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Fast Facts About the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8)

The Housing Choice Voucher Program, also known as Section 8, is the federal government’s program for helping low-income families afford housing. Participants can choose housing that meets the requirements of the program and receive housing vouchers to help with their rental costs.

Curious about Section 8 housing? Below are five fast facts to better understand the Housing Choice Voucher Program to help you on your path of finding government assistance.

You can choose where you live

The participant is free to choose any housing that meets the requirements of the Housing Choice Voucher Program and is not limited to units located in subsidized housing projects. Contact your local Public Housing Agent (PHA) to learn about how to apply to the program and the requirements when looking for a house.

You can move while receiving assistance from the voucher program

The Housing Choice Voucher Program is designed to allow families to move without the loss of housing assistance. Moves are permissible if the family notifies the PHA ahead of time, terminates its existing lease within the lease provisions, and finds acceptable alternate housing.

You have responsibilities as the tenant while receiving assistance

While receiving assistance from the Housing Choice Voucher Program, the tenant must comply with the lease and the program requirements, pay its share of rent on time, maintain the unit in good condition and notify the PHA of any changes in income or family composition.

The landlord in the voucher program must provide housing that meets the program’s standards

The landlord must provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing to a tenant at a reasonable rent. The dwelling unit must pass the program's housing quality standards and be maintained up to those standards if the owner receives housing assistance payments. In addition, the landlord is expected to provide the services agreed to as part of the lease signed with the tenant and the contract signed with the PHA.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) covers the cost of the program

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides funds to allow PHAs to make housing assistance payments on behalf of the families. HUD also pays the PHA a fee for the costs of administering the program. When additional funds become available to assist new families, HUD invites PHAs to submit applications for funds for additional housing vouchers. 

How do I obtain these benefits?

As the official benefits website of the U.S. government, can help you start your benefits search by connecting you to available assistance you may be eligible to receive. In order to obtain the Housing Choice Voucher Program, contact the local PHA, you can locate your local PHA’s contact information on HUD’s website here.

Use our Browse by Category feature or take the Benefit Finder questionnaire to see which benefits you may be eligible to receive. The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has brought hardships to citizens with mortgage or rent payments, along with citizens that are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Visit our coronavirus Help Center for more resources to help with your housing or other needs.


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