Section 8 housing assistance is a government program that allows low-income families to receive rental assistance from the federal government, which is paid directly to their landlord. This program was authorized by Section 8 of the Housing Act of 1937.
The biggest part of Section 8 is the Housing Choice Voucher Program, which allows families to choose their own housing as long as it meets certain requirements. Although the Housing Choice Voucher Program is generally used to pay rent, a family may also be able to apply their vouchers towards the purchase of a modest home under certain circumstances. This program provides rental assistance to an estimated 2.1 million families, while another 1 million families receive some other form of Section 8 housing assistance. These are normally project based subsidies, where a landlord contracts with the government to rent out their units as part of low income housing. In these programs, the family only qualifies for the housing assistance if they continue to live within the low income home.
In order to qualify for Section 8 housing, a family's income must be less than 50 percent of the average income for their area, as determined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.