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Learn About Housing Assistance from Section 8

Section 8, now known as the Housing Choice Voucher Program, provides financial assistance to meet the housing needs of eligible individuals and families. Section 8’s primary goal is to help low-income families and individuals to find housing in the private market that is safe and clean, but not necessarily a part of a low-income housing project. This assistance is provided to families in the form of housing vouchers, which are used to pay rent. Landlords are paid directly each month with these Section 8 vouchers and the family or individual is responsible for paying the remainder of the rent on time.

Find Out How Section 8 Works

The Housing Choice Voucher Program is federally funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). These funds are then distributed to local Public Housing Agencies (PHAs), who will handle all the application and benefit distribution processes in their jurisdiction. Public Housing Agencies also verify that all rental units meet the Section 8 program’s minimum health and safety standards. Once an applicant has been approved, their local PHA will pay the landlord with the subsidized portion of the rent each month. As members of a household receive financial relief for their housing, they are encouraged to save up money, become self-sufficient and grow out of the need for Section 8 benefits.

Unfortunately, many areas of the country have a higher demand for housing vouchers than the available funding, so not every eligible family will receive assistance. In order to properly assist as many households as possible, many PHAs have an established waiting list. Oftentimes, the waiting list can get very long. Fortunately, families with more urgent housing needs or those that meet certain criteria established by a PHA may receive priority on the waiting list. Individual Public Housing Agencies are responsible for setting their own criteria for priority cases based on the housing needs of their community.

Discover Section 8 Benefits

After reaching the top of the waiting list, households will have their benefit amount calculated at their local PHA. Families that meet all of the eligibility guidelines of Section 8 including income limits, family composition and citizenship requirements may receive benefits from the program. The amount a family receives in Section 8 benefits will vary depending on availability and financial need and the need of a family will be assessed based on the family size, spending habits and income. In order to remain eligible Section 8 benefits, participants must remain in good standing by paying their balance on time each month.

One of the most beneficial perks of the Housing Choice Voucher Program is the fact that participants are able to choose their own housing. Participants have the option of finding housing at apartments, privately-owned homes, townhouses and other housing types in the private market. The Section 8 program also offers additional assistance for individuals who are elderly or living with disabilities. Once a family has been granted housing benefits from Section 8, they must continue to update the PHA to verify that they are eligible to keep receiving assistance.

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