The Section 8 Rental Voucher Program enables affordable housing choices for very low-income households by permitting families to choose privately owned rental housing. Section 8 (Housing Choice) tenants qualify for federal housing assistance for a number of different reasons.  There are no racial, ethnical or other criteria over who may or may not qualify.

af·ford·a·ble   That can be afforded: affordable housing

af·ford-have the financial means; bear the cost: able to afford a new car.

Poor people in America? Not here, right? Section 8, homeless shelters, Food Banks, Public Assistance and Food Stamps.  Not in your community? Think again. Learn more about the history of Section 8 and Public Housing.

HOW IT WORKS: The tenant-based program which means eligible families with a certificate or voucher find and lease a unit and pay a portion of a reasonable rent. Their portion is based on income, generally around 30% OR LESS. The local housing authority (PHA) pays the owner the remaining rent, capped by the Fair Market Rent (FMR) or a fixed percentage. The housing authorities determine the reasonable rent and the FMR is determined by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The landlord does not have to accept the FMR as rent – they may ask more or less. 
As a landlord who “accepts” Section 8, it may provide some stability in your cash flow. Be open to it when someone asks you “do you accept section 8”.

Find More Housing Voucher Information

ExampleCalifornia Section 8

The purpose of many federal and state programs is to assist those less fortunate. Many programs come and go. One basic and hardest requirements to fulfill is that
of housing for the poor or AFFORDABLE HOUSING.


The New York City Section 8 program is the largest in the United States. They serve over 270,000 New Yorkers. Over 29,000 landlords currently participate in the program.


You may have several options in the type of housing, depending upon your eligibility, availability and location.

1. Public Housing – these are apartments or other type of units typically run by the local housing agency.

2. Privately Owned Subsidized Housing – HUD assists / subsidizes developers or owners to provide reduce rate housing to qualified tenants.

3. Housing Choice Voucher – the tenant finds a home (apartment, condo, house) in which the landlord agrees to accept a portion of the rent from the issuing Public Housing Agency or State with the tenant paying a portion. Rent is based on “market rate” and tenant qualifications. The portion paid by agency will vary based on tenant income, number of children and if they are a single parent. Other factors include the size of the unit and market rent – including all costs for maintaining the unit.

All costs to maintain the unit per month would include:

  • The Rent
  • Utilities (Gas, Electric, Water)
  • Other fees charged by the landlord

The tenant must be able to qualify to pay their portion of the rent PLUS the other costs to live.


The tenant must go to a local Public Housing Agency to complete a request for Public Housing Assistance. There may be very long waiting list. The Tenant may apply to different Public Housing Agencies. Once awarded, the voucher may be transferable. Check with your local Public Housing Agency.


Once a Tenant receives housing assistance, the case is evaluated each year to review the family status, income and other factors including the base rent.


Section 8 Listing – Find Section 8 Offices
Use this directory to help you find Public Housing Agencies in your state. The Public Housing Agencies can assist you in locating Section 8 Housing Vouchers and Apply for Housing Assistance.  AT NO TIME SHOULD ANYONE CHARGE YOU A FEE TO APPLY FOR PUBLIC HOUSING ASSISTANCE.