Emergency Housing Voucher (EHV) Program

HUD has allocated approximately 70,000 emergency housing vouchers (EHVs) to public housing authorities (PHAs) across the nation. THDA was awarded 325 EHVs to assist individuals and families who are experiencing

  • Homelessness;
  • At risk of experiencing homelessness;
  • Fleeing, or attempting to flee, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, or human trafficking; or
  • Were recently homeless and for whom providing rental assistance will prevent the family’s homelessness or having high risk of housing instability.

EHV Program vouchers are available through September 23, 2023.

How the Program Works

The EHV program is a referral-based voucher program. THDA partners with Continuums of Care (CoC) to assist qualifying individuals or families through a direct referral process to determine eligibility for the EHV Program and provide rental assistance. THDA also reimburses HUD support service funding grants to organizations designated by the CoC to assist eligible clients to access rental housing options, including housing search assistance, rent deposits, utility deposits, landlord incentives, and other related uses associated with tenant readiness.

Applicants should locate the county they wish to live in and apply for services through the contact information given below. Applicants must meet the program criteria and requirements set forth by the CoC who serves your county to participate.

Locate the county where you reside, select the link or call the phone number to apply for services

Counties Served

Continuum of Care (CoC) / Nonprofit
Apply for services
Franklin

TN-500
Chattanooga-Southeast TN CoC

Volunteer Behavioral Health

Homeless Helpline

Available Monday - Friday
7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. (CST)
(423) 326-4234

www.homelesscoalition.org

Bedford, Cheatham, Coffee, Giles, Hickman, Lawrence,
Lewis, Lincoln, Marshall, Maury, Montgomery, Moore,
Perry, Robertson, Sumner, Trousdale, Wayne

TN-503
Central Tennessee CoC

Community Housing Partners
or
Franklin Housing Authority

(615) 510-7805
Available Monday - Friday
8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (CST)

http://www.centraltn503.org

Cannon, Clay, DeKalb, Fentress, Jackson, Macon,
Morgan, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, Roane, Scott,
Smith, Van Buren, Warren, White, Wilson

TN-506
Upper Cumberland CoC

Upper Cumberland Human Resource
Agency (UCHRA)

Homeless Referral Line
Intake Monday - Friday
8 a.m. - 12 p.m.
844-556-7626

Benton, Carroll, Chester, Crockett, Decatur, Dyer,
Gibson, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood,
Henderson, Henry, Houston, Humphreys,
Lake, Lauderdale, Madison, McNairy, Obion,
Stewart, Tipton, Weakley

TN-507
Jackson/West Tennessee CoC

Fayette Cares
(Domestic Violence only)

or
Tennessee Homeless Solutions

West TN Homeless Hotline
1-866-307-5469
or
Email: EHV.ths@gmail.com
or
tnhomelesssolutions.org

THDA does not manage all EHVs in the state of Tennessee. If you do not see your county of residence on this list, click the link to locate the housing authority in your county.


Program Contacts

India Whatley, Manager iwhatley@thda.org
Z. Randle, Interim Coordinator zrandle@thda.org


Landlord/Property Owners

THDA is recruiting landlords to help end homelessness and remove the barriers of locating housing. Landlords/Property Owners should list their properties on www.TNHousingSearch.org for families to locate properties in your area. Landlord Incentives Available.


    Eligibility

    How do I apply for a voucher?

    Applicants must apply through the CoC listed for the county they reside in and meet the requirements set forth by the CoC and the EHV program. (See CoC list in "How the Program Works.")

    Who qualifies for the EHV Program?

    EHVs are specifically designed for households who are:

    • Homeless;
    • At Risk of Homelessness;
    • Fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking or human trafficking; or
    • Recently homeless and for whom providing rental assistance will prevent the family’s homelessness or having high risk of housing instability.

    Detailed information on household eligibility can be found in Section 8 of PIH Notice 2021-15.

    How is “at-risk of homelessness” defined?

    The EHV program uses the definition of “at-risk of homelessness” outlined at 24 CFR 578.3, which can also be found in PIH Notice 2021-15 in section 8.b. An outline of this definition is available here.

    Does the THDA pull applicants from its current waitlist for EHV?

    No, the THDA must only accept referrals for EHVs directly from the CoC’s Coordinated Entry (CE) System or other partner referral agencies. However, at a minimum, the THDA must inform families on the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) waiting list of the availability of EHVs. The THDA can post the information to its website or provide public notice in its respective communities. The THDA public notice must describe the targeted populations to which the EHVs are limited and explain that the availability of these EHVs is managed through a direct referral process through the CoC. The THDA notice must also advise the applicant to contact the CoC (and any other PHA referral partner) if they believe they might be eligible for EHV assistance. HUD has waived 24 CFR 982.204(f), which provides that a PHA must use a single waitlist for admission to its HCV program.

    Are the vouchers available for individuals or just families?

    EHVs are available to both individuals and families, meeting the eligibility criteria.

    How is HUD defining “family” for the EHV Program?

    HUD’s definition of “family” for the EHV program is the same as the definition of “family” for the HCV program. Under the HCV program regulations at 24 CFR 982.4, the term “family” is a person or a group of persons, as determined by the PHA consistent with 24 CFR 5.403, approved to reside in a unit with assistance under the program. The term “family” used in EHV/HCV context encompasses a family that is comprised of a single individual, in addition to a family consisting of “a group of persons.”

    What if an individual or family is over income?

    The THDA must determine whether a family is income eligible prior to the approval of EHV assistance. If the family is over income based on the most recently published income limits for the family size, the family is ineligible for HCV and EHV assistance.

    What type of documentation is acceptable when determining that a family falls under one of the four eligibility categories?

    CoCs and Victim Service Providers (VSPs) are responsible for determining eligibility for EHVs, referring eligible families to the THDA, and providing documentation to the THDA that the family meets one of the four eligibility categories. Once the THDA receives documentation from the CoC or VSP that the family falls under one of the four eligibility categories, no further documentation is needed.

    Are unaccompanied youth eligible for EHVs?

    Youth between the ages of 18-24 are eligible for EHVs. Youth under 18, however, must be part of a family that includes a person 18 years or older in order for the family to be eligible for an EHV.

    Can households without eligible immigrant status be eligible for EHV?

    No. As tenant-based assistance under section 8(o) of the United States Housing Act of 1937, EHV requirements for citizenship are the same as the HCV program. 24 CFR § 5.506 requires at least one member of the household to be a U.S. citizen or a noncitizen with eligible immigration status to receive assistance under section 8(o).

    My community has veterans who may be eligible for both HUD-VASH and EHV. How do we determine which program would be a better fit for the veteran?

    HUD recommends that the determination should be made based on the case management needs of the veteran. This would result in veterans referred by the VA for HUD-VASH being served by HUD-VASH, as the referral signifies the VA’s determination of the veteran’s needs for ongoing case management services. Depending on the populations PHAs and their partnering CoC(s) have agreed to prioritize for EHV referrals, the CoC may refer veteran families who are ineligible for HUD-VASH but otherwise eligible for EHV.

    Are former foster youth who are eligible for the Family Unification Program (FUP) also eligible for EHV? If they are eligible for EHV, must they also be assessed through the CE System first?

    Former foster youth who are eligible for FUP may also be eligible for EHV if they meet the EHV eligibility criteria defined in Section 8 of PIH Notice 2021-15. Per EHV requirements, the CoC or other partnering agency has to provide the referral through the CE System.

    Partnerships and Collaborations

    What is a Continuum of Care (CoC)?

    The CoC is a local planning body that coordinates housing and services funding for homeless individuals and families. The CoC Program is designed to:

    • Promote communitywide commitment to the goal of ending homelessness;

    • Provide funding for efforts by nonprofit providers and State and local governments to quickly rehouse homeless individuals and families and minimize the trauma and dislocation that homelessness causes for individuals, families, and communities;

    • Promote access to and effect utilization of mainstream programs by homeless individuals and families; and

    • Optimize self-sufficiency among individuals and families experiencing homelessness.

    Section 9.b of PIH Notice 2021-15 provides a more thorough description of CoCs and their role in the EHV program. Additional information on CoCs can be found here.

    Which CoC will be working with THDA?

    Four (4) CoC agencies are partnering with THDA.

    What is a Victims Service Provider (VSP)?

    HUD defines a VSP as a private nonprofit organization whose primary mission is to provide direct services to victims of domestic violence. This term includes permanent housing providers— including rapid rehousing, domestic violence programs (shelters and non-residential), domestic violence transitional housing programs, dual domestic violence and sexual assault programs, and related advocacy and supportive services programs. The term includes organizations that provide these services to individuals or families fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, human trafficking or other dangerous or life-threatening conditions that relate to violence against the individual or a family member. Additional information about how HUD defines VSP is available here.

    What are the roles and responsibilities of CoCs, VSPs, and PHAs?

    CoCs and VSPs are responsible for the following:

    • Assessing eligible households for EHV and services, if needed.
    • Referring eligible households to the PHA for EHV.
    • CoCs may also assist referred households in completing and obtaining necessary documentation for the EHV application process.

    PHAs are responsible for the EHV program, in accordance with the EHV Operating Requirements Notice and the applicable HCV program regulations, including but not limited to:

    • Reviewing applications for EHV, certify program eligibility, and conducting annual
    • recertifications for continued eligibility.
    • Determining that the unit meets Housing Quality Standards (HQS) and approving units for leasing and contracts.
    • Determining amounts and paying Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) to landlords on behalf of the participants.
    • Explaining and providing information about program policies and procedures to current and prospective landlords and participants.
    • Monitoring program performance and compliance of participants and owners.

    What are EHV permissive prohibition policies?

    Under regular HCV rules, PHAs are allowed to use permissive prohibitions in their admissions policies, which means that the THDA may prohibit admission of a household to the program if the THDA determines that any household member is currently engaged in, or has engaged in during a reasonable time before the admission, certain types of criminal activity. Per Section 9g of PIH Notice 2021-15, HUD has eliminated the THDA’s permissive prohibitions for EHV admissions related to drug-related criminal activity.

    Where can I find additional resources and information on working with survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking?

    Additional resources include, but are not limited to:

    Human trafficking organizations:

    Sexual assault organizations:

    Culturally specific communities of color organizations:

    Voucher Administration

    How does THDA administer the EHVProgram?

    The THDA updated its Administrative Plan to include the EHV Program. Visit this link to view the added chapter.

    What is a waiver and alternative requirement?

    Per PIH Notice 2021-15, EHVs are tenant-based vouchers under Section 8(o) of the United States Housing Act of 1937. Therefore, all regulatory requirements and HUD directives regarding the HCV Program are applicable to EHVs, including the use of all HUD-required contracts and other forms. Waivers and alternative requirements, which are detailed in PIH Notice 2021-15, have been determined by the HUD Secretary to be needed to expedite and facilitate the use of the EHV funding. In the context of EHV, a “waiver” is where HUD is intentionally eliminating a normally applicable HCV program statutory or regulatory requirement. An “alternative requirement” is where HUD is creating a specific requirement that is not an existing HCV program requirement, such as an alternative requirement to an existing requirement that HUD has waived for the EHV program.

    Can the THDA allow EHV holders to keep the security deposit paid on behalf of the family when it is returned by the owner?

    PHAs are encouraged to consult with their legal counsel to determine whether local and State statutes regarding unclaimed property may apply and take precedence over the Notice. The Notice states that the PHA, “…may place conditions on the security deposit assistance, such as requiring the owner or family to return the security deposit assistance to the PHA at the end of the family’s tenancy (less any amounts retained by the owner in accordance with the lease,” or it may choose to not place those restrictions). The THDA’s Administrative Plan provides its policy on how the THDA will handle security deposits.

    Can EHVs be utilized for individuals and families identified for the “Moving-On” Strategy?

    Yes. Individuals and families identified for a Moving-On strategy who currently reside in Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) and were homeless at the time of admission to that program are eligible under Category 4 of the eligible populations for EHV as individuals or families who were recently homeless. PSH participants must also be referred for EHV through the CoC and all applicants must meet the statutory requirements under the ARP. HUD has made available resources to help communities with their Moving-On strategies here.

    Do EHVs come with supportive services?

    EHVs do not come with ongoing supportive services.

    Who is responsible for helping EHV recipients locate housing?

    Housing search assistance can be provided by the CoC or other partnering service agencies. Housing Locators affiliated with CoCs and VSPs are often skilled negotiators and have existing relationships with landlords, which can provide opportunities for households with higher barriers to housing.

    Can EHVs be utilized for project-based voucher (PBV) units?

    No. PHAs may not utilize EHV for project-based units but must administer these vouchers exclusively as tenant-based assistance. Section 4102(b)(1) of the American Rescue Plan Act provides that the EHVs "shall be tenant-based assistance under Section 8(o) of the United States Housing Act of 1937." In addition to the requirement that EHVs must be tenant-based voucher assistance, several provisions of Section 4102 are not compatible with project-based voucher assistance. In particular, the requirement with respect to the termination of vouchers upon turnover is clearly compatible with tenant-based voucher assistance, but it is not compatible with multi-year PBV contracts where assistance is tied to the project.

    If the THDA has not obtained eligibility documentation from the CoC, can the THDA issue a voucher?

    Yes. If the CoC determines that a family qualifies for an EHV, then the THDA may accept self-certifications, in accordance with the waiver described in Sections 9.h and 9.i of PIH Notice 2021-15.

    Are EHVs time-limited for the family?

    No. However, EHVs cannot be reissued after September 23, 2023. After this date, PHAs cannot reissue vouchers that have turned over. This provision does not impact existing families and their continued assistance. The funds appropriated for the EHV program are available for obligation by HUD until September 30, 2030.

    Are there any restrictions on families who may owe debts to a PHA?

    No. As outlined in PIH Notice 2021-15, Section 9g, unlike regular HCV admissions, PHAs may not deny an EHV applicant admission regardless of whether:

    • Any member of the family has been evicted from federally assisted housing in the last five years or a PHA has ever terminated assistance under the program for any member of the family.
    • The family currently owes rent or other amounts to the PHA or to another PHA in connection with Section 8 or public housing assistance under the 1937 Act.
    • The family has not reimbursed any PHA for amounts paid to an owner under a HAP contract for rent, damages to the unit, or other amounts owed by the family under the lease.
    • The family breached an agreement with the PHA to pay amounts owed to a PHA or amounts paid to an owner by a PHA.

    EHV funding may not be used for the repayment of debts or any amounts owed to HUD by HUD program participants including, but not limited to, those resulting from Office of Inspector General (OIG), Quality Assurance Division (QAD) or other monitoring review findings.

    Can Emergency Solutions Grants (including ESG-CV) or CoC funding be used to pair support services/case management with EHV?

    In general, yes. A community could braid ESG or CoC funding with EHV. Recipients must ensure an individual is eligible and prioritized for both EHV and the program providing services. Additionally, recipients must ensure that all program requirements are met and that the services or case management are eligible under the ESG or CoC program rules. If a community can meet those requirements, it may provide supportive services from either ESG or CoC with the voucher from EHV.

    Will funding for EHVs be available on a continuous basis?

    The initial funding term expires on December 31, 2022. HUD will provide renewal funding for EHVs on a calendar basis moving forward after that, beginning in calendar year 2023. As stated in PIH Notice 2021-15, Section 16, the $5 billion in funds appropriated for EHV are available until September 30, 2030.

    How long may a PHA extend the initial search term for an EHV?

    HUD determined that an initial search term of 60 days may be inadequate. Consequently, HUD is waiving 24 CFR § 982.303(a), which provides that the initial search term must be at least 60 days and is establishing an alternative requirement that the initial term for an EHV must be at least 120 days per Section 9.m of Notice PIH 2021-15. After 120 days, the PHA’s regular policies regarding extensions as established in the PHA’s HCV Administrative Plan would apply. PHAs are encouraged to be reasonable in extending voucher search times; work closely with the family and partnering service providers; and provide the appropriate, required housing search assistance.

    How are units approved for EHV tenancy?

    EHVs follow the same procedures for tenancy as the regular HCV program. After an EHV family has submitted a Request for Tenancy Approval (RFTA), the PHA will contact the landlord to schedule an inspection. Please refer to the COVID-19 related waivers that the PHA may apply to EHV in Attachment 1 of PIH Notice 2021-15 with respect to inspections. The procedure may differ for individual PHAs, but in general, an issuing PHA must:

    • Confirm the unit is eligible.
    • Determine the unit meets the HQS set by HUD.
    • Determine that the rent being charged is reasonable in accordance with the standards established for that area by the PHA.

    If a household is already housed with a subsidy (ex. ESG-CV or CoC PSH) and is referred for an EHV through the CE System, how is the household’s lease situation handled? Will their current lease need to be terminated so a new lease can be started with the EHV or can the EHV be placed on the unit using the existing lease?

    A new HCV compliant lease should be executed for eligible EHV families.

    Are PHAs required to offer orientation/briefings for families referred for EHVs?

    PHAs are responsible for all the administrative responsibilities outlined in PIH Notice 2021-15 and the applicable HCV program regulations. When the PHA selects a referred family to participate in the EHV program, the PHA must provide the family with an oral briefing. These requirements are found at 24 CFR 982.301. PIH Notice 2021-15 provides guidance for PHAs on the use of remote briefings. CoC and VSP partners may attend orientations/briefings with EHV families to assist families in keeping appointments and understanding program requirements.

    If an applicant owes money to a Section 8 project-based property for nonpayment of rent due to COVID-19, can EHV services fees be used to pay that debt to receive the EHV and go to another property?

    No, EHV fees cannot be used to pay HCV debts.

    Portability

    Will individuals and families be able to use vouchers outside the jurisdiction of the PHA that issued the voucher (i.e. port the voucher)?

    Yes. EHV follows most of the normal portability rules of the HCV program with a few alternative requirements intended to be more permissive on moves, as outlined in PIH Notice 2021-15, Section 9o. Under HCV program rules, if neither the household head nor spouse of an assisted family already had a ‘domicile’ (legal residence) in the jurisdiction of the PHA at the time the family first submitted an application for participation in the HCV program, the family does not have any right to portability during the 12-month period from when the family is first admitted to the program, as the family is considered a “non-resident applicant” This means that the PHA has the discretion to restrict portability during this 12-month period in the HCV program. For EHV, the PHA may not restrict an EHV family from exercising portability as a nonresident applicant. Therefore, all EHV families may immediately move under portability.

    Landlord/Property Owners

    What benefits are available to landlords who agree to accept an EHV tenant?

    There are a variety of benefits available to participating landlords, including:

    • Having a contracted monthly assistance payment deposited directly into an owner’s bank account.
    • Reduced likelihood of tenants defaulting on their rent. If the tenant’s income decreases, the landlord’s HAP may increase.
    • Minimal paperwork is required to get set up and landlords are allowed to use their own lease and screening process.
    • Inspections are completed by the PHA, or their designee, which will aide owners in identifying maintenance issues on the property.
    • EHV Service Fees can cover security deposits, holding fees, application fees, and renter’s insurance (where necessary).

    What is required to be an EHV or HCV eligible landlord?

    The HCV program requirements at 24 CFR 982.306 set forth eligible housing requirements which landlords must meet for PHA approval of an assisted tenancy.

    • Verification of property ownership.
    • Property taxes must be current.
    • Owners may not have any unpaid debt to the PHA.
    • A valid property management agreement, if you are an agent for an owner.

    How do I become a landlord for the EHV program?

    When an applicant with an EHV applies for your unit, you are responsible for following your standard application screening process to determine suitability. Once you have approved the applicant to rent the unit, you will complete the RFTA provided by the applicant and return it to the THDA with a copy of your unexecuted lease. If you are a contracted property management firm, you will also need to provide a copy of your management agreement with the property owner. Once your paperwork has been received, the THDA will contact you with next steps.

    Once the RFTA has been processed and initial determination of rent reasonableness has been conducted, an inspector will contact you to schedule an inspection of the unit. The inspection is followed by a final review of rent reasonableness. If your unit passes inspection and is determined rent reasonable, you will be notified that you can now proceed with signing a lease. If your unit does not pass the inspection, you will receive written notification of failed items and a follow-up inspection will be scheduled. Once the unit has been approved and the lease signed, a representative from the THDA will contact you with the HAP contract for signing.

    Additional information on becoming a landlord for the HCV program is available at HUD’s Landlord Resources page.

    Are EHV tenants screened by the THDA to ensure they are responsible tenants?

    No. In accordance with CFR 24§ 983.307, the owner is responsible for screening and selection of the family to occupy the owner's unit. The PHA is responsible for screening families to determine eligibility for the HCV program.

    Can a security deposit be required?

    Yes. Landlords are permitted to collect a security deposit.

    Who is responsible for ensuring that the tenant pays their portion of the rent?

    The tenant is responsible for paying the family’s portion of the rent and the owner is responsible for enforcing the lease if the tenant fails to do so. The landlord must also send any notices issued to the tenant for non-payment or noncompliance to the THDA.

    What is the purpose of HQS?

    The goal of the EHV program is to provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing at an affordable cost to low-income families experiencing or at risk of homelessness. HQS helps accomplish that goal by establishing the minimum quality criteria necessary for the health and safety of program participants. All housing units must meet HQS in order to participate in the EHV program.

    What aspects of housing quality are covered in the HQS?

    The HCV program requirements at 24 CFR 982.401 set forth basic housing quality standards which all units must meet before the PHA can pay assistance on behalf of a family. The key aspects of housing quality covered by HQS include:

    • Sanitation facilities
    • Food preparation and refuse disposal
    • Space and security
    • Thermal environment
    • Illumination and electricity
    • Structure and materials
    • Interior air quality
    • Water supply
    • Lead-based paint
    • Access
    • Site and neighborhood
    • Sanitary conditions
    • Smoke detectors

    Where can owners/landlords advertise units to EHV families?

    Voucher holders search for available units on the open market. Owners/landlords can consider advertising their units online, including the following websites:

    • TNHousingSearch.org
    • GoSection8.com
    • Apartments.com
    • Craigslist.com
    • ForRent.com
    • Zillow.com