The Section 8 program aims to help people with one of the most basic of human needs: shelter. As rent prices continue to rise, programs like this can be helpful to individuals and families that just can’t seem to make ends meet.
What is Section 8?
Section 8 is a housing voucher program offered by the U.S. federal government that provides “decent, safe and sanitary” housing to eligible families and individuals.
How is Section 8 funded?
Administered by your local Public Housing Agency (PHA), Section 8 receives federal funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Who can take advantage of Section 8 housing?
Three very specific groups can benefit from this government program: very low-income families, the elderly and the disabled. You must either be a U.S. citizen or fall into a specific category of non-citizens with eligible immigration status.
In order to receive housing vouchers, you must also meet other criteria related to income, assets and family composition. All of this will be verified when your local housing agency contacts your bank, employer and other institutions you may be associated with.
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How does Section 8 work?
Upon receiving your housing voucher, you are then responsible for finding a suitable apartment or other type of housing that meets Section 8 requirements. As a housing voucher recipient, you might be relieved to know that you are not limited to subsidized housing projects. You will be advised of what size unit you should be looking for based on your family size and composition.
Once you find a place, the landlord or property owner must agree to let you rent under the program’s terms and conditions. The housing unit must also meet minimum health and safety standards that are set by your local PHA. The unit will be inspected, and the rent amount requested must be deemed “reasonable.”
Once you are officially enrolled into the program, the PHA will pay the landlord a housing subsidy on your behalf. You will then be responsible for the difference between the actual rent and the subsidy amount.
Please note that the actual calculation of the final amount you’ll pay is much more complex than what we’ve shown here. The amount you’ll pay out of pocket will be determined by a number of different factors including but not limited to:
- Family size
- Number of dependents
- Gross annual income
- Expenses related to child care and/or medical debt
For more information about Section 8, visit the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s official website.