HCV Preferences

Housing Choice Voucher Preferences

St. Louis Housing Authority (SLHA) has established a preference system for admission to its Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) assistance programs. SLHA uses the following local preference system:

  • Families who are involuntarily displaced by natural disaster or government action
  • Disabled persons or families with a disabled member as defined in the SLHA’s HCV Administrative Plan 
  • Victims of domestic violence
  • Families who are homeless in accordance with the definition provided in the SLHA’s HCV Administrative Plan

Families Who Are Involuntarily Displaced By Natural Disaster or Government Action

An applicant qualifies for this preference on the basis of involuntary displacement if either of the following apply:

  • The applicant has been involuntarily displaced and is not living in standard permanent replacement housing
    • Standard permanent replacement housing is housing that is decent, safe and sanitary and adequate for the family size, and that the family is occupying pursuant to a lease agreement
  • The applicant will be involuntarily displaced within no more than six months from the date of preference status certification or verification

 An applicant is or will be involuntarily displaced if the applicant has vacated or will have to vacate the unit where the applicant lives because of one or more of the following:

  • An applicant’s unit is uninhabitable because of a disaster, such as a fire or flood
  • Activities carried on by an agency of the United States or by any state or local governmental body or agency in connection with code enforcement, public improvements or development program
  • Displacement to avoid reprisal, such as family cooperating with the police
    • SLHA may only grant this if a law enforcement agency carries out a threat assessment and recommends re-housing the family
  • Displacement due to hate crimes when applicants have been victims of a hate crime
    • Hate crime is defined as actual or threatened physical violence that is based on victim’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, handicap or familial status

Disability Preference

This preference applies to a person or family whose head, spouse, or sole member is a person with disabilities; or two or more persons with disabilities living together; or one or more persons with disabilities living with one or more live-in aides. A person who is under a disability, as defined in Section 233 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 423), or who has a developmental disability as defined in Section 102(7) of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (42 U.S.C. 6001 (7)). People who are diagnosed with alcoholism or drug abuse are not part of the definition of disabled. SLHA does recognize an applicant or family or spouse of household with HIV as a disabled person (Adopted in Board Resolution).

Victims of Domestic Violence

To qualify for this preference an applicant must present evidence that the family has been displaced as a result of fleeing violence in the home. Families are also eligible for this preference if there is proof that the family is currently living in a situation where they are being subjected to or victimized by violence in the home. Suitable evidence can be provided from law enforcement officials or social service agencies that have adequate knowledge of the family’s living situation. 


To qualify for this preference an applicant must present evidence to SLHA that the family is homeless by meeting one of the following definitions:

  • An individual or family who lacks a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence meaning:
    • An individual or family living in a supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designated to provide temporary living arrangements (including congregate shelters, transitional housing, and hotels and motels paid for by charitable organizations or by federal, state or local government programs for low-income individuals)
    • An individual who is exiting an institution where he or she resided for 90 days or less and who resided in an emergency shelter or place not meant for human habitation immediately before entering that institution
    • A primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings, including a car, park, abandoned building, bus or train station, airport or camping ground
    • Unaccompanied youth under 25 years of age or families with children and youth, who do not otherwise qualify as homeless under this definition, but who-
      • Have experienced a long term period, more that 60 days, without living independently in permanent housing; and
      • Have experienced persistent instability as measured by frequent moves, more than two moves in 60 days, over such period; and
      • Can be expected to continue in such status for an extended period of time because of chronic disabilities, chronic physical health or mental health conditions, substance addiction, histories of domestic violence or childhood abuse, the presence of a child or youth with a disability or multiple barriers to employment

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