What is Section 8? What are Housing Choice Vouchers?

Serving low-income renters in the U.S. the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program pays the balance of a rent payment that is above 30% of the renter's monthly income. It is a must for the rental units to be inspected and approved by the local housing authority. Worried that rental amount might be too high? Not to worry because the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) sets a Fair Market Rent, and the unit rent price should be lower than the set amount.

Locally administered by local housing authorities, each of the housing authorities has different requirements and preferences. Contact your local office to know more about specific requirements.

Federal budget controls have affected the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program in a way that, the waiting lists are longer, and it takes longer for renters to get their homes with affordable rent.

Tenant-based and Project-based Section 8

Is there a difference between the two? The main difference is usually felt when you decide to move.

Qualifications to meet

Applying for Section 8

Since this is a federal program managed by local offices, visiting your local housing authority is the first step to start your application process. Not sure if their waiting list is open? You may still visit the office, or contact them to find out.

There are some special cases when the housing authorities may have priority waiting lists. This may include the disabled, elderly, victims of domestic violence, homeless persons, or other special groups. We strongly recommended that you contact your local housing authority to get more information.

Where can we live?

Many landlords happily accept housing choice vouchers. You can look for rental units online and on ads. Once you choose your unit, the local housing office will arrange for its inspection. Once approved, you may move into your new home!

What if you decide to move?

Notify the representative in charge of your housing assistance. They will provide you the information and requirements for moving with your voucher to a different location.

How much rent will you pay if you have a Section 8 voucher?


This is the formula for how much you will pay:

Monthly Income X 30% = Tenant Rent Payment

And this is the formula for how much the housing assistance will pay:

Total Rent Amount - Tenant Rent Payment = Housing Assistance Amount


Don't worry if you are a bit confused. A representative from your local housing office will be happy to assist you with this computation.