Section 8 housing programs are intended to help low-income individuals and families. The program officially began in 1974 in order to place low-income families into high-standard public housing. It was part of an initiative to shift away from the large public housing projects and towards societal integration.
Section 8 vouchers and housing help low-income individuals and families, including the elderly and disabled. In fact, there is a bias in helping elderly and disabled people first, which can be seen in the explicit preference towards assisting the elderly and disabled, and in specific programs, such as Section 8 Homeownership. Some of the general restrictions do not apply to elderly and siabled people. For example, Section 8 Homeownership traditionally has a 15 year cap on receiving government subsidized assistance; however, this cap does not apply to the elderly or disabled and their familes if they meet certain conditions.
Approximately 2 million people in the United States receive Section 8 subsidies at any time.