Housing Department

The HUD Housing Choice Voucher Program (formerly Section 8) is the federal government’s major program for assisting very-low income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe, sanitary, and affordable rental housing. Rental Assistance allows families in southern Missouri to select their own home in the private rental housing market.

Families may choose any housing that meets the requirements of the program, including a single family home, a multi-family unit such as an apartment or duplex, or a mobile home, provided it meets Housing Quality Standards set by HUD.

Generally, the family will pay 30% of their adjusted income toward housing cost (rent + utilities) with the balance in the form of rental assistance from the program, administered through the Howell County PHA.

Many families utilize rental assistance for a limited time while simultaneously working to improve other items affecting their lives.

Housing Rental Assistance serves over 500 low-income people annually through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program. Wait list priorities apply to all assistance.

Other vouchers offered through the Howell County PHA include the VASH program for homeless veterans, the Foster Youth to Independence vouchers for youth up to age 24 who are exiting or recently exited the foster care system, and the Shelter Plus Care through the Missouri Department of Mental Health, which assists homeless people who have disabilities. For regular updates about wait list openings/closings or changes, follow us on Facebook and/or Twitter.

How to Apply

1. Complete the paper pre-application. To get the pre-app, visit the main office in West Plains, an outreach office in your local county, or click here for a copy to print out. We will also need copies of a social security card, birth certificate, and proof of income for yourself and for anyone in your home aged 18 or older. We will also need and proof of US citizenship forms filled out for everyone in the household. Some are included in the pre-application. Extra citizenship forms can be found here.

2. Visit your local outreach office or visit the West Plains office and fully fill out an application, including names, birth dates, and social security numbers for everyone in the household. We will also need contact information for the main applicant. We will need both the pre-application and the application filled out at an outreach office completed.

3. If all of the above steps are completed correctly and you are eligible to receive assistance through the program, you will be added to the waiting list. We will contact you when it is your turn to attend a briefing to receive a housing voucher. The current wait time for a voucher briefing is: 4+ months

4. Once you get on the wait list we highly encourage you to begin looking for housing. Vouchers are good for 120 days after issuance, however, due to the lack of affordable housing in the region some people who received their voucher spend the entirety of their time attempting to find housing. Great places to check are periodicals, newspapers, Facebook sites and pages for renters, etc.

Landlords Needed!

The need for safe, decent, sanitary and affordable housing continues to grow throughout Southern Missouri. If you own modestly-priced rental units in our service area and would like to participate in the Housing Choice Voucher program or any other voucher program administered by the Howell County PHA, we welcome you to call and speak with us today!

Property owners are responsible for screening prospective tenants. Tenants with a Howell County PHA voucher will contact us after finding housing for our inspectors to visit the property to make sure the location meets Housing Quality Standards.

Why Landlords Should Consider HCV Recipients

The success of the Housing Choice Voucher program depends on the participation of private-market landlords. Unfortunately, negative stereotypes of low-income residents tend to steer landlords away from accepting vouchers.

Here is why you should consider renting to a family that has a Housing Choice Voucher:

It’s guaranteed income – So long as the unit maintains Housing Quality Standards and the tenant remains in good standing with the program, landlords will have some sort of guaranteed income from that unit. Many landlords who rented only to full-paying tenants during the COVID-19 pandemic saw a drastic increase in tenants who could not pay even a portion of their rent – that is not the case with the federally-funded HCV program.

Pre-screened tenants – In addition to qualifying a tenant’s income, the housing authority also performs criminal background checks for all household members that are 18 and older. This screening process may provide extra protection for your rental, as tenants have to pass both your tenant screening process and the housing authority’s.

Lower vacancy rates – The Housing Choice Voucher Program has an ever-expanding waiting list for each housing authority. By participating in the program, your property becomes available to a wider pool of tenants, giving you a better chance of getting it rented quickly.

Less delinquency – HCV recipients are motivated to pay their portion of the rent because they want to keep their housing voucher, which leads to less rent delinquency.

HUD Housing Income Guidelines

Updated April 2022

HH Size   Annual Income