Moving to Harris County

HCHA’s Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program allows for families or individuals with a voucher from another housing authority to transfer their voucher to HCHA. This process is called “porting in” to HCHA. The process of transferring a voucher from one city to another varies, but this page provides a general summary of information provided in HCHA’s HCV Program Administrative Plan regarding porting in to HCHA’s jurisdiction.

Starting the Porting In Process

The process begins when a voucher holder notifies HCHA and their current housing authority (also called their “initial housing authority”) that they want to move to Harris County. The initial housing authority must then forward the following documents to HCHA:

  • HUD 52665 Family Portability Information Form
  • HUD 50058 Form
  • Copies of supporting income verification documents
  • Voucher holder’s current voucher (the voucher must not expire before 60 days or the voucher holder will be referred back to their initial housing authority)
  • Family contact information, including a valid phone number and address

Please allow 10-15 business days for HCHA to receive all required documents and follow up with your initial housing authority to find out the status of your paperwork. Questions or documents related to porting to HCHA can also be emailed to

Portability Application

Once HCHA receives all appropriate documents, HCV Program staff will contact the voucher holder to schedule an entrance interview. All adult household members, age 18 or older, must attend and bring the following documents so that a HCHA representative can conduct the entrance interview:

  • Current valid photo identification
  • Birth certificates for all household members
  • Social Security cards for all household members
  • Marriage License, Divorce Decree and/or Court Award Custody Letters, if applicable
  • In addition, the family may be required to provide documentation of their household income.

Eligibility Screening and Briefing Session

HCHA will conduct a criminal background check on all family members 18 years and older if the family’s initial housing authority did not conduct a criminal background check or if the criminal background check is more than 120 days old.

HCHA may reject a portability application if there is evidence of violent and/or drug-related criminal activity, serious lease violations and outstanding balances owed to the initial housing authority or a previous property owner. If a member of the household fails the criminal background check or HCHA determines that the family is not eligible, the portability application will be withdrawn and the family or individual may be subject to termination from the HCV Program.

If the household’s application is approved, HCHA will issue a voucher with the same expiration date as the one from the initial housing authority. Again, if the initial voucher will expire before 60 days have passed, HCHA will not approve a portability application.

Once the voucher holder’s eligibility has been verified, the porting family or individual must attend a briefing session to receive their moving papers including a Request for Tenancy Approval (RTA) packet and a HCHA voucher.

Housing Search, Inspection and Rent Reasonableness

In order to use their voucher in Harris County, the voucher holder must locate a unit and submit an RTA packet. A family’s or individual’s HCHA voucher expires on the same date as their voucher from the initial housing authority. If the voucher holder does not find a unit within the allotted time period, the voucher will be withdrawn and in certain cases, the family or individual can lose their voucher. In some cases, explained in HCHA’s HCV Program Administrative Plan, HCHA will grant an extension. HCHA will schedule an inspection upon receipt of a tenant’s RTA packet. After the unit passes inspection, the rent is negotiated and a lease between the owner and tenant is signed, the voucher holder can move into their new home.

Completing the Process

Once the voucher holder signs a lease, HCHA will notify the initial housing authority so that they can complete the necessary paperwork and ensure consistent payments to the new property owner/manager.

For questions or if you would like more information on the portability process, call the HCHA Customer Call Center at 713.578.2100.