HUD PIH Issues Notice on Using Vouchers in Shared Housing

HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) issued Notice PIH 2021-05 reminding public housing agencies (PHAs) that Housing Choice Vouchers (HCVs) may be used to assist households in “Shared Housing.” Shared Housing is a single housing unit occupied by an assisted household and another resident or residents. The shared unit consists of common space for use by the occupants of the unit and separate private space for each assisted household. The unit may be a house or an apartment. There is a separate Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract and lease for each assisted household.

Assisted households can share a unit with other HCV assisted people or unassisted people. An owner of a property may live in a unit, but housing assistance may not be paid on an owner’s behalf, nor can a resident owner be related by blood or marriage to an assisted household. However, a PHA must grant exceptions when needed as a reasonable accommodation for a person with a disability. If approved by a PHA, a live-in aide may live with a household to care for a person with disabilities. A PHA must approve a live-in aide if needed as a reasonable accommodation so that HCVs are readily accessible to and usable by people with disabilities.

PHAs may not approve a household to live in Shared Housing unless the entire unit, including the portion of the unit that an assisted household would live in meets Housing Quality Standards (HQS). HQS regulatory requirements apply to Shared Housing, along with additional requirements, including:

  • Facilities available to an assisted household, whether shared or private (non-shared), must include a living room, a bathroom, and food preparation and refuse disposal facilities.
  • The entire unit must provide adequate space and security for all assisted and unassisted residents. The private, non-shared space for each assisted household must have at least one bedroom for each two people in the household. The number of bedrooms in a private, non-shared space of an assisted household must not be less than the household unit size. A 0-bedroom or 1-bedroom unit may not be used for shared housing.

The Notice also discusses payment standards, utility allowances, and rent reasonableness.

Notice PIH 2021-05 is at:

More information about Housing Choice Vouchers is on page 4-1 of NLIHC’s 2020 Advocates’ Guide.