this since it ties up one of our vouchers. Is our PHA responsible for extensions in this situation?
ANSWER No, the receiving PHA (in this case, your agency) is not responsible for extending the voucher term when a client exercising portability decides to return to the initial PHA or to seek housing in a third jurisdiction. While not addressed in the applicable regulations, HUD has issued guidance on the issue in Notice PIH 2016-09:
Family Decides Not to Lease in the Receiving PHA’s Jurisdiction. If an incoming family ultimately decides not to lease in the jurisdiction of the receiving PHA, the receiving PHA must refer the family back to the initial PHA. The voucher of record for the family is once again the voucher originally issued by the initial PHA, and the initial PHA’s policies apply. Any extensions of the initial PHA’s voucher to allow the family additional search time to return to the initial PHA’s jurisdiction or to move to another jurisdiction are at the discretion of the initial PHA. The initial PHA must apply its own policies on moves for families that decide not to use their voucher to port to another jurisdiction.
Once the participant has decided not to lease a unit in your jurisdiction, your agency is no longer responsible for voucher extensions. The initial agency will have to decide whether to extend its voucher to provide additional search time.
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