What are Housing Choice Vouchers?

Administered by your local housing authority, Section 8 or Housing Choice Voucher program helps low-income households to pay for house rent. Depending on where you live, each housing authority has different preferences, requirements, and services.

The difference between tenant-based and project-based Section 8

Tenant-Based Section 8 - commonly known as the Housing Choice Voucher program - is attached to you the tenant. When you move, the assistance can move with you.

Project-Based Section 8 is attached to a specific property. If you move into a property that participates in the Project-Based Section 8 Program, you get the same type of financial assistance as with a voucher, but if you move out it stays with the property and benefits the next resident of that home.

How to qualify for Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8)

To get all the details for Housing Choice Voucher program, you must contact your local housing authority. The most basic requirements are:

  • income
  • citizenship (or certain categories of legal residents)
  • owned assets

Applying for Section 8

Start at your local housing authority. Though a Federal program, it is carried out at the local level by housing authorities.

How much rent will you pay?

Under the Section 8 voucher program, your contribution to rent is fairly simple math. The formula looks like this.

Tenant Rent Payment = Monthly Income X 30%

The formula to calculate the amount paid to your landlord by the assistance looks like this.

Assistance Amount = Total Rent - Tenant Rent Payment

Here is an example:

$2,000 (your monthly income) X 30% = $600 (tenant rent)

$800 (total rent) - $600 (tenant rent) = $200 (housing program assistance amount)

How long does it take to get a Housing Choice Voucher?

With Federal budget cuts these days, it will take a while to receive Section 8 housing assistance. Almost all housing authorities in the country have a very long waiting list. Applying today will most certainly mean receiving the assistance after a couple of years. But don't let this stop you from applying. If you don't get on the waiting list, you will never get the opportunity.

In some special cases, housing authorities may have priority waiting lists (for homeless persons, victims of domestic violence or other special groups).

What are the types of housing I am eligible for with Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers?

Your housing options are limited by the Section 8 program based mainly on the cost of rent and the condition of the property. The rent for the property must be within certain limits and it must meet a physical inspection that requires the home to have certain quality standards. But other than that, there are no limits on its location, building type or other features.

For the most part, most landlords are willing to accept a Housing Choice voucher. Almost all of the properties you find on our website are happy to accept Section 8.

Can I take my housing assistance with me if I move to a new city?

Housing Choice Vouchers are portable which means you can bring them with you no matter where you go in the country. You can take a voucher you received in Tucson and move to Cleveland with it.