In middle of the Great Depression, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) was started to assist low-income families in finding affordable options for housing. Since then, HUD has expanded its assistance to include rent subsidies for lower income families and the construction of housing units.

The Begninning Of Section 8 Housing

In 1974, Congress passed The Housing and Community Development Act. This act helped low-income families locate and afford safe housing by subsidizing part of their rent. This act was later labeled the Section 8 Housing Program. The program allowed renters to put only 30 percent of their entire income toward rent. The Federal Government covered the remaining 70 percent by compensating the landlords.

The Addition of Subcategories to Section 8

Originally, the Section 8 Program consisted of three separate subcategories – Existing Housing, New Construction and Substantial Rehabilitation. A new subcategory, Moderate Rehabilitation, was added in 1978. In 1983, another subcategory known as the Voucher Program was added on. A final subcategory, the Project-Based Certificate Program, was added in 1991. Each of these subcategories were created with the intention of determining if landlords were eligible to participate in the Section 8 Program.

Section 8 Housing – Who Is In Charge?

Individual states regulate Section 8 Housing. Each state’s particular Housing Authority determines the amount of funding available for programs. The amount of funding, availability of programs, and budget fluctuates frequently due to changes in the money provided by state Housing Authorities. However, subsidies already in place have had their funding renewed by Congress.
Housing Voucher Program

The Housing Voucher Program was established for families with extremely low incomes, the elderly, or disabled people. These groups are eligible to receive subsidies that help them live in safe, affordable, clean housing. The vouchers can help tenants find housing – whether an apartment, townhouse, or single-family home – best suited to their needs.

The Housing Authority in each individual state sets the eligibility requirements. Factors such as the size of the family and gross annual income help determine a family’s eligibility. Both citizens of the United States and non-citizens with an appropriate immigration status are eligible for vouchers.
What Does the Application Process Involve?

To be determined as eligible for a voucher program, applicants are required to provide the Housing Authority with proof of their income and the immigration status for all family members listed on the application. The Housing Authority then contacts banks, employers, and family members to verify that all eligibility requirements are met and to set the total amount of the subsidy.

Waiting List for Vouchers

Since vouchers are highly sought after, the majority of eligible applicants are placed on a waiting list until the necessary funding is available. Once funding becomes available, families on the wait list are contacted and can proceed with obtaining a voucher.

The following situations may cause a family to be positioned at the top of the waiting list:
They are currently homeless
They are residing in dangerous or substandard housing
Their total rent is over 50 percent of their entire income
They have lost their housing without choice

Families dealing with these situations are placed at the top of the list. Qualifications and eligibility requirements are set by each state’s Housing Authority and vary from state to state.
Participating Landlords – What Are the Requirements?

People who qualify for vouchers must choose housing in accordance with the Housing Authority’s particular codes and requirements. Participating landlords are required to allow the site to be inspected to confirm it complies with the Voucher Program. If the premise meets the standards, a voucher will be approved.

Since landlords can choose to

avoid participating in the Section 8 Voucher Program, some landlords may not accept vouchers. Participants in the Section 8 Voucher Program must confirm that their potential landlord is aware of the program and willing to receive vouchers.
Families with vouchers are required to notify Section 8 of any changes in income or family size. Failing to notify the Housing Authority of these changes can be considered fraud and can result in losing the voucher.

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