Section 8 of the Housing Act of 1937, authorizes the payment of rental housing assistance to private landlords on behalf of approximately 3.1 million low-income households. It operates through several programs, the largest of which, the Housing Choice Voucher program, pays a large portion of the rents and utilities of about 2.1 million households. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development manages the Section 8 programs.
The Housing Choice Voucher Program provides “tenant-based” rental assistance. The tenant will pay about 30% to 40% of their monthly income towards their rent. Section 8 will pay for (subsidize) the rest. It also allows individuals to apply their monthly voucher towards the purchase of a home, with over $17 billion going towards such purchases each year. The maximum allowed voucher is $2200 a month.
Public housing is limited to low-income families and individuals. Eligibility is determined based on annual gross income, elderly, disabled or family status, and is limited to U.S. Citizens and non-citizens who hold eligible immigration status. The family or individual’s income cannot exceed 50% of the median income for the area. Median income levels are published by HUD and vary by location, so you may qualify in one area but not in another.
Owners/Landlords must have their property inspected by a division of their local PHA in order to rent to a Section 8 tenant and accept the Section 8 housing voucher. The landlord will prepare their own lease that will be no less than for one year.
The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Administration have a special Section 8 program called VASH (Veterans Administration Supported Housing), or HUD-VASH, which gives out a certain number of Section 8 vouchers to eligible homeless and otherwise vulnerable US armed forces veterans.
If you need public housing assistance or would like specific information about public housing programs such as housing choice vouchers, please contact your local Public Housing Agency below.