What is Section 8?





Understanding the Section 8 Housing Program

“What is Section?” is a question many individuals have. Often, households that are experiencing hardship hear about this program as a solution if they cannot afford to live in safe, clean accommodations. Usually, these facilities are more expensive because they are higher quality. Depending on the individual’s financial situation, these costs can be prohibitive. However, with a Section 8 voucher, individuals can get comfortable housing situations for themselves and their family members.

When you see “We take Section 8” advertised on a house listing, you know that the landlord is willing to accept your program voucher as a form of payment. However, before you learn how to get Section 8 and how this program can help you, you must understand its purpose. The more you understand about how the Section 8 office works, the more likely you are to use your benefits efficiently.

What is Section 8 housing?

The Section 8 housing choice voucher program is a federal initiative that connects eligible individuals and families with the financial resources they need to rent places to live. This program is available to low-income, elderly and disabled applicants. Applicants who receive a Section 8 housing choice voucher (HCV) may then use their benefits to rent:

  • Single-family houses.
  • Apartment units.

You may be wondering, “What is Section 8 apartments and how is this program funded?” The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is responsible for providing the funds you need to help you afford housing. While this program is funded on a federal level, it is managed on a local level. This means that your local public housing authority (PHA) is responsible for determining if you can use your voucher to live at a certain place of residency.

What is the public housing authority?

The public housing authority is an important aspect of the Section 8 program. These are the facilities that receive HUD’s funding. Once the PHA receives these government funds, it can then distribute the benefits to enrollees who qualify for the program. While the Section 8 housing authority receives its financial support through the federal government, it does have autonomy. These facilities are able to determine who qualifies to receive benefits at the offices. Furthermore, these agencies are also responsible for maintaining waiting lists.

Even some of the largest public housing authorities need to keep waiting lists for individuals who apply for Section 8. This happens because there are more families who qualify for benefits than there are benefits that can support them. Waiting lists are more common in more populated parts of the city. If you are wondering, “Does the public housing authority near me have a waiting list?” contact your local PHA. The representative you speak with will be able to tell you if there is a waiting list for services. Keep in mind that you may be able to avoid the wait list if you are:

  • Homeless or living in unacceptable housing conditions.
  • Paying more than 50 percent of your total household income toward rent.
  • Displaced involuntarily.

What is a Section 8 voucher?

The HUD Section 8 voucher you receive is the document used to prove you are enrolled in this program. These vouchers are then used to cover a large portion of your monthly rent expenses. Before you can receive a HUD Section 8 housing voucher for a specific property, your PHA must examine the facility you want to rent. During these examinations, the PHA will evaluate if the dwelling meets the program’s safety and health requirements. If the facility meets these criteria, the PHA will then evaluate if the landlord is requesting a reasonable payment for the property. If the PHA approves, the Section 8 housing voucher can be used for that location.

If I have a Section 8 voucher, how much rent do I pay?

HUD Section 8 homes are available to renters at discounted rates. This is because the program provides beneficiaries with financial support in the form of program vouchers. However, some recipients are confused about how much they need to pay because apartments and houses can cost different amounts. Furthermore, some individuals wish to use their benefits to live in more expensive properties while others choose more economical locations. To help standardize these benefits packages, HUD determined a standard for how much recipients can pay. According to the rules established by the Section 8 housing choice voucher HCV program, families are obligated to pay 30 percent of their monthly adjusted gross incomes toward their rent and utilities costs.

What is the difference between HUD and Section 8?

Many individuals wonder about the differences between HUD and Section 8 houses. There are various reasons why these two housing options are mistaken for each other. One of the main reasons is because HUD manages HUD homes, as well as the Section 8 housing program. However, when applicants are comparing HUD homes and Section 8 voucher homes, they need to remember these two programs are different.

When you examine HUD vs Section 8, remember that HUD homes are not for rent but they are for sale. These dwellings were foreclosed and purchased by HUD. The department then resells these properties at discounted sales prices. This is possible because the facilities are usually not in good condition. Conversely, when you submit a HUD Section 8 housing application, you are applying to be admitted to the HCV program. This means that you can gain financial assistance to rent a property, not purchase one at a low price. If you have additional questions about these programs, contact your HUD or Section 8 office.