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Housing Choice Voucher

The Housing Authority of the County of Merced currently administers the Housing Choice Voucher Program, a Federal rent subsidy program under the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The program provides rent subsidy to families in privately own existing rental units in Merced County. The Housing Authority of the County of Merced currently administers 2,705 Housing Choice Vouchers. The Housing Authority enters into a contract with the Department of Housing and Urban Development to receive sufficient funding to subsidize rent for a certain number of families in a certain period of time. HUD pays the Housing Authority an administrative fee each month for every leased Housing Choice Voucher family.

Families who are eligible must meet the income guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, must pass criminal background checks, must not owe the Housing Authority dollars for any past client history, and comply with completing forms and presenting verifications and documentation that the Housing Authority requires, including immigration status.

Families must apply for the program when the Housing Authority is taking applications. As the family’s name comes to the top of the application waiting list, they are screened for eligibility into the program; and if eligible, are given a Housing Choice Voucher, with a time limit of 60 days to find a unit. The Housing Authority does not screen for tenancy, but does screen for criminal background history. Private owners who wish to rent to Housing Choice Voucher families must screen for tenancy.

The program relies on the availability of units from private owners in Merced County. Owners wishing to place their units on the availability list may call the Housing Authority. This list is given to Housing Choice Voucher families to assist them in looking for a suitable unit.

– Free annual Housing Quality Inspections conducted to keep the property up to minimum Housing Quality Standards.

CO-SIGNER AGREEMENTS: The Housing Authority has implemented a cosigner agreement, which means the owner may obtain a co-signer to the lease. (Must use Housing Authority’s co-signer agreement form.)

– Eligible families are given a voucher to find housing that is within the rent reasonable range (market range) and their family’s subsidy size (bedroom size).

– The owner screens the family for tenancy.

– When the owner accepts the family for tenancy, the family and the owner sign a form called a Request for Tenancy Approval.

– When the Housing Authority receives this form, it is reviewed for rent reasonableness, is also reviewed so that it does not exceed HUD’s affordability factor. An inspection is then scheduled.

– When the unit passes the inspection (owner may have to do some repair work), a HUD contract is executed between the owner and the Housing Authority, and a lease is executed between the owner and the tenant. The Housing Authority processes all of the paperwork. The owner may use their own lease or the Housing Authority’s; but in either case, a HUD’s Tenancy Addendum is added to the lease.

– The tenant will pay the owner a market security deposit under California law.

– The tenant’s portion of rent is based on their family’s composition, income, and the total contract rent on the unit. Each family’s rent portion is different. This rent portion may change during the year as the family’s composition and/or income changes.

– The Housing Choice Voucher family may be terminated from the program for violation of family obligations and/or serious violation of the lease.

– The owner must evict the tenant from the unit. The Housing Authority is not the owner of the unit, and cannot legally evict the tenant, but can terminate them from participating in the program.


The Housing Authority of the County of Merced (Authority) is currently NOT ABSORBING. This is subject to change at any time.

If you are porting in please submit your portability documentation to:

Housing Authority of the County of Merced
Attn: Portability Department
405 U Street
Merced, CA 95341
Phone: (209) 722-3501
Fax: (209) 722-7364

Your CURRENT Housing Authority must fax, email, or mail your portability documentation prior to your arrival in Merced County.

Please allow 14 days for reviewing of your documents and scheduling your attendance to a portability briefing.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Families will not be permitted to exercise portability during the 12-month period after admission to the program. If the family owes monies to the Housing Authority, the balance must be paid in full or the transfer will be denied. Families in violation of their family obligations will not be permitted to transfer to Merced County.


You must submit a vacate notice signed by you and the owner/agent to the Authority only after you have served or have received a vacate notice to move or you elect not to renew your lease, but before you actually move out of the unit.

Fill out and submit the “Portability Request” form with the new Housing Authority’s contact information. This form can be obtained at reception. Please allow 21 days for port-out review and processing.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: It is the family’s responsibility to determine which Housing Authority they elect to port to.


Portability Request Form

Currently the Housing Authority of the County of Merced has approximately 140 families who are participating in the Family Self-Sufficiency Program (FSS). Under the FSS Program, the family earns an escrow account that they receive after they fulfill their FSS contract of becoming economically independent. The Housing Authority employs a FSS Technician who assists families in achieving this goal.

In this program the Housing Authority works closely with the Child Protective Services Division of the Merced County Human Services Agency in providing housing subsidy to families who are separated due to lack of adequate housing.

Director of Housing Programs

Tracy Jackson –

Main Office Phone: (209) 722-3501
Fax No.: (209) 722-7364


Utility Allowances:

Utility Allowance is provided to a tenant if the cost of required utilities (phone services not included) and some appliances for an assisted unit is not included in the tenant rent but is the responsibility of the family.

The Authority is responsible for establishing and maintaining a utility allowance schedule that provides reasonable allowances for tenant-paid utilities. The utility allowance is intended to enable participating families to pay typical costs for utilities and services paid by energy-conserving households occupying units of similar size and type in the same locality. Any additional utility costs incurred by the family are not the responsibility of the PHA.

Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) PIH Notices – COVID-19 Statutory & Regulatory Waivers and Alternative Requirements

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued additional PIH notices pertaining to COVID-19 waivers. This notice remains in effect until amended, superseded, or rescinded.

Pursuant to the authority provided under the CARES Act, HUD is waiving and establishing alternative requirements for numerous statutory and regulatory requirements for the Public Housing (PH) Program and Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. These waivers provide administrative flexibility and relief to PHAs in response to the COVID-19 national emergency.

In accordance with the notice, the Authority is making available the waivers that we will adopt at this time.  Please find below a link to the PIH Notices as well as the list of waivers that the Authority has adopted.