How Does Section 8 Work?


Quick Answer

Section 8, or the Housing Choice Vouchers Program, offers assistance to qualified low-income families so they can afford safe and clean housing. Applicants have the right to choose where they live. Local public housing authorities administer the program.

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Full Answer

To qualify for assistance through Section 8, a family has to meet several requirements, including income. A family cannot have income that exceeds 50 percent of the median income for the area in which they live. Median income levels for an area are set by the local public housing authorities. In addition to income, applicants must meet citizenship and immigration standards. U.S. citizens and immigrants with legal status meet this requirement. Once an application is submitted for assistance, it will be evaluated for eligibility.

An applicant who is approved for the program is placed on the waiting list. The length of time spent on the list varies according to need and funding available. In some areas, priority is given to applicants who are homeless. Applicants are required to re-certify for assistance. A letter is sent when it is time to re-certify. Applicants are expected to inform the public housing authority when their situation changes. For example, an increase in income must be reported.

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