The difference between Section 8 and HUD housing is that Section 8 provides vouchers for low-income rentals anywhere that accepts vouchers, while HUD owns the building where rentals are available, according to Mass Legal Help. With Section 8 subsidized housing, the housing authority is not the landlord.
Under Section 8, private individuals receive a government subsidy for lower rent. Housing costs below 30 percent of the renter's income are considered affordable, states Affordable Housing Online. Recipients are qualified based on their income and based on the median income for each area's housing market. HUD housing requires an application through the local Housing Authority office. Waiting lists for Section 8 are longer than for public housing.