Section 8 provides affordable housing to millions of Americans each year. In fact, it is one of the most successful government programs for tenants and landlords.
Although Section 8 refers to the part of the Housing Act of 1937, the proper name for this program is the Housing Choice Vouchers program. It is a federally funded program that aims to provide homes for as many people as possible.
The primary goal of Section 8 is to subsidize housing expenses for Americans who live in poverty. It also provides housing to disabled and elderly tenants. The program is sponsored by the federal government, but it is administered by local governments.
The great thing about the Section 8 program is the housing can be located in any neighborhood. People who are recipients of the benefits of this program do not have to live in specially designated neighborhoods. In order to be certified as a Section 8 property, a landlord’s property must be designated as such by the housing authorities.
Eligibility Requirements for Section 8
The competition to receive housing choice vouchers is stiff in many areas. In fact, only a quarter of the people who are eligible to receive the vouchers get them. There is usually more demand for housing than there is available housing.
People who qualify for Section 8 housing must meet certain income requirements. These requirements are determined by the state in which the person resides. People who earn more than half of the median income for the state in which they live are not qualified. For instance, if the median income for a state is $70,000 per year, recipients would have to make $35,000 per year or less in order to qualify.
Other qualifying criteria include:
- Homelessness or living in a homeless shelter
- Being age 62 years old and over
- Being a veteran of the United States armed forces or widower/widow
When tenants are approved for the Section 8 program, they have certain obligations they have to meet. Some tenants may be required to pay a security deposit. Tenants must sign a lease that lasts at least one year. Tenants must also abide by the terms of the lease.
How Section 8 Vouchers Work
Tenants who qualify are provided with vouchers that enable them to look for properties that are approved for Section 8 rental. The voucher states which type of rental unit the recipient can lease.
Each landlord has the responsibility to provide suitable housing for Section 8 recipients. All housing must be clean, safe and livable. Landlords are paid rent by the housing authority. If landlords fail to abide by the lease, the housing authority will terminate the contract. If the contract is terminated, the landlord will not be paid.
Section 8 is a beneficial program for those who would otherwise not be able to afford housing. It is also good for landlords.