Eligibility Requirements

A Housing Choice Voucher program applicant or participant who wishes to utilize their voucher subsidy to purchase rather than rent a home must meet the following initial eligibility requirements:

  1. A family must meet the general requirements for admission to or continued participation in the MHA Housing Choice Voucher program.
  2. Current Housing Choice Voucher Program participants must be in full compliance with their lease and Housing Choice Voucher program requirements and must terminate their current lease arrangement in compliance with the lease (minimum 30-day notice is required).
  3. The family must be “first-time homeowners”, meaning that a family member must not have owned title to a principal residence in the last three (3) years. Residents of limited equity cooperatives are eligible for the homeownership program.
  4. The head of household or spouse must be employed full-time (employment must average a minimum of 30 hours per week) and have been continuously employed before commencement of homeownership assistance. “Continuously employed” is defined as a person who has been employed for not less than one (1) year with not less than a four (4) week interruption (this includes a person who is self employed).
  5. The family must have at least $15,000 annual income. Public assistance income may not be used for meeting the income requirements when the family is not elderly or disabled. “Public assistance” includes federal housing assistance or the housing component of a welfare to work grant; TANF assistance, SSI that is subject to an income eligibility test; food stamps; general or other assistance provided under a federal, state or local program that provides assistance available to meet family living or housing expenses. Seasonal employees such as teachers must be certified annually instead of on an interim basis when income decreases for a short period of time (i.e. summer vacation).
    1. A head of household who is elderly or disabled is not required to meet the employment requirement in #4 above. Additionally, an elderly or disabled head of household is not required to meet the income requirements in #5 above. An elderly or disabled head of household is only required to meet their lender’s income/working requirements. Furthermore, if a family other than an elderly or disabled family includes a person with disabilities, MHA may grant an exemption from the employment requirement if MHA, at its sole discretion, determines that an exemption is needed as a reasonable accommodation to allow full access to the program.
    2. There may be occasions when a family does not meet MHA’s minimum income qualification. However, the family that can demonstrate that it has been pre-qualified or pre-approved for financing with their current income may use that income to qualify for participation in the program. However, the pre-qualified or pre-approved financing must meet MHA’s established requirements for financing the purchase of the home. And, the pre-qualified or pre-approved financing amount must be sufficient to purchase housing that meets MHA’s HQS standards in MHA’s jurisdiction.
  6. The family may not owe money to MHA or any other housing authority.
  7. A head of household or spouse who has previously defaulted on a mortgage obtained through the Homeownership Voucher program is not eligible to purchase another home with voucher assistance.
  8. A married head of household, who is physically separated (does not share residence) but not legally divorced from his or her spouse, must either divorce or include the spouse (and his/her income) in the household for the eligibility determination.
  9. If an applicant wishes to buy a home with a co-applicant, the co-applicant must be included in the applicant’s Housing Choice Voucher at the time of application.