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Housing Choice Voucher Program

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Section 8 Information

Section 8 housing came into affect in 1974 when Congress passed the Housing and Community Development Act. The new law had made amendments to an earlier law (1937-US Housing Act), effectively creating the Section 8 housing program. The program created subsidized housing out of already existing privately owned properties. Rather than having government build new housing, it made more economic sense to make payments to landlords and property owners on behalf of qualifying tenants and new applicants. Under Section 8 guidelines, tenants must be able to pay for 30% of their total rent while the remaining 70% is paid for with federal funds.

Section 8 Vouchers

The Section 8 program effectively offers vouchers to qualifying participants based on their needs and goals. Today there are seven (7) types of vouchers available to Section 8 participants. Those vouchers are Family Unification Vouchers, Tenant Based Vouchers, Conversion Vouchers, Welfare-to-Work Vouchers, Homeownership Vouchers, Vouchers for People with Disabilities, and Project Based Vouchers. While the funds are federally granted, oversight and issuance is handled locally through an applicants nearest housing authority office. They can determine if the property falls under Fair Market Rent (FMR) standards and can be considered for the Section 8 program.

How to Qualify for Section 8

Low-income families and individuals probably would like to know if they qualify for Section 8 housing assistance. Since the rules and regulations differ slightly depending on the area, it is necessary for a potential applicant to enquire at their local Public Housing Agency (PHA) The Department of Housing and Urban Development has a PHA finder for those applicant unfamiliar with the process and would like to apply. As a general rule, an applicant must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident, and income should not exceed 30% of the area’s median income. Since many applicants already come from relatively low-income demographics, applicants may seek out housing assistance in a nearby area that has a slightly higher median income. This provides the opportunity for potential applicants to relocate outside of a low-income neighborhood. This may be advantageous for applicants with children who would prefer their children attend different schools other than the ones previously available to them.

Waiting List

If you are in need of immediate housing Section 8 is not an instant solution. Often times the wait list for Section 8 housing can go back multiple years. Potential applicants should enter the search term “Section 8 wait list” along with their county name into a search engine. This will bring up the most recent status. Some wait lists close for certain times of the year and then schedule a time to reopen. This is easily found with a web search.

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