Ithaca Housing Authority’s Homeownership program is a component of the HCV Section 8 program.  The program offers current voucher participants the opportunity to transfer their rental assistance voucher into a homeownership voucher.



You must be a current HCV Section 8 participant receiving rental assistance for at least 12 months.

You must be a first-time homebuyer which is generally defined as “a family of which no member owned any present ownership interest in a residence of any family member during the three years before commencement of homeownership assistance for the family”.  The definition explicitly extends first-time homeowner status to the following individuals or families provide that they have no current homeownership interest in a residence:

  • A single parent or displaced homemaker who, during the preceding three years, was married and, while married, owned a home with his or her spouse, or lived in a home owned by his or her spouse.
  • A family that included a person with a disability, in which any member has owned a unit during the preceding three years, but for which the PHA determines that the use of the homeownership option is necessary as a reasonable accommodation to make the program assessable to the family.

You must meet the minimum income requirements.  At the time the family begins receiving homeownership assistance, the adult family members of a non-disabled family who will own the home must meet collectively a minimum non-welfare annual income requirement that is not less than the Federal minimum hourly wage multiplied by 2,000 hours. For a disabled family (a family whose head, spouse or sole member is a person with disabilities), the adult family members who will own the home must have an annual income that is not less than the monthly Federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit for an individual living alone multiplied by 12.

You must meet the following employment requirements:

  • Employed on a full-time basis (an average of not less than 30 hours a week.)
  • Have been continuously employed for the year prior to the beginning of homeownership assistance. The PHA may set its own policies regarding what it will consider to be continuous employment. The PHA may count successive employment during the year. The PHA may count self-employment in a business. This employment requirement does not apply to an elderly or disabled family (head, spouse or sole member is elderly or disabled). Also, the employment requirement does not apply to a family that includes a person with disabilities, if other family members are unable to work on a full-time basis because they are required to care for the person with disabilities, and the PHA determines a reasonable accommodation is necessary.

You must first attend and complete a homeownership counseling program.

You must be able to secure a home loan with an approved mortgage lender at a competitive interest rate.

The home must be a single family one-unit property.  The home also must be under construction or already exist at the time the family/individual enters into a contract of sale.

The unit must pass two inspections:

  • Housing Quality Standards (HQS) inspection, performed by the PHA’s inspector
  • Professional home inspection conducted by a qualified independent home inspector that is hired by and paid for by the family.

Housing Assistance Payment

In the Homeownership Voucher Program, the housing assistance payment (HAP) is equal to the lower of the payment standard or the actual monthly homeownership expense for the unit minus the total tenant payment (TTP).

To calculate TTP, annual adjusted income and annual gross income must be converted to monthly adjusted income and monthly adjusted gross income by dividing the annual figured by 12 months.

TTP is the greater of:

  • 30% of monthly adjusted income (gross income – applicable deductions)
  • 10% of monthly gross income
  • Welfare rent (if your household receives public assistance)
  • IHA’s minimum rent amount of $50

Homeownership expenses are:

  • PITI (principal and interest on initial mortgage debt incurred to purchase the home, taxes, and insurance for the property)
  • Mortgage insurance premiums, if required
  • PHA utility allowances for the unit
  • PHA-established allowance for routine home maintenance
  • PHA-established allowance for major repairs of the unit and replacement of major systems and appliances
  • Principal and interest on mortgage debt incurred to finance costs for major repairs, replacements or improvements for the home
  • Land lease payments (where a family does not own fee title to the real property on which the home is located, and provided the unit meets the requirements for such a purchase – home is on a permanent foundation and the family has the right to occupy the home site for at least forty years)
  • Condominium fees or homeownership association fees.



Annual Re-examinations

IHA must conduct a reexamination of family income and composition at least annually. This includes gathering and verifying current information about family composition, income, and expenses. Based on this updated information, the family’s income and rent must be recalculated.

Annual Inspections

HUD requires the PHA to inspect each unit under lease at least annually to confirm that the unit still meets Housing Quality Standards (HQS).

Interim Changes (add/remove household members, add/remove income)

Family circumstances may change throughout the period between annual reexaminations.  You will be required to report changes with your household composition and income within 10 days. Based on this updated information, the family’s income and rent may need to be recalculated.

Time Limits

There are no limitations for elderly and/or disabled households.  For all other families, there is a mandatory term limit of 15 years if the initial mortgage for the home is 20 years or longer.  For all other cases, the maximum term limit of homeownership assistance is 10 years.

Additional Resources for Homeowners

Other agencies in the community also have great resources available to homebuyers. This includes funding opportunities, savings plans, education, etc. Here are links we suggest checking out if considering the homeownership option in the Section 8 (HCV) program:

USDA Funding Opportunities

Alternatives Federal Credit Union

Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services


If you or anyone in your family is a person with disabilities, and you require a specific accommodation in order to fully utilize our program and services, please contact Ithaca Housing Authority at 607-273-8629.


IHA will take affirmative steps to communicate with people who need services or information in a language other than English. Please contact Ithaca Housing Authority at 607-273-8629 if require a LEP accommodation.



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