The Section 8 program, also known as the Housing Choice Voucher, is a federally-funded program designed to help low-income families find affordable housing by providing a voucher to pay a portion of the rent. Locally, the program is administered by Public Housing Authorities that is responsible for determining the eligibility of applicants, as well as the issuance of vouchers.
The main purpose of the program is to enable low-income families to find a decent home in a good neighborhood. If a family’s income is lower than the median income in their area, they are considered eligible and are placed on a waiting list.
To find out more facts, statistics and tips on Section 8 housing in the United States, explore the sections below:
Section 8 Statistics
- Over two million low-in come families participate in the Section 8 program.
- About 13 percent of all Section 8 housing units are outside of metropolitan areas.
- Around one million families live in units subsidized by the Project-Based Section 8 program.
- Most of the families under the Housing Choice Voucher program earn less than $20,000 a year.
- 75 percent of the vouchers are given to extremely low-income families that earn below 30 percent of the median area income.
Section 8 Facts
- The Housing Choice Voucher Program was initially founded in 1937, when Section 8 was a part of the Housing Act of 1937.
- The housing choice vouchers can be project-based (if they are used for renting specific apartment complexes) and tenant-based (if the tenants themselves find a rental unit).
- The main eligibility requirement for Section 8 is family income.
- Families on the Section 8 waiting list can take years to reach the top and receive a voucher.
- The voucher is used to pay a portion of the rent, while the difference between the total rent amount and the voucher amount is paid by the tenants.
- A family can lose eligibility while on a Section 8 voucher.
- Many families participate in self-sufficiency programs in order to become more financially independent and not have to rely on public and government assistance.
- If the PHA denies you a voucher or terminates your assistance, and you believe it has done so unrightfully, you have the right to file an appeal and request a hearing to present your case.
- PHAs are not responsible for any problems or disputes between tenants and landlords.
- Section 8 vouchers are valid in various locations throughout the country.
Section 8 Tips
- When applying for Section 8 housing , make sure to enter accurate information on your application and not withhold any income or asset information. PHAs perform detailed background checks to verify the family’s income, assets, lifestyle, spending habits and eviction history before they make a final decision on eligibility.
- PHAs in some areas have local preferences and give the majority of the vouchers to extremely low-income families or families with elderly or disabled members.
- Establish a good, respectful relationship with your landlord and make sure to pay your part of the rent on time if you would like to stay in the rental unit.
- Take good care of your new home and do not destroy it as you can be evicted by the landlord. Additionally, if the PHA estimates that you are no longer fit for the Section 8 program, it will terminate your assistance.
- Find a decent home in a good area where you will feel safe and have a better quality of life.
- Make sure to regularly update your PHA about any changes in income, family size, family composition and change of addresses in order to maintain your eligibility.