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Family Unification

  • Family Unification

The Family Unification Program (FUP) is a voucher referral program.  If you meet any of the following criteria and are not currently receiving housing assistance, please inquire with your social service agency for assistance.   The social service agency or advocate should contact DHC.

  • Families for whom the lack of adequate housing is a primary factor in either:
    • The imminent placement of the family’s child or children in out-of-home care.
    • The delay in the discharge of the child or children to the family from out-of-home care
    • Youth at least 18 years old and not more than 24 years old who:
  • Left foster care at age 16 or older or will leave foster care within 90 days, in accordance with a transition plan described in section 475(5)(H) of the Social Security Act; and
  • Are homeless; or
  • Are at risk of homelessness.

FUP vouchers used by youth are limited, by statute, to 36 months of housing assistance if the youth voucher holder does not participate in the DHC Family Self -Sufficiency Program.

Families and youth may use the vouchers provided through FUP to lease decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private housing market.


How does the program work?

Public housing agencies (PHAs) administer FUP in partnership with Public Child Welfare Agencies (PCWAs). The PCWA initially determines if the family or youth meets the FUP eligibility requirements certify that the family or youth is eligible, and refers to those families or youths to the PHA. Once the PCWA makes the referral, the PHA places the FUP applicant on its HCV waiting list and determines whether the family or youth meets HCV program eligibility requirements, including income eligibility. The PHA conducts all other processes relating to voucher issuance and administration.


In addition to rental assistance, supportive services must be provided to FUP youths by the PCWA for the first 18 months that the youth participates in the program. Examples of the skills targeted by these services include money management skills, job preparation, educational counseling, and proper nutrition and meal preparation.


Who is eligible?

To be eligible, applicants must meet specific FUP eligibility requirements as well as HCV eligibility requirements.


FUP Eligibility Requirements

The PCWA must certify that the family or youth meet specific program requirements.  For families, the PCWA will certify that this is a family for whom the lack of adequate housing is a primary factor in either the:

  • Imminent placement of the family's child or children in out-of-home care, or
  • Delay of discharge of a child or children to the family from out-of-home care. 

A family meets the definition of “lack of adequate housing” if a family or youth is:

  • Living in substandard or dilapidated housing.
  • Homeless.
  • In imminent danger of losing their home.
  • Displaced by domestic violence.
  • Living in an overcrowded unit.
  • Living in housing not accessible to the family’s disabled child or children, or to the youth
  • due to the nature of the disability.

For youth, the PCWA will certify that the youth is at least 18 years old and not more than 24 years old (has not reached his/her 25th birthday), that he/she left foster care at age 16 or  older or will leave foster care within 90 days, in accordance with a transition plan, and is homeless or at risk of homelessness.

A youth meets the definition of “at risk of homelessness” if the youth:

  1. Has an annual income below 30 percent of median household income for the area, as determined by HUD;
  2. Does not have enough resources or support networks, e.g., family, friends, faith-based or other social networks, immediately available to prevent them from moving to an emergency shelter or another place described in paragraph (1) of the “homeless” definition in this section; and
  3. Meets one of the following conditions:
  • Has moved because of economic reasons two or more times during the 60days immediately preceding the application for homelessness prevention assistance;
  • Is living in the home of another because of economic hardship;
  • Has been notified in writing that their right to occupy their current housing or living situation will be terminated within 21 days after the date of application for assistance;
  • Lives in a hotel or motel and the cost of the hotel or motel stay is not paid by charitable organizations or by Federal, State, or local government programs for low-income individuals;
  • Lives in a single-room occupancy or efficiency apartment unit in which there reside more than two persons or lives in a larger housing unit in which there reside more than 1.5 persons reside per room, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau;
  • Is exiting a publicly funded institution, or system of care (such as a healthcare facility, a mental health facility, foster care or other youth facility, or correction program or institution); or
  • Otherwise lives in housing that has characteristics associated with instability and an increased risk of homelessness; A youth may also be “at risk of homelessness” if the youth meets the definition of homeless under a number of other federal programs.


Once I have a FUP voucher, what do I do next?

It is the responsibility of the family or youth to find a unit that meets their needs. Once the family or youth find a suitable unit and the owner is willing to lease the unit under the program, the family or youth must request tenancy approval from the PHA. The family or youth must submit a request for tenancy approval (RFTA) to the PHA no later than the expiration date stated on the voucher.

If the PHA determines that the unit meets housing quality standards, that the rent is reasonable, and that the unit meets other program requirements, the PHA executes a Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) Contract with the property owner. This contract authorizes the PHA to make rent subsidy payments on behalf of the family or youth. The family or youth will then execute a lease with the owner.