Section 8 Housing Program – Overview
The Section 8 Housing Program, or simply Section 8, is a section of the Housing Act of 1937. Under this section, private landlords are provided with rental housing assistance on behalf of low-income households in the United States.
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development looks after the Section 8 housing programs in the US, and it does so with the help of local housing authorities.
In 2018, of the 5.2 million American households that received any rental assistance, about 2.2 million received Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers. And of the total housing assistance to the needy, about 68 percent goes to seniors, the disabled, and children.
Before moving further, let’s discuss the section 8 housing program in detail.
A Detailed Guide On Section 8 Housing Program – What is this Program?
The Section 8 Housing Program, the Housing Choice Voucher Program, or Section 8, is tenant-based rental assistance. Its purpose is to help tenants move from one unit of at least minimum housing quality to another.
It is for tenants, so landlords are not required to participate in the program. The rules and regulations and eligibility requirements for this program vary depending on the US state you live in.
Also, a tenant’s amount varies according to the city or county and the housing unit size. Under this program, successful applicants are provided with housing choice vouchers that they can use for their housing needs. Let’s discuss housing choice vouchers.
What are Housing Choice Vouchers?
The federal government provides housing choice vouchers under the Section 8 housing program. It is to help low-income families, elderly and disabled individuals so that they can afford decent and safe housing in the private market.
You are provided with the facility to choose your housing, which could be an apartment, a townhouse, or a single-family home. As a participant, you are free to select housing that meets the requirements of the section 8 housing program.
Public housing agencies (PHAs) are responsible for distributing housing choice vouchers. PHAs will decide to give you the housing choice voucher based on your need.
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development funds public housing agencies to distribute to eligible tenants.
To find your local public housing agency, you can visit hud.gov/pha.
If you get lucky to receive the Section 8 housing choice voucher, you should try to use the same as soon as possible.
The vouchers come with validity, and if you don’t use them during the duration, you will lose the voucher.
And in case you want the voucher again, you have to apply for it again and do keep in mind that the waiting list for Section 8 vouchers is very long. That’s why it is advised to find housing in advance so you can use your housing voucher.
Eligibility Requirements for Section 8 Housing Program
The local public housing agency is responsible for determining the eligibility of an application. It will decide whether to give a household monetary assistance based on the total annual gross income and family size.
You can receive a housing choice voucher, if:
- You are a US citizen
- The family income may not exceed 50% of the median income for the county or area your family chooses to live.
For your information, a PHA will provide 75 percent of the housing vouchers to applicants whose incomes do not exceed 30 percent of the area median income.
A public housing agency will verify the information you have provided in your application with local agencies, banks, and employers. It will use the information to determine your eligibility and the amount of the housing assistance payment.
When the PHA finds your family eligible, it will put your name on the waiting list and contact you once your name is reached on the waiting list.
The section 8 Housing Program can be a great way for tenants looking for financial assistance to move from one unit to another. The federal government provides financial assistance to households through public housing agencies.
This post will provide complete information on the section 8 housing program and its eligibility requirements. Additionally, there will be website links to public housing agencies you can contact for financial assistance.