Housing Opportunity Program for Residents
The Housing Opportunity Program (HOP) provides Mobility Counseling to assist Housing Choice Voucher Program families use their voucher to find and move into quality housing in top-rated communities throughout the Philadelphia region.
Where you live matters. It can determine your family’s health, income, and the quality of your child’s education.
With this in mind, your next move can be one of the most important decisions of your life. Choose wisely.
First, avoid the temptation to move down the street or around the corner or to “settle” for the first unit that passes inspection. Instead, sit down and make a list of things that really matter to you and then make a commitment to find housing in a community that not just meets your needs, but exceeds your expectations.
The second step is the hardest. You’ll have to explore lots of different housing options–and in different communities. That is where the Housing Opportunity Program (HOP) can help.
Opportunity Areas represent some of the best communities in Philadelphia.
In general, Opportunity Areas are family-friendly communities with good schools, safe neighborhoods, good job availability and a diverse population.
These communities offer a wide variety of choice in terms of location, types of housing, services and amenities. For these reasons alone, it makes sense to include Opportunity Areas in your housing search.
Finding the right house in the right community can be daunting. To be successful you have to do your homework. HOP helps in two ways.
First, families enrolled in the program are assigned a housing counselor. The housing counselor will serve as your resource and your advocate, supporting you before, during and after you move to an Opportunity Area. Your housing counselor will help you develop an action plan, provide housing referrals, and introductions to landlords with housing for rent in Opportunity Areas.
Second, families receive mandatory landlord/tenant training. By the time you begin your search, you will have the information and support you need to be able to find a house or apartment that you will cherish.
We’ll be with you every step of the way.
The Housing Opportunity Program is like having your very own real estate broker, but better. But that is only the beginning. Following are some of the benefits of enrolling in HOP.
- Free Credit Report.
A free credit report is standard. This allows you to “know where you stand” before you start your search for housing. And if there are problems, your housing counselor can assist you in getting credit counseling.
- Search Assistance.
Your counselor has established relationships with landlords. As a HOP participant, you will have the opportunity to view units for rent and meet with owners who want to rent to families with vouchers.
- Information and Resources.
As a participant in HOP, you will also receive tools and information that empower you to be a smart consumer. This includes a resource guide and mandatory workshops that cover household budgeting and landlord/tenant rights. Workshop participants learn strategies to make good choices about where to live and how to be the type of tenant that landlord’s value. Topics include:
– The kinds of questions to ask prospective landlords
– Your rights regarding security deposits
– What to do if you’re denied housing based on your race or because you have children
- Post-Move Support.
This is perhaps the most attractive feature of the program. After you move to an Opportunity Area, you’re not alone. HOP will be there for you for up to one year. Your counselor will link you with resources and services that will help you get settled and thrive in your new home and your new community.
The Fine Print.
You might be wondering, “What’s the Catch?” Here it is. It is not easy to move to a new community, but nothing worthwhile ever is.
The program is open to current HCV Program Participants who have been on the program for at least two years. To qualify, you must also be in good standing with the program. Once enrolled, you will be expected to make a concerted effort to move to an Opportunity Area. This means taking advantage of HOP services and actively searching for housing in Opportunity Areas on your own.
The Housing Opportunity Program
2013 Ridge Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19121
For a quicker and timelier response, please send an email to [email protected]. Someone from our office will be in touch to schedule an appointment. If emailing is not an option for you, you can call us, however, please allow for longer response time from our office 215-684-4050.