What You Need to Know About Low Income Housing Assistance


Do not let the federal budget cuts these days stop you from applying for Housing Choice Vouchers. Administered by our local housing authorities, Housing Choice Vouchers or Section 8 helps us pay the rent.

How to qualify for Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8)?

Each local housing authority has their own regulations and preferences. You can get all details by contacting them. Even though each housing authority has different preferences, here are the most basic requirements you need to know:

  • your income must be less than 50% of the Area Median Income (AMI) for the area where you want to live
  • US citizen or some categories of legal residents
  • owned assets

How to Apply for Housing Choice Vouchers?

Start by visiting your local housing authority. Though a Federal program, Housing Choice Voucher Program is carried out locally by housing authorities. Be ready for long waiting lists everywhere. The high demands for quality housing minus an increase in funding caused waiting lists to be years long.

How much rent will you pay if you are among the lucky ones to get a Section 8 voucher?

For the total rent amount, you will pay 30% of your income towards the rent, and the excess amount will be paid by the Housing Choice Voucher. Here is an example, if your monthly income is $1,800, you will pay $540 for the rent ($1,800 X 30%). If the total rent for the unit or apartment is $750, the housing assistance will pay $210 to the landlord on your behalf. You don't have to worry much about this computation because the representatives in your local housing authority will help you with it.

How does the tenant-based and project-based Housing Choice Voucher differ?

  • Tenant-Based Housing Choice Voucher
    • More known as the Housing Choice Voucher program, it is connected to you the tenant. If and when you move, the housing assistance can move with you.
  • Project-Based Section 8
    • Attached to a specific property. There are properties which participate in the Project-Based Section 8 Program. If you move into one, you will get the same type of financial assistance like a voucher. However, if you move out, the housing assistance stays with the property. The benefits will be enjoyed by the next tenant of that unit.

What are the types of housing you can move into with Housing Choice Vouchers?

There are no limits on building type, location, or other features when you want to use your Housing Choice Vouchers. The only limits you may encounter are the condition of the property and the cost of rent. The cost of rent for the property need to be within certain limits that your local housing representative can explain to you. Along with this, there will be a physical inspection which requires the property to have specific quality standards.

If you have demonstrated that you are a good tenant prospect, this means having a good rental history at other homes, good credit, and a clean criminal report, then a lot of landlords are willing to accept a Housing Choice Voucher.