The most well-known rental assistance program is the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, more commonly known as Section 8. This program helps millions of families to cover their rent costs each month.
Section 8 is a national program that is funded mostly by the federal government through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
The federal government sets the overall rules for the program when it comes to who can receive vouchers, what kinds of units may be approved by the program and other minimum eligibility requirements. However, the actual vouchers are handled by local public housing agencies all over the United States.
This means that in order to apply for Section 8 rent assistance, you will go through your local county or city PHA.
When you’re enrolled in Section 8, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) gives your landlord a direct payment to help cover your monthly rent. For most families and individuals receiving housing vouchers, the government covers 70% of the monthly rent. You would only be responsible for paying the remaining 30%.
To qualify for Section 8 housing, all you need to do is:
- Be legally present in the U.S.
- Live in the state where you’re applying.
- Meet maximum HUD income requirements.
To apply, simply reach out to the Public Housing Authority (PHA) that administers the program in your area. Most PHAs allow you to complete a convenient HUD Section 8 application online.
When you apply for Section 8 vouchers, you will need to give some basic information about your household. This includes ages, income and other information.
If accepted into the program, you will either start receiving vouchers as soon as you find a suitable housing unit or your application will enter a waiting list.
One of the best things about Housing Choice Vouchers is that they are not tied to a unit — they go wherever you go. This means that you can keep receiving vouchers if you move to a new apartment, single-family home, etc. as long as the new dwelling is in your PHA’s jurisdiction.