10 of the Largest Housing Choice Voucher Programs in the USA

The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program is the largest subsided housing program in the USA serving more than 2 million households.  Like the public housing program, a few very large housing authorities in large markets hold a good deal of these vouchers.  I am pretty sure that someone wrote a list of the ten largest housing choice voucher programs in the USA, but I cannot find it.

  1. New York Housing Authority:  90,000 Vouchers: NYCHA administers the largest Section 8 program in the country. Approximately 90,000 Section 8 vouchers and over 29,000 owners currently participate in the program.
  2. Chicago Housing Authority: 46,000 Vouchers: The Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) is the second largest public housing authority in the country and serves more than 17,000 households in public housing and more than 46,000 households through the Housing Choice Voucher program, including those participating through the Property Rental Assistance program (PRA).chicago-1589647_1920
  3. Los Angeles Housing Authority: 45,000 Vouchers:   In 2015, The LA Housing Authority paid more than $465 Million to private Landlords on behalf of more than 45,000 participating families. The PHA also has around 14,000 private Landlords.
  4. Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development: 22,000 Vouchers:  Brendon Goodwin who runs the Rental Assistance Department over at DHCD let me know I missed a big one here.  With around 22,000 vouchers, this regional player does a lot of good work within the state of Massachusetts.
  5. Philadelphia Housing Authority: 18,800 Vouchers:  PHA houses over 18,800 families or over 46,300 authorized residents through the Housing Choice Voucher Program.  A few other facts from the PHA website- families have an average income of $13,224. The average tenant portion of rent is $405 and over 4,700 private landlords participate in the program.
  6. Houston Housing Authority:  17,000 Vouchers:  Our friends in Texas rank pretty high here.  The Houston Housing Authority provides affordable homes and services to more than 58,000 low-income Houstonians, including over 17,000 families housed through the Housing Choice Voucher Program and another 5,700 living in 25 public housing and tax credit developments around the city.
  7. Housing Authority of the County of Santa Clara:  17,000 Vouchers: This PHA has been in existence since 1967 and is a high performing MTW agency.   Special thanks to reader and PHA employee Scott Schnell who dropped me a line so that I did not miss this large PHA.
  8. Dallas Housing Authority: 16,718 Vouchers:  According to Affordable Housing Online, the Dallas Housing Authority ranks right behind Housing in size when it comes to the voucher program.   They do have a large VASH homeless veteran program.
  9. San Diego Housing Commission: 15,455 Vouchers:  This MTW housing authority was one of the last to get demo/dispo on a majority of their public housing units.  They are also well known for experimenting with some very innovative sponsor based programs and running very effective resident service programs.
  10. Cuyahoga County Housing Authority:  15,000 Vouchers:  Our friends in Cleveland are operating a very large voucher program and public housing program.  Remember this is a joint county/city PHA and that is why the portfolio is so large. cleveland-1214579_1920.jpg
  11. DC Housing Authority: 14,000 Vouchers:  The DC Housing Authority operates a portfolio of around 14,000 vouchers.  A article I read showed that over 41,000 people were still on the wait list with half of those identifying as being homeless.
  12. San Antonio Housing Authority: 13,417 Vouchers:  The HCV Program administers 13,417 rental vouchers.  The HCV Program sets aside a determined number of vouchers for targeted groups such as the homeless, homeless veterans, and for persons with disabilities.
  13. Baltimore Housing Authority: 12,000 Vouchers:  More than 3,000 city landlords participate Baltimore’s program, which serves approximately 12,000 families.balt

Conclusion:  OK, I added an extra one.  While I cannot guarantee I did not miss anything here, I did take a pretty comprehensive look at large cities and large well established programs in the USA.  Are there any large programs I missed?  Let me know and I will add them.

**Boston has around 11,500 vouchers, Seattle has around 10,000 vouchers



8 thoughts on “10 of the Largest Housing Choice Voucher Programs in the USA

Add yours

  1. I’m not sure why you would have forgot to mention the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Clara who has over 17,000 HCV and one of the top leader in our industry.


    1. Hi Scott, no intention on my side to slight your PHA. I will say researching the article was not easy and there are 3300 PHA’s out there. If you read the conclusion, I did request for comments and feedback if I missed something. Check out the blog and you will see that I updated it with your info. Thanks again for the help!


  2. Hi, we at the Puerto Rico PHA/DOH administer 53,000 units in Public Housing and 10,000 HCV. Great summary you did there. Thanks for the information.


  3. Thanks for the article. You should also summarize the top ten largest public housing authorities excluding HCV. You could start with my agency NYCHA which manages properties for over 400,000 NYC families.


  4. Good reading your article! Please note that besides the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, the Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles (HACoLA) also operates a HCV and public housing program. HACoLA’s Section 8 HCV program currently assists approximately 23,000 families through a partnership with over 13,000 property owners. The Public Housing program manages 3,229 units of public and other affordable housing throughout Los Angeles County. I think you can find a comprehensive list by agency size by going to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development website. Thanks!


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