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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a voucher?

Housing Choice Vouchers (HCVs) Formerly known as Section 8, these vouchers allow very low-income families, the elderly, and disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market. Housing voucher recipients are responsible for finding suitable single-family homes, townhouses, mobile homes or apartments of their choice.  A housing subsidy is paid to the landlord directly by the PHA on behalf of the participating family. The participant only pays the difference between the actual rent charged by the landlord and the amount subsidized by the program.

In short, a voucher is HUD’s agreement to help bridge the gap between what you can afford to pay for rent, and the amount of “Fair Market Rent” as designated by HUD for this region.


Do you have a list of homes that may be available?

Walton County is experiencing an unprecedented shortage of housing.  For this reason, homes for rent do not stay on the market long enough to make it to a list.  For this reason, we do not have a list of available homes right now.  We remain hopeful that more houses will be available in the future and we will again be able to maintain a list of available homes.  WCHA encourages applicants to get out and ride around and look for FOR RENT signs, then call or stop and talk with prospective landlords.


How long is my voucher active?

Because applicants are experiencing difficulties finding available housing, WCHA is issuing vouchers for the full 120 days (approximately 4 months) allowed by policy.  Because this is the full length of time allowed by policy, there are no extensions.


How many voucher extensions can I get?

None.  Please see the answer to “How long is my voucher active?”


What happens if I cannot find a home within 120 days?

You will need to re-apply at and be placed on the wait list.


If I find something that is higher than my rent range, can I just pay the difference?

No.  Your assistance is calculated based on your reported income.  We have therefore calculated all that you can afford to pay.  If you can afford to pay more, then there is income we have not accounted for.


What if someone is helping me pay the difference between the rent amount approved by HUD and the actual rent amount? 

That would be considered “income” for our purposes and should be reported to WCHA.


Does WCHA assist with deposits?



May I use the voucher in another county or state?

No.  Vouchers issued by WCHA must be used in Walton County for the first year.  After that, you may “port” your voucher to another county or state if you wish.


If I cannot find a home Walton County, may I port my voucher to another county or state?

No.  Vouchers issued by WCHA must be used in Walton County for the first year.  After that, you may “port” your voucher to another county or state if you wish.


May I have a pet in the assisted home?

That is between you and your landlord.


How many rooms will I be qualified for?

WCHA calculates rooms needed using a 2 heartbeats per room formula.  We do not consider age or gender differences.


Can I get a place with more bedrooms than my voucher size?

Yes.  As long as the unit is within the same rent range for your voucher size and income guidelines.


How much rent will I pay?

Until you find a unit, it is difficult to determine the exact amount of rent you will pay.  Walton County has a wide array of housing units and types and that affects the amount of rent you pay.  For instance, some units include utilities and others do not.  As a rule of thumb, you can expect to spend 30% of your income on rent and utilities.


Who can I rent from?

You can rent from any landlord willing to accept HUD payments and sign on to our program.  However, you may not rent from a relative.


Know your FICO score

Because of the rising costs of repairs and materials, many landlords are checking credit scores.  If a landlord asks for an application fee, it may be because they are going to run your credit.   Before you pay an application fee, ask if the landlord will be running your credit and find out what their minimum credit score is to rent.  Those application fees can be quite costly, so it pays to know your score!

You can find out what your FICO score is for free.  There are several apps that can be downloaded.  Also, many banks offer credit monitoring as a free feature for their account holders.

Once you find a place, and settle in a bit, if you want to work on your credit score and increase your general financial literacy as well as develop new goals and power up the next phase of your life, please come see us about the Family Self Sufficiency Program.



Again, because of the rising costs of repairs, and other factors, many landlords are asking for, and checking, references.  Having references, may help you get a unit.  Do not worry, if you don’t have any, not everyone checks.  Perhaps you know someone who would write you a character reference?  Or an old landlord who could write a reference for you?  Generally speaking, landlords want assurances that (1) you are going to pay your rent; (2) you are not going to damage their property; and (3) you are not going to disturb your neighbors.


How do I provide Proof of Residency?

WCHA is assisting Walton County residents before assisting Out of County Residents.  To be considered a Walton County resident, an applicant will be required to provide proof of residency for the most recent 6 consecutive months.  Documents that WCHA would recognize include at least 2 of the following types of documents:

  1. Proof of permanent employment for the most recent consecutive 6 months in the form of pay stubs, or a letter from a manager on company letterhead
  2. Lease agreement
  3. Utility bills for the most recent consecutive 6 months
  4. Bank statements for the most recent, consecutive 6 months
  5. Insurance billing statements for the most recent 6 months
  6. Wireless, cable and/or phone bills for the most recent, consecutive 6 months
  7. Letter or statement from a utility/gas/water/cable/wireless/phone company stating that you have been their customer for the most recent, consecutive 6 months
  8. Any other documentation that supports the applicant’s request for local status

If any documentation is contradictory, then the applicant will be treated as out of county.


What if I have a disability?

If you or anyone in your family is a person with disabilities, and you require a specific accommodation in order to fully utilize our programs and services, please email WCHA at and describe the nature of the accommodation you or your family requires.


What if I don’t speak English?

If you are a person with limited English proficiency (LEP) you may request competent interpretation, free of charge.  If you need an interpreter, please notify WCHA a week in advance of your appointment, so that we may have the interpreter on site for your meeting.


What are “Family Obligations”

Family obligations are responsibilities a family must meet in order to maintain good standing with WCHA and avoid termination of assistance.

Please see Resources>Admin Plan>Chapter 12 here at this website for a complete listing of Family Obligations.


What is “VAWA”?

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) provides protections for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking.

VAWA protections are available equally to all individuals regardless of sex, gender identity or sexual orientation.

An individual may not be denied admission, denied assistance, terminated from participation, or be evicted from your rental housing because you are or have been a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking.