The Project Based Voucher (PBV) Program
In 1998, the Congress added a new provision to the Section 8 voucher program, allowing PHAs to take a portion of their voucher budget authority and “project-base” that authority.1 The PBV Program, as it became known, would allow PHAs to sponsor or promote the development of certain “hard” units of low-income housing. In creating this new authority, though, the Congress also established some limits or parameters, including:
Not more than 20% of a PHA’s voucher budget authority may be project-based;
Not more than 25% of the units in a project may be assisted, excepting single family properties (four or fewer units per structure), units serving elderly/disabled families, or families receiving supportive services; and,
Each assisted household, after one year, is eligible for the next available voucher (also known as “Choice-Mobility”).
As such, the PBVs are administered by the local voucher agency, which enters into a Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) contract with the project owner. The voucher agency receives an Administrative Fee for these PBV units, in the same manner in which it receives an Administrative Fee for other voucher units. With a few exceptions, standard voucher rules apply, including resident eligibility, tenant rent calculations, housing quality standards, rent reasonableness, etc. Because PBVs are part of the voucher program, the voucher agency administers the PBV waiting list (although it is permitted to maintain separate PBV waiting lists for each PBV project). Where the voucher agency also has an “interest” in the PBV project – say, the PHA is part of the ownership structure – the voucher agency must seek a third party to perform the rent reasonableness determination and to conduct the annual Housing Quality Standards (HQS) inspections.
Since the passage of the 1998 legislation, it is estimated that there are now about 80,000 PBV units nationally (or less than 4% of the approximately 2.2 million vouchers that are in circulation). Regulations implementing the PBV program are found at 24 CFR Part 983.