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***Important Notice of Upcoming Changes To The Housing Choice Voucher Program***

December 2023

Dear Housing Choice Voucher Tenants:

We are pleased to announce that, for a third consecutive year, HUD has approved a waiver for the Berks County Housing Authority to keep our payment standards (maximum subsidy) at 120% of the HUD published Fair Market Rent (FMR) through 12/31/2024.

Back in July 2022, the BCHA obtained approval from HUD to increase the payment standards to 120% of the Fair Market Rent (FMR) through 12/31/2022, in hopes to help more quickly respond to ongoing fluctuations and disruptions in the rental market. Consequently, BCHA requested such waiver to be extended through 12/31/2023, which was reviewed and approved, allowing the payment standards to remain at 120% during the HAP contract term and at new voucher tenancy. Once again, we have been given the opportunity to apply for an extension of such waiver through 12/31/2024, which was also reviewed and approved by HUD, allowing for higher Housing Assistance Payments and lower tenant portion of rents. You will be advised when we are near the expiration of this waiver, as payment standards will revert to the basic range, anywhere between 90-110% of the HUD published FMR.

Additionally, effective 1/1/2024, our Interim Reexamination Policy, for decreases of income, will be changing to the following: “If income decreases, verification of the change must be received in our office by the 20th day of any given month in order to make an adjustment in the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) for the following month”.

Lastly, during calendar year 2024, the BCHA is transitioning from the current regulations governing income and rent calculation at 24 CFR 5.609 to updated regulations as required under the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016 (HOTMA) and as implemented by HUD in Federal Register Notice 2/14/23 and Notice PIH 2023-27. The BCHA will select a date sometime in the calendar year 2024 on which to fully implement all provisions of HOTMA, as we await further instructions from HUD, with a full transition to occur no later than January 1, 2025.

As a reminder, the family must report all changes in household income and/or family composition to the BCHA, in writing, within 10 business days of their occurrence. Failure to report a change in household income or composition within 10 business days of occurrence may result in a repayment agreement and/or termination from the program.


Gwen Didden                                                               Carolina Hernandez

Executive Director                                                     Housing Choice Voucher Program



The Berks County Housing Authority’s Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program, formerly known as Section 8, assists more than 500 hardworking Berks County families in paying their rent to private landlords.

Participants receive a voucher to find their choice of housing, anywhere in the BCHA’s jurisdiction of Berks County outside the city of Reading. Participants find an apartment or house with a private landlord. The rent must be affordable (must meet the BCHA’s payment standards) and reasonable (as compared with rents for similar unassisted units). If the landlord agrees to accept the voucher, the unit must also pass a Housing Quality Standards inspection, to ensure that the unit meets basic standards of a decent, safe, and sanitary living environment. The landlord will sign a Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) contract with the BCHA. Tenants generally pay between 30 and 40 percent of their gross income to the landlord, and the BCHA will pay a Housing Assistance Payment subsidy to the landlord.

Housing Choice Voucher Briefing Video

This briefing video is intended to give applicants who have been approved for housing a general overview of how the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) works. The BCHA has advised these applicants in their briefing packet to watch this short 20 minute video prior to their scheduled briefing conference call. Should any questions arise, the BCHA advices applicants to refer back to both this video and the briefing packet before contacting our office, as most of the answers are within these materials. 

Housing Choice Voucher Briefing Video Spanish

For answers to frequently asked questions about our HCV program, click the button below.
To see a recent list of available units, click the link below.
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