Section 8 in USA
Section 8 by cities and states“Section 8” is a common name for the Housing Choice Voucher Program, funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.Approved section 8 tenants can choose a rental property that meets section 8 housing quality standards, has a reasonable rent compared with similar units in the market, and accepts Section 8 rent assistance vouchers.
Section 8 Eligibility
To be eligible for Section 8 housing, you must satisfy criteria set by both the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Housing Authority of the City where you want to live:
HUD Criteria for section 8:
You and your household must be a family.
Your household's total income must fall within the appropriate income limits.
You must have Social Security Numbers.
You must be United States citizens or eligible immigrants.
How do I apply for section 8?
If you are interested in applying for a voucher, contact the local PHA. For further assistance, please contact the HUD Office nearest to you.
Local preferences and waiting list - what are they and how do they affect me? Since the demand for housing assistance often exceeds the limited resources available to HUD and the local housing agencies, long waiting periods are common. In fact, a PHA may close its waiting list when it has more families on the list than can be assisted in the near future.
PHAs may establish local preferences for selecting applicants from its waiting list. For example, PHAs may give a preference to a family who is (1) homeless or living in substandard housing, (2) paying more than 50% of its income for rent, or (3) involuntarily displaced. Families who qualify for any such local preferences move ahead of other families on the list who do not qualify for any preference. Each PHA has the discretion to establish local preferences to reflect the housing needs and priorities of its particular community.
Section 8 Housing vouchers - how do they function?
The housing choice voucher program places the choice of housing in the hands of the individual family. A very low-income family is selected by the PHA to participate is encouraged to consider several housing choices to secure the best housing for the family needs. A housing voucher holder is advised of the unit size for which it is eligible based on family size and composition.
The housing unit selected by the family must meet an acceptable level of health and safety before the PHA can approve the unit. When the voucher holder finds a unit that it wishes to occupy and reaches an agreement with the landlord over the lease terms, the PHA must inspect the dwelling and determine that the rent requested is reasonable.
The PHA determines a payment standard that is the amount generally needed to rent a moderately-priced dwelling unit in the local housing market and that is used to calculate the amount of housing assistance a family will receive. However the payment standard does not limit and does not affect the amount of rent a landlord may charge or the family may pay. A family which receives a housing voucher can select a unit with a rent that is below or above the payment standard. The housing voucher family must pay 30% of its monthly adjusted gross income for rent and utilities, and if the unit rent is greater than the payment standard the family is required to pay the additional amount. By law, whenever a family moves to a new unit where the rent exceeds the payment standard, the family may not pay more than 40 percent of its adjusted monthly income for rent.