On April 30, HAR’s staff representing Governmental Affairs, Communications, and Professional Development met with the leadership of the Harris County Housing Authority (HCHA) to discuss an amazing homeownership program that is underutilized in Harris County. The meeting was at the request of Gerald Womack, Chairman of the Board of HCHA, real estate broker, and a longtime HAR member. Gerald requested the meeting with HAR to help increase Realtors awareness of Harris County’s Homeownership Program.

HCHA’s Homeownership Program provides families with the opportunity to own a home through the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. The process of purchasing a home through this program is similar to the conventional home buying process. Families can purchase a single family home, town home, condominium or cooperative anywhere within HCHA’s jurisdiction.

Most families utilize the voucher to pay a portion of their mortgage for up to 15 years – the same way families use a voucher to pay a portion of their rent. Other homeownership families are able to take on the full portion of their mortgage and don’t require any financial assistance from HCHA. These families are able to transition directly into homeownership and out of subsidized housing.

In addition to financial assistance toward the mortgage payment, the program provides pre- and post-purchase home buyer education, credit counseling and other services to help families navigate the home-buying process and increase their chances of success. To qualify for this program the family must already have a HCV voucher and must:

  1. Be a first-time homeowner or cooperative member
  2. Earn at least $14,500 annually*
  3. Have been employed continuously on a full-time basis for at least one year
  4. Obtain a credit score of 640 or higher on your credit report ratings
  5. Complete a pre-assistance homeownership and housing counseling program

*Seniors and persons with disabilities may be exempt from the minimum income requirement and may be eligible for an additional term of mortgage assistance.

Increasing homeownership in the Houston area is a common goal that HAR and HCHA share. HCHA is providing a wonderful opportunity for the dream of homeownership to become a reality for people who may not be able to purchase a home through traditional methods.

If you have clients who meet the above criteria, please contact HAR’s Governmental Affairs team at 713.629.1900 x. 269 to get more information on HCHA and upcoming training sessions.