Housing Choice Vouchers (HCVs), commonly referred to as Section 8 vouchers, are a program of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Administered locally by housing authorities, HCVs are portable housing subsidies for low-income individuals and families.
Voucher holders can look for housing anywhere in their local Housing Authority’s jurisdiction, and the HCV will pay a portion of that person’s rent directly to the landlord. This enables folks living on low incomes to have stable and affordable housing in a neighborhood of their choice.
Sounds amazing, right? It is! The one problem? There are not nearly enough HCVs to fill the enormous need in our country.
In King County, HCVs are administered by the Seattle, Renton and King County Housing Authorities. If you are lucky enough to have your application drawn in a lottery with the Seattle or King County Housing Authority, you then go on a waiting list where your application might sit for another two or three years before you actually get your voucher.
This is why special vouchers called FUPs (Family Unification Program) can make an enormous difference for families facing particular barriers and precarious circumstances. Solid Ground’s JourneyHome/Rapid Rehousing (JHRRH) program is fortunate to have access to about a dozen FUPs, allowing us to give direct HCV access to eligible families, which enables them to essentially skip the long waiting process.
Special situations qualifying families for FUPs include:
- One or more child is temporarily staying outside of the home, and getting stable housing would allow the family to reunite.
- There is danger of a child being removed from the home, and housing would allow them to stay together.
- A family’s homelessness was caused or prolonged by domestic violence.
- A child has a mental or physical health condition that is exacerbated by homelessness.
An HCV truly is a “golden ticket,” as many folks refer to it, because it allows people who otherwise would not have enough income to afford an apartment on their own to get and maintain stable, permanent housing. Unfortunately, JHRRH works with many families experiencing these types of difficult situations, but we are grateful to connect some of them with FUPs and have many success stories of program participants referred to this resource.
I and my family have been fighting for years to not be homeless. We are finally now stable in an amazing transitional housing program called vision house in shoreline, but unfortunately our time will be up soon and I’m afraid that we will not have anywhere to go after this. I finally got my two children back last Dec of 2016 after fighting for 2 years. Thank GOD our family is back together under one roof but I am afraid of us being homeless again. I don’t feel that our family is being heard and feel that there is just nothing out there for us. I apply for several housing applications every month and there is just nothing out there. In the mean time I am working on myself to gain confidence in my mental health and have 2 years clean off drugs and alcohal. I’m working very hard to overcome the trauma of homelessness, over coming addiction and as a family were still trying to overcome the trauma from being separated of 2 years. This hasn’t been easy , not knowing where I fit in this big world and facing issue after issue such as fasd and trying to get support for that as well. It has always been very difficult for me to be independent and provide stability for my family and I from my neurological disorder and find it difficult to remember anything. It has been a huge barrier for me to succeed in education and to keep a job. It’s basically left me feeling hopeless and here I am with 3 beautiful children and I know I can’t do this on my own. I’m trying the best I can with all I have got and feel so blessed that I have a 2nd chance to be a better person a better mom. I don’t want to let them down. I don’t want my permanent brain damage from fasd to be a barrier for my children anymore. I just recently found out that I have fasd and Fasd is not a well known disorder so it often gets overlooked which left me being misdiagnosed with Adhd at the age of 6 because my mother was not honest about her addiction to alcohol. I may physically look or appear to be normal so I often get misunderstood as people will tend to think I’m more capable of doing things when I’m really not. Fasd can happen on many levels as mine is a hidden disorder because nobody can see it when they look at me. It has caused so many problems for me and even bigger problems when I got older and now I have children that fully depend on me. There is no cure for fasd, its hard for me to accept that and the fact that I will always need to have a large support system to help me keep stable housing for I and my family . I need sombody to understand sombody to hear me.
Before I had gotten my 2 children back from being in the foster care system I had lived in the solid grounds shelter with my bran new baby boy Eddie and my housing caseworker that I had there at the time told me that journey home would be perfect fit for my family and I and that I would have to call 211 on a Wednesday morning by 8 am . At the time I was a new mom all over again and I just did not have the energy let alone could not even remember what day it was . As this is a regular normal issue for me it had gotten worse from lack of sleep and breastfeeding so next thing I know 12 weeks flew by and I had just forgotten about it. At the time I was mainly focusing on getting my 2 other kiddos back and just taking it one day at a time than finally we moved to vision house into a 3 bedroom apartment and finally I got my family back together under one roof. Now that the most important thing is taken care of having my family back together I want to keep it that way so I want to try again by applying for journey home and take my caseworkers advice. I truly beleive this will be the perfect program for my family and I for what we have been thru and what we’re trying to overcome as a family. I need people to understand and need the right support and to not be pressured into being sombody that I’m not, I don’t want to set my self to high and fall down again. It’s not safe for me to just put myself out there to find a job that I know I can’t keep because of my neurological disorder. Having a job is demanding and it takes discipline, routine and to be on time. With fasd managing time and remembering everything is easily an overload for my brain and it can cause me to shut down, have a panic attack and be a total set back for my self esteem. I’ve always struggled to remember what I read from a book or math problem and have found myself sitting for hour after hour trying to solve the first math problem or to get the right answer. I’ve always just wanted to be normal like everybody else in school. I’ve always wanted to be Normal like everybody else at a job but I nevee knew I jad fasd until recently . So now If I want to be Normal I have to accept my disorder and take things at my own pace no matter how much people pressure me and accept the fact that not every body will understand me. I don’t feel like I have a place in this world. I am praying to GOD that journey home can and will be my place for my family. I am not only speaking for myself but also others with this silent disorder who don’t feel like they have a place in this world. Dont ever give up.
Liz Reed Hawk says
Hi Ashley, thank you for sharing your amazing journey. We have forwarded your comments to a case manager who will email you with some information.
Just me and my children are currently in a hotel for domestic violence and we are trying to get the fup voucher thru the domestic violence channels and my case worker amy knew nothing about it and don’t know how to get the help to get us to voucher if someone could please assist her and assisting us we would really appreciate it I just don’t want my children to have to go back to living with our abuser because if we have nowhere to go. That’s where we’re going to end backup
Liz Reed Hawk says
Hi Georgeanna, each Housing Authority (KCHA, SHA, etc.) has different providers, and each provider has their own process for how they select people for Family Unification Programs (FUPs). If you work with any health or human services agencies or with CPS, ask your case manager if the agency has access to FUPs. If you are experiencing homelessness, phone Coordinated Entry for All (CEA) at 2-1-1- to get screened and connected to services. (Please note that CEA can connect to housing programs but not directly to FUPs.)
I dont want to share my personal story on these comments, but for months, I have been searching for a program such as this, something I didnt think existed. Can you please send me some kind of contact info of someone I can talk too about my situation and see if any kind of help is available to me?
Mike Buchman says
Each Housing Authority (KCHA, SHA, etc.) has different providers, and each provider has their own process for how they select people for Family Unification Programs (FUPs). If you work with any health or human services agencies or with CPS, ask your case manager if the agency has access to FUPs. If yo are experiencing homelessness, phone Coordinated Entry for All at 2-1-1- to get screened and connected to services.