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Types of Public Housing Assistance and Subsidized Housing Programs

Beneficiaries of federal housing assistance can choose from different types of housing programs including public housing, privately owned subsidized housing, and housing choice voucher programs. Even though all the housing assistance programs are intended to help citizens get affordable rental houses, they differ from each other in certain aspects. It is important for federal housing assistance applicants to understand the features of each program so that they know the type of programs that suits their needs. Public housing programs incorporate affordable apartments provided by the federal government to less privileged families or individuals like elderly persons, low-income families and persons with disabilities. The public housing program is applied for through the local public housing authority which also determines eligibility of applicants and allocates resources based on determined criteria. Privately owned subsidized housing is a HUD program that assists apartment owners to provide houses for rent to low-income families at reduced rental fees. Besides the definition of public housing and subsidized housing, there are other distinct properties about these two housing programs.

Eligibility for Different Types of Public Housing Assistance

In both public and subsidized housing, families must meet certain eligibility conditions in order to be considered for assistance. The applicants must have incomes below certain limits, must satisfy the definition of a family, and must have at least one U.S citizen in the household according to some housing assistance programs. Other factors that are also considered include age, disability status, and household size.

Landlords and Public Housing Assistance Programs

Rental assistance beneficiaries who live in public housing are answerable to the housing authority, which owns the rental building and also acts as the landlord. In some cases though, a private company could be responsible for managing the building on behalf of the housing authority. The private company may also have part ownership of the building, but the control of the building is always under the housing authority.

Rental assistance beneficiaries who live in subsidized housing are answerable to the private owners who are the landlords of the building. The landlords are not just owners of the buildings but are also responsible for operating the buildings and renting the units to low and moderate-income families that need affordable housing. Private house owners may be individuals or corporations and the subsidized houses can be obtained through vouchers. Tenants who have vouchers can find rental housing from the private market and pay the landlord using this subsidy voucher.

Applying for Public Housing Assistance in the U.S.

In order to benefit from public housing assistance, applicants have to submit their applications to any housing authority in the town or city they intend to live. Public housing applicants can make as many applications as they wish if they want to increase their chances of being allocated a house by the housing authority. If the public housing is managed by private owners, applicants may be required to submit applications to the individual or private management in charge. In subsidized housing, applicants can apply for vouchers to through the housing authority that providesing the Section 8 voucher program. Besides the housing authorities offering vouchers, there are also regional non-profit agencies that give Section 8 vouchers to qualified residents.

Rules and Regulations Surrounding Public Housing Assistance

Public housing assistance programs have different requirements for beneficiaries living in public and subsidized housing. Beneficiaries of public housing must live in the community where they applied for assistance. However, beneficiaries who get vouchers for subsidized housing can use it wherever they chose to live in the state. If the voucher is a Section 8 voucher then it can be used outside the state where it is issued. This means that the holder can easily move with the voucher to a new location and still use it there. Beneficiaries of multifamily subsidized housing cannot move with the subsidy just like public housing beneficiaries.

How Much Rent Do Section 8, Low- Income Families Pay?

Public housing tenants pay about 30 percent of their income for rent especially if utilities are included in the house rental fees. If utilities are not included then the amount paid by the tenant could be less than 30 percent. State family public housing could require a tenant to pay a higher percentage and every year the housing authority determines the amount of rent to be paid by tenants. The amount of rent paid by a tenant is always adjusted yearly based on changes in income or deductions.

For Section 8 voucher programs, a tenant may be required to pay as much as 40 percent of their his or her income for the rent. In Section 8 voucher programs, the percentage paid could be higher in the first year than subsequent years. The housing authority ensures that apartments chosen for rentals meet quality standards and that the landlords charge reasonable rent compared to the market rates for the same units.

In multifamily subsidized housing, rent can be calculated as a percentage of income paid by others in similar types of public housing or as a fixed amount based on rooms in the apartment rented. It is important for tenants to ask the landlords how rent is calculated as well as how changes in income affect the rent paid by the tenants.

What Are Public Housing Rental Rates Based On?

In both public housing and subsidized housing, it is possible to change to another appropriate public housing or subsidized apartment if family size changes. Transfers may take a long time to achieve, and for some state public housing, if a beneficiary is “over-housed” then the housing authority may increase the rent by up to 150 percent of the usual level. In voucher-based programs, such as Section 8, federal subsidy changes are made when the annual recertification of income and family composition assessment is done.

Loss of Public Housing Assistance and Evictions

Multi-family subsidized housing and public housing evictions can only be done if tenants violate program rules or lease terms. Any Section 8 beneficiary who is evicted from subsidized multifamily or public housing automatically loses rental subsidies. For Section 8 voucher-based programs, the landlord may fail to renew the lease with the tenant after the end of the annual tenancy period. If the reason for losing tenancy is the tenant’s fault then the Section 8 subsidy is lost as well but if has not been the tenant’s fault that the tenancy was lost, then they may keep the subsidy.

Details About the Section 8 Wait List Lottery

The demand for Section 8 vouchers regularly exceeds the supply in most parts of the United States. For this reason, the Department of Housing and Urban Development places all future recipients on a waiting list after deeming applicants eligible for housing assistance. The Department of Housing and Urban Development warns applicants of long wait times. Since beneficiaries with the most pressing needs take precedence over others, there is no way to determine the exact wait time for an applicant. Wait times in excess of one year are relatively common throughout the country. For comprehensive information about Section 8 and housing assistance, read the following topics:

  • Which applicants receive preference for Section 8?
  • hat is the Section 8 lottery?
  • Will my disability or age affect my Section 8 wait list status?
  • What if I need housing but fail to secure a Section 8 voucher?

Which applicants receive preference for Section 8?

As mentioned above, it is common for Section 8 voucher demand to outpace supply. In the most extreme cases, local housing agencies will close waiting lists if overwhelmed with applicants. In general, applicants who reside within the jurisdiction of the agency will receive preference, especially if they are already receiving assistance. Individuals may also receive immediate attention if they:

  • Have been involuntarily displaced from their current place of residence.
  • Are homeless, lack permanent housing or reside in a dwelling that is unfit for habitation.
  • Put more than 50 percent of their annual household income towards housing.

The conditions above are present in most jurisdictions, but each agency has the discretion to amend their preferences.

What is the Section 8 lottery?

After applying for a Section 8 Voucher, housing assistance is not a guarantee even if you meet initial eligibility standards. The waiting list uses a random lottery that places applicants in a specific order. The lottery does take local preferences into consideration and, in many jurisdictions, the state invites applicants to an eligibility session to learn more and find out if they will receive a voucher. Each public housing agency jurisdiction has the right to alter lottery rules and regulations to meet local needs. If an applicant wants additional lottery information, he or she should contact the public housing agency in their community.

Will my disability or age affect my Section 8 wait list status?

The state gives elderly individuals and those with disabilities a degree of preference during the lottery. Since these applicants often have difficulty maintaining and finding employment, they are often subject to financial distress. Applicants who cannot operate a computer and those who need assistance with a Section 8 application are eligible for additional help.

What if I need housing but fail to secure a Section 8 voucher?

If an individual needs housing but is unable to secure a Section 8 voucher, there are additional government and community services for which he or she may be eligible. Many cities across the country provide rent assistance for those who are not eligible for Section 8. Foreclosure prevention programs may also be available to homeowners who are in danger of losing their homes. Homeless individuals and those without permanent housing should check local listings of shelters and temporary housing. Many of these shelters are specifically for families with children as well as those suffering from substance abuse problems.

Important Information on Section 8 Housing Vouchers

The Section 8 Housing program is run by the federal government and provides low-income, disabled and elderly individuals with private housing. Those deemed eligible for housing vouchers receive a federal subsidy that pays a private landlord. Section 8 does not require recipients of housing aid to reside in public housing projects and allows them to choose their desired location as long as it meets the standards of the program. To know more about Section 8, read the topics below:

  • What is the Section 8 voucher program?
  • How do Section 8 vouchers work?
  • How is eligibility for Section 8 determined?
  • How much assistance can each household receive

What is the Section 8 voucher program?

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), oversees the distribution of housing vouchers. Once a family receives a housing voucher from their local public housing agency, they are responsible for finding a property. As long as the property meets HUD standards and the private landlord agrees to participate in the program, the recipient may rent. HUD inspects the unit or residence prior to Section 8 enrollees moving to ensure that it is fit for habitation. Each local public housing agency sets their own standards in regards to this matter.

How do Section 8 vouchers work?

Program participants do not receive the subsidy to pay their landlord directly. HUD pays the subsidy to each landlord directly while the family pays any difference between the actual rent and the subsidy. Prospective recipients should note that the program is not entirely free and, if chosen, the eligible participant will be responsible for any financial difference. Before selecting a property, families should be sure that the landlord participates in the Section 8 program. In rare instances, vouchers are available to purchase affordable housing. Those interested in purchasing a home while in the Section 8 program should contact their local public housing agency for further information.

How is eligibility for Section 8 determined?

Households must apply for Section 8 vouchers and, if they meet the criteria of the program, HUD places them on a waiting list to notify when a voucher is available. During the process, a local public housing agency will collect details about the income and assets of each family. This process will involve collecting information from the following places:

  • Employers
  • Banks
  • Other agencies
  • Tax records

Once the data is collected, the agency will contrast it with the median gross income of the local area. If the income of the family is less than 50 percent of this amount, they will more than likely be eligible. The income requirements for the Section 8 program vary between metropolitan areas, so prospective recipients should contact their local public housing agency for more details. Under federal law, each jurisdiction must offer at 75 percent of its available vouchers to households with an income below 30 percent of the median gross income.

How much assistance can each household receive?

The public housing agency in your area is responsible for calculating the amount of financial assistance you will receive. These calculations depend largely on the local housing market, but participants are allowed to choose homes both above and below their voucher amount. There are no rent restrictions placed on landlords, so they may raise or lower rent at any moment. If the family selects a unit where the rent is higher than the voucher amount, no more than 40 percent of its income can go towards housing. Families must also place a set amount of their income towards monthly utility bills.

Section 8: Roles of the Tenant, Landlord and HUD

The Department of Housing and Urban Development created clearly defined roles for those participating in the Section 8 program. Landlords, tenants and the department itself must abide by rules set forth by the federal government. Tenants are responsible for applying and finding housing and, if a landlord wishes to rent to a Section 8 tenant, his or her property must meet certain safety and sanitation standards. These are only a select few Section 8 legal requirements. Keep reading if for answers about the roles of the entities in the voucher program:

  • Tenants
  • Landlords
  • Public housing agencies (authorities)
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Tenants

As mentioned above, it is the responsibility of the tenant to find housing after receiving a Section 8 voucher. The tenant must be sure that the landlord participates in the Section 8 program and that the property meets certain standards. Once in residence, tenants must pay the difference between their subsidy amount and the rent. This includes any increases to the reny amount by the landlord. Residents must put at least 30 to 40 percent of their monthly income towards utilities.

Prior to moving in, the family must sign a lease of at least one year and have it approved by the public housing agency. Tenants must also cover any security deposit requirements prior to habitation. At the end of the one-year lease, the landlord may elect to initiate a month-to-month lease or a completely new lease. Tenants must also do the following:

  • Pay the rent on the designated date.
  • Keep the property in good condition.
  • Notify the public housing agency of any income or familial changes.

If the tenant violates the lease terms, the landlord has the right to take the appropriate legal actions. Program participants should also know that failing to notify the agency of an income change can result in a termination of benefits. Familial changes include changes to the number of family members.

Landlords

There are no restrictions on how much a landlord can charge, but Section 8 expects those participating in the program to charge a reasonable rent. He or she will also need to be sure that the dwelling meets the sanitary, structural and safety standards of the public housing agency. Once HUD deems the dwelling livable, the landlord must keep it in this condition and make any necessary repairs in a timely manner. All landlords must abide by the terms in the signed lease if they wish to receive payment.

Local Public Housing Agencies (Authorities)

Local public housing agencies enter into an agreement with the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This agreement involves providing housing vouchers to those in need of assistance and ensuring that compensation to participating landlords. Local agencies are also responsible for ensuring that all properties meet safety standards and that all participating residents meet eligibility standards. At least once a year, the agency must reassess the income status of Section 8 recipients and readjust the size of subsidies as needed. If a tenant or landlord fails to abide by the terms of the lease, the agency has the right to stop making subsidy payments.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

The Department of Housing and Urban Development must also follow certain rules and regulations in regards to the Section 8 program. It must allow local housing agencies to oversee the program in their jurisdiction and cover any costs associated with the program. It must also provide more funds if a local agency is in need of additional resources. HUD must monitor all agencies and ensure that they adhere to all federal housing laws and regulations.

Lastest Section 8 Laws and Expansions in the US

Administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Section 8 program is constantly changing. As the needs of citizens evolve, the program must also evolve to meet them. Before filing an application, it is important for applicants to have an understanding of Section 8 laws and regulations. The vast majority of these laws are federal, but individual public housing agency jurisdictions do have permission to alter some laws to better serve local applicants. Keep reading to learn more about the following topics:

  • The Fair Housing Act
  • Filing a Housing Discrimination complaint
  • The rights of disabled individuals
  • Housing vouchers for homeless veterans

The Fair Housing Act

The Fair Housing Act primarily outlines the rules regarding the Section 8 program and its participants. The Act states that single-family homes, apartments, condominiums and a variety of other properties are available through the program. It also states that vouchers are not usable for housing that is:

  • Rented or sold by brokers.
  • Owned or operated by private organizations, such as clubs.
  • Occupied by the owner (buildings with more than four units).

The Act also requires that Section 8 participants receive equal treatment from landlords. It is illegal to deny a recipient housing based on his or her race, nationality, disability, religious beliefs or ethnicity. It is a requirement for landlords to provide all tenants with the same quality of housing, regardless of Section 8 status. Similar to landlords, mortgage lenders and other private financial institutions may not discriminate against Section 8 participants during the mortgage application process.

Filing a Housing Discrimination Complaint

If you believe that a landlord or organization violated your housing rights, you will need to complete and submit a Housing Discrimination Complaint Form to HUD. This form is available for download as well as submission online at the official HUD website. If you do not have access to a computer or internet service, you can call your local HUD office or write a letter detailing your experience. HUD recommends that participants submit a complaint as soon as possible (voucher recipients have one year to file a complaint after the initial violation of rights). If HUD believes that your complaint is valid, it will take the following actions:

  • Investigate the complaint within 30 days of its submission.
  • Reach an agreement between the tenant and the offender.
  • Have the Attorney General file suit if the offender violates the agreement.

HUD handles the most urgent complaints first during investigations.

The Rights of Disabled Individuals

The Fair Housing Act also protects the rights of disabled individuals. Any Section 8 tenant with a physical or mental disability such as a chronic illness must have reasonable accommodation provided by the landlord. This means that if a disabled tenant needs to make reasonable alterations to his or her dwelling because of a disability, the landlord must allow it. Landlords do have the right to charge the handicapped individual if the alteration damages property at the end of the lease. Dwellings with no-pet policies must also allow service animals if needed by a disabled beneficiary.

Housing Vouchers for Homeless Veterans

The VA Supportive program, also known as VASH, is run by HUD as well. This program helps homeless service members find and maintain stable housing. Like Section 8, the VA Supportive program issues financial assistance in the form of vouchers and eligible participants may use their funds to procure private housing. Anyone eligible for VA health services may apply and if a substance abuse or mental health issue exists, counseling and treatment is available in addition to housing assistance.

Section 8 Housing Developments and the Fair Housing Act

Section 8 Housing has evolved since its inception and there are several developments that have been made to the program. One such development is the Fair Housing Act of 1968 which protects citizens from any form of discrimination when buying, renting, or seeking financing for housing. The Fair Housing Act prohibits any discrimination based on color, color, religion, sex, disability, national origin, or presence of children. In some cases, the Fair Housing Act may not apply to private clubs, housing operated by organizations, single-family housings that are rented or sold without a broker, as well as owner-occupied buildings that have no more than four units.

With regards to sale or rental of housing, the Fair Housing Act specifies that no person should refuse to sell, rent, negotiate, or make available housing to another person based on handicap, sex, family, color, race, or religion status. The law also prohibits the landlords from setting different occupation terms to tenants or denying privileges to facilities of the housing. With respect to mortgage lending, the Fair Housing Act forbids anyone from refusing to provide information on mortgage loan, refusing to advance a mortgage loan, or setting different terms and conditions for loan on a discriminatory basis. Persons with a disability or families with handicap persons are also protected by this act in that the landlord may not prevent tenants from making modifications that are necessary for their condition. The rules of accommodation must also be reasonable and flexible enough to accommodate all persons with disability. Another provision of the Fair Housing Act is that tenants should not be discriminated based on familial status. Family status protection states that no family should be discriminated based on parenthood of the children. A child under 18 years qualifies to be a family member even if they live under legal custody or a designee parent. This protection applies for anyone who is in the process of getting custody for a child as well as pregnant women. Family status protection may not apply in some instances involving older persons for instance if the HUD secretary determines that Section 8 housing units are designed for elderly persons protected by federal, state or local organizations.

The Fair Housing Act and Filing a Complaint for Discrimination in the U.S.

Anyone whose rights have been violated can file a complaint through the Fair Housing Act for discrimination and appropriate action would be taken. Technological advancements have made complaint filing more convenient because individuals can file the complaints online at the HUD website. Any tenant whose civil rights have been violated can file a fair housing complaint online and afterwards the complaint will be reviewed by a specialist to determine if a Fair Housing Act violation has been committed. The specialist would reach the complainant for any clarifications regarding the case and if a possible violation is established then the specialist will assist in filing an official housing discrimination complaint. Information provided in the complaint form is used for investigations and it may be submitted to the U.S Department of Justice for other purposes such as studying filing patterns and even prosecution.

HUD-VASH Program in the U.S.

HUD-VASH is a housing assistance program that was formed through collaboration of the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and department of Veteran Affairs (VA). The program combines HUD housing vouchers and the supportive services of VA to assist homeless veterans and their families to access permanent housing. Rental assistance vouchers are provided by the HUD to veterans who are eligible for health care services of VA and who are homeless so that they can get privately owned housing. VA managers connect these homeless veterans with the HUD-VASH program as well as other assistance services in the Veteran Affairs department. Currently, HUD-VASH has connected the largest number of veterans with long-term homelessness. The program also offers assistance in medical, mental, and rehabilitation interventions for substance use disorders. Eligible veterans must demonstrate that they are able to complete daily living activities independently. Veterans who would like to get housing assistance through HUD-VASH program can contact any local VA Homeless Program or can get referral from a case manager.

Protection for People with Limited English Proficiency (LEP)

The most recent development in Section 8 program is the HUD’s provision to protect people with “limited English proficiency.”. LEP guidelines issued by HUD specify how Fair Housing Act would be used to handle housing discrimination cases. The new guidelines intend to protect more than 25 million people within United States who are not able to communicate proficiently in English. Providers of housing are therefore prohibited from using limited English proficiency as a discriminatory reason to deny housing.

ConnectHome Program in the U.S.

The ConnectHome Program was a 2015 initiative by the federal government, the private sector, and other US communities intending to provide high speed broadband to families all over the country. The program targets mostly low-income homes, children, and schools where access to information is crucial. Non-profit organizations, internet service providers and private sector institutions offer digital literacy trainings, broadband access services, as well as electronic devices to the residents of assisted housing units. HUD has collaborated with public and private sector organizations to facilitate access to high-speed internet broadband among the low-income households in America.

Office of Affordable Housing Programs (OAHP)

The Office of Affordable Housing Programs facilitates public housing by collaborating with the Office of Community Planning to increase the stock of affordable houses available to low- income households. HOME Investments Partnerships Program is an initiative that provides grants to local governments or states and finances building, buying, or rehabilitation of houses for rental purpose or ownership. It is the largest federal grant program to provide affordable housing to low-income families all over the United States. Another similar project by the Office of Community Planning and Development is the National Housing Trust Fund (HTF) which also supports acquisition, construction, and re-construction of rental houses for the households with extremely low incomes or those that live below poverty line. HUD works together with Office of Community Planning to provide affordable public housing to the families all over the country.

How to Move and Maintain Housing Assistance

Section 8 is a housing program overseen by the Department of Housing and Development (HUD). It aims to help financially vulnerable, elderly and disabled individuals find safe and affordable housing in their communities. After a public housing agency contacts eligible candidates about meeting the initial criteria, Families have the responsibility of finding a home and landlord that participates in the Section 8 program. In addition to finding a new home, participants must actively continue to meet the standards set forth by the program. Continue reading to learn the answers to the following questions:

  • Are Section 8 recipients allowed to move?
  • Will I still need to meet the same Section 8 eligibility standards?
  • Are there restrictions on where Section 8 participants can live?
  • Will the size of my Section 8 subsidy remain the same if I move?

Are Section 8 recipients allowed to move?

The housing needs of a family can change over time. If a family needs to move to another location or there is a new member added to the household, the subsidy may change. In most cases, participants will continue to receive assistance as long as they continue to meet Section 8 eligibility standards. Provided the participating family notifies the public housing agency prior to moving there will be no loss of benefits. In addition to notifying the agency, voucher recipients should:

  • Find acceptable housing in the new location.
  • Terminate the existing lease.
  • Inform the agency of any changes to income or household size.
  • Once the recipient completes the steps above, he or she will be eligible to receive a Section 8 voucher in a new location.

Will I still need to meet the same Section 8 eligibility standards?

The income level of a household determines Section 8 eligibility. To determine eligibility, a local public housing agency will compare the income of a prospective family to the median income of the municipality where they reside. If the applicant earns less than 50 percent of the median household income in the area, the agency may judge the applicant eligible for the program. During the application process, HUD will gather important information regarding the income and assets of each applicant. If deemed eligible, HUD places the name of the applicant on a waiting list to contact when his or her voucher is available. Once awarded a voucher, the participant may begin to search for housing.

Are there restrictions on where Section 8 participants can live?

The Section 8 program does not place geographic restrictions on its recipients. As long as the participating household resides within the United States and live within the jurisdiction of the program at the time of application. If an individual did not reside within the jurisdiction of the public housing agency when they applied for a voucher, they must to wait 12 months before they can move to another jurisdiction. It is important to note that all program participants must notify their local public housing agency before moving to another location. A participant may lose housing assistance if he or she fails to follow the moving procedures of the local agency.

Will the size of my Section 8 subsidy remain the same if I move?

Since housing prices vary across the country, it is possible that a participating family may receive a larger or smaller subsidy upon moving. As usual, HUD calculates the subsidy amount of a participant using statistics from the local housing market. If the cost of living in the new location is higher, a family can expect to receive an increase in assistance as long as household income has not changed.

A History of Section 8 Program

Section 8 is a federal housing program that was established during the 1960s and the 1970s. The name Section 8 was coined from the 8th section of the Housing Act of 1937 which authorized payment of house rental assistance to private landlords on behalf of the low-income households of America. The current Section 8 housing program has evolved from several past housing assistance programs. The Section 8 voucher assistance program was started by the federal government during the Great Depression period. It was in this period that Congress passed the U.S. Housing Act to curb housing crisis in the country. Subsidy programs were created in the 1960s and 1970s to facilitate low-income housing and assist families pay rent. The U.S. Housing Act was amended by the Section 236 Leased Housing Program which was not a pure housing allowance program. Through the Section 236 program, federal housing authorities chose eligible low-income families, allocated them private housing units available, and determined the rents they would pay. The housing authorities then signed lease agreements with the private landlords accepting to pay the differences between tenants’ rent and the market rental fee for similar housing units. Housing authorities were responsible for maintenance of the housing units and the Section 236 tenants’ incomes were reviewed annually to determine their eligibility for the program.

Section 8 in the 1970s

During the 1970s, housing authorities discovered that low-income households were no longer facing substandard housing as the main housing challenge. The main problem was that a high percentage of the incomes of these families were being spent on housing rent. It was then that Congress developed the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 and amended the U.S. Housing Act of 1937 to create the Section 8 Program. Under the newly formed Section 8 Program, tenants were supposed to pay up to 30 percent of their income to rent while the federal housing program paid the rest of the rent. At its inception, Section 8 had Existing Housing Certificate, Substantial Rehabilitation , and New Construction programs. Other programs that were later on added include the Voucher Program, Moderate Rehabilitation, Project-based Certificate, and HUD-VASH program.
Presently, Section 8 Programs are also voucher based, and the type of vouchers offered are either project-based or tenant based. Under this voucher system, voucher holders take a housing lease from a specific apartment complex or from private sector landlords. The holders then pay share of the rent which is mostly 30 percent of their adjusted incomes as determined under Section 8. Beneficiary tenants can choose anywhere to live and as long as the premises meets the standards of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Public Housing Agencies (PHAs)

Public housing agencies are independent institutions that assist low- income families to access services of the local public housing authority. Agencies are located in all counties or states and public housing applicants can get information, apply, or consult the public housing agencies and get their public housing concerns addressed. Activities of PHAs are funded through the housing subsidies provided by the federal government, rents paid by tenants, and through investment revenues the PHAs receive.

The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program in the U.S.

This is the most important part of the federally funded Section 8 Housing program because it pays the highest portion of rent and utilities nationwide. It allows low income families to choose, purchase, or lease privately owned low income rental homes at affordable rates. It is a tenant-based assistance program that enables tenants to change rental units and even use their monthly subsidy vouchers to buy homes. Holders of Section 8 vouchers are required to pay portions of their incomes on rent while the voucher caters for the remaining portion of rent. The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program was formed to ensure that families pay a reasonable portion of their incomes on rent while the government also takes care of the rent to a specified limit. The difference between Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher with other Section 8 Programs is that it allows families to choose their preferred housing, and in addition, also the house chosen is always privately owned.

About the United Stated Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

HUD is a cabinet department formed in 1965 through the Department of Housing and Urban Development Act. It operates under the Executive branch of the United States federal government. HUD is administered by the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. HUD’s mission is to provide quality affordable homes and to protect citizens from discrimination when they try to access housing amenities in the country.

Section 8 Program Requirements in the U.S.

The Section 8 program has general eligibility requirements that are set for anyone intending to qualify for Section 8 housing programs. Applicants of public housing and Section 8 vouchers must satisfy the definition of family status as specified by the Public Housing Authority. A family could be an individual or a group of people who must meet certain standards in order to qualify for Section 8. Another qualification is that the income of applicants must be below certain limits established by the HUD. This is because the Section 8 program is tailored for low-income families. Income is classified as extremely low income if it is 30 percent for an area’s median income level. Very low income category is for applicants whose incomes are 50 percent of an area’s median income level and the low income category is for applicants whose income are 80 percent of an area’s median income level. The third qualification is that applicants must be American citizens and non-citizens can also qualify for assistance if they meet eligible immigrant status. Additionally, Section 8 Housing is granted to applicants who have not been evicted for drug-related charges or convicted for criminal activity in any assisted housing project. It is important to understand that these Section 8 qualifications are just some of the requirements for Section 8 program eligibility and that each state or county has its own stipulations regarding Section 8 eligibility. The Section 8 program requirements are also regularly revised by HUD and for this reason beneficiaries must keep up with the updates to avoid losing their subsidies.