Most Virginia housing assistance programs are operated by the Virginia Housing Development Agency (VHDA) or the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). If you are currently on a low-income due to circumstances, such as being elderly, disabled, unemployed or only employed on a part-time basis, you may find it difficult to afford standard living costs. The programs offered by the VHDA and the DHCD, as well as other forms of Virginia housing assistance, can allow you to reduce your cost of living if you meet the qualifications to receive housing assistance benefits. Those benefits may include a reduction in your initial mortgage or rental payment, grant assistance or other aid. Many of the programs have other requirements that must be met once an applicant is accepted into the program. Below is a list of the primary housing assistance programs and services offered in Virginia and information on how you can apply for the various benefits those housing assistance sources provide.
The Virginia Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCV)
The Virginia Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCV) can assist you if you are planning to rent a home. The program is known as the Section 8 housing program in many areas around the country. You and your family may qualify for HCV if you have a family income under the maximum amount allowable by the VHDA. That amount changes annually based on the current poverty level and is also subject to change based on the number of people residing in your household at the time of your application. If the number of people residing in your household changes while you are actively participating in the HCV program, then you must notify the VHDA immediately.
When collecting benefits from the VA HCV program you must rent a participating apartment or home. Then you must pay your landlord a portion of the monthly rental amount. The rest of your rent will be paid directly to your landlord in the form of a voucher, which will be received each month from the VHDA. To apply for the VA Housing Choice Voucher Program, you must apply for HCV benefits by visiting at least one of the 32 VHDA offices in Virginia. Each office has a separate HCV waiting list servicing a specific area, which only accepts new applicants during certain times.
Virginia Affordable and Special Needs Housing (ASNH)
The Virginia Affordable and Special Needs Housing Program (ASNH) is a program that combines funds from several sources including the National Housing Trust Fund and the Virginia Housing Trust Fund Competitive Loan Pool. Together those funds are collected and allocated for the construction of low-income housing projects throughout Virginia. You must contact the DHCD to obtain a list of such low-income housing projects in your area.
Virginia Accessibility Grants
If you are a disabled Virginia resident or a legal representative of a disabled Virginia resident and you require modifications to be made to a home or apartment to make it accessible, the landlord of the residence in question is legally obligated to allow you to make those modifications. However, he is not obligated to pay for the modifications you wish to make. If you are on a fixed income and cannot afford to make your own housing modifications then you may be able to visit your local Housing Authority office and apply for an accessibility grant.
Virginia accessibility grants typically provide a maximum of $2,800 in credit. However, if you are applying for a grant on behalf of a severely developmentally or intellectually disabled family member or you fit those categories then you may qualify for up to $10,000 in grant assistance. To qualify for a VA accessibility grant of that type you or the disabled person you are representing must hold an Development Disability Waiver or Intellectual Disability Waiver and earn an amount which is less than 81 percent of the area’s median income where the residence is located.
Virginia Home Ownership and Rental Assistance for Veterans
The Virginia Granting Freedom Fund (GFF) is a special grants program for current military service members and military veterans who incurred disabilities while serving. If you are a disabled service member or military veteran then you may qualify for grant assistance through the Granting Freedom Fund which will allow you to make safety modifications to your residence, such as the installation of wheelchair ramps.
Resources Enabling Affordable Community Housing in Virginia (REACH Virginia) is a program which facilitates community outreach programs for individuals and families who require housing assistance. REACH representatives provide a link between multiple affordable housing resources in each Virginia county, such as housing agencies, nonprofit organizations and local government officials. Contact REACH Virginia for assistance if you are elderly, disabled or on a low income and are unsure of what your local housing options are. A REACH representative can recommend local affordable housing resources to you, which may be necessary if you are moving to a new area or living in a rural part of Virginia where larger assistance agencies do not have local offices.