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Fair Housing Defense Information on and Compliance with the FHA

Just What is Section 8?

Posted in FHA Basics
All of us in the housing arena have heard of "Section 8."  But I thought it was worth an entry to review just what makes up Section 8 and how Section 8 works in real life.
 
"Section 8" takes its name from Section 8 of the United States Housing Act of 1937 (which has been amended any number of times since).  The statute authorizes the payment of rental housing assistance to private landlords on behalf certain low-income households. I have seen statistics that reveal over 3 million families receive this type of assistance.  Section 8 is run through several programs, the largest of which is the Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP).  The HCVP pays a large portion of the rents and utilities of about 2.1 million households. HUD manages the various Section 8 programs.

The HCVP provides what is called "tenant-based" rental assistance, so an assisted tenant can move with assistance from one unit to another. Section 8 also authorizes a variety of "project-based" rental assistance programs, under which the owner reserves some or all of the units in a building for low-income residents, in return for a Federal government guarantee to make up the difference between the tenant’s contribution and the rent specified in the owner’s contract with the government. .

Under the voucher program, individuals or families with a voucher find and lease a unit (either in a specified complex or in the private sector) and pay a portion of the rent (based on income, but generally no more than 30% of the family’s income).

The general rule is that management participation in the Section 8 program is voluntary — although depending on where you live, there may be local laws mandating that management accept a housing voucher.  Yet another good reason to know the fair housing laws in your area.  Or you will have to check with a lawyer like me.

Just a Thought.