Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program Basics

The Housing Choice Voucher Program, formerly known as “Section 8”, is a federally funded program that subsidizes rents for eligible families. It is designed to assist very low-income families, the elderly and the disabled to rent decent, safe and sanitary housing. A housing subsidy is paid directly to the landlord on behalf of a participating family. A family consists of one or more household members, and the household income must meet Federal Income Limit Guidelines. Acceptance into the program is based on income verification, eligibility requirements and preference factors.

Federal income guidelines - effective May 15, 2023

in family
Extremely low-income
30% of median
Very low-income
50% of median
80% of median
1 person25,55042,60066,300
2 person29,20048,70075,750
3 person32,85054,80085,200
4 person36,50060,85094,650
5 person39,45065,750102,250
6 person42,35070,600109,800
7 person45,42075,500117,400
8 person50,56080,350124,950


Harford County Housing and Community Services uses equally weighted local preferences for applicants, with priorities for those who live or work in Harford County and are in one or more of the following categories: families with dependent children, working families, elderly families, disabled families, veterans or surviving spouses of veterans (other than dishonorable discharge), and the homeless. 

You may check your application status by calling 1-877-204-9098. 

If you move while you are on the wait list, please change your address. Failure to provide your current contact information may result in your name being removed from the waiting list.


  1. Application: The family completes the preliminary application, and the family's name is placed on the waiting list.
  2. Enrollment: When the family is selected from the waiting list, an enrollment interview is scheduled and eligibility is determined.
  3. Certification: If determined eligible, the family attends a briefing session where information is provided on how the program works and how to obtain housing suitable for the family's needs.
  4. Housing selection: The family finds housing within 60 days that meets HUD's Housing Quality Standards and allowable rent limits.
  5. Negotiation: The family comes to an agreement with the landlord on lease terms.
  6. Agency review: Harford County Housing & Community Services evaluates the lease and inspects the dwelling unit to determine if they meet program standards.
  7. Approval: Harford County Housing & Community Services determines approval or disapproval of the lease and unit.
  8. Program participation: Upon approval of the lease and unit, Harford County and the landlord enter into a contract on behalf of the family for the unit.
# of BedroomsEffective 10/1/2021 103% - 107%

Effective 10/1/2023 90%


  • COLA = 8.7% or 1.087
  • SSI 
    • $ 914 FOR ONE PERSON
    • $1,371 FOR TWO PERSONS


  • $164.00 x 12 = $1,968.00 $164.90 x 12 = $1,978.80


  • Port out fee $90.99 x 88% = $80.07 x 80% = $64.06


  • 0.13% or .0013 (Effective 9/17/2009)

For more information about the Housing Choice Voucher Program, call Harford County's Department of Housing & Community Services at 410-638-3045.