Section 8 housing refers to the Housing Choice Voucher Program, whereby and individual or family are granted subsidized funding from the federal government to rent a home.
Low-income renters may apply for Section 8 housing vouchers, a program run by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and administered by local public housing authorities.
It received the name Section 8 from the US Housing Act of 1937, as it was established in Section 8 of that bill. Section 8 initially applied only to low-income renters and the vouchers would provide for assistance in paying the rent for various eligible properties.
However, Section 8 has since been modified to provide assistance to first-time homebuyers as well. Homeownership vouchers generally provide assistance in making mortgage payments. Unfortunately, not all local housing authorities participate in the homeownership voucher program, as the federal law does not require them to.
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Debt relief assistance for very low-income families, the disabled, and the elderly, through Section 8 Housing was established in 1974 to assist these citizens in affording safe, sanitary, and reasonably high-quality housing on the private market. Prior to Section 8 Housing, the very low-income often lived in massive state-owned apartment complexes known as the projects, or in some cases remained homeless.
Vouchers have assisted hundreds of thousands of families in moving out of these housing projects and into privately-owned apartments, townhouses, and more recently, owned homes. Vouchers also help ensure that very low-income individuals and families are no longer spending an disproportionate amount of their income on housing by limiting their rent contribution to 30% of their monthly income.