Understanding Section 8

January 1, 1970

Created to help low-income, elderly, and disabled households afford decent, safe and sanitary private housing, the Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP), commonly known as Section 8, provides a federally-funded subsidy to eligible families, paying for all or a portion of their rent and utilities costs.

Why we offer Section 8

Created to help low-income, elderly, and disabled households afford decent, safe and sanitary private housing, the Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP), commonly known as Section 8, provides a federally-funded subsidy to eligible families, paying for all or a portion of their rent and utility costs. The Program provides not only significant benefits to these families but also an opportunity for those landlords who chose to participate to potentially make their property more profitable. Granite City Real Estate offers a variety of housing options that accept Section 8 vouchers.

Unfortunately, the process of application, approval, and compliance with the Program (for both property Management Company and tenant) is confusing and complicated, often causing people to look elsewhere for seemingly easier opportunities. This article will clarify the confusing, and simplify the complicated, discussing:

One quick note: Section 8 is most commonly thought of as assisting low-income families to pay their rent, but it also provides rent subsidies for elderly and disabled families, and can even assist eligible households with the purchase of a home.

How Does Section 8 Work?

The Program is administered by HUD and local public housing agencies (PHAs) under contract with HUD.

The Program issues vouchers, or subsidies, to qualified households to be used to pay all or a portion of the household’s housing costs, consisting of rent and utilities. The PHA pays the voucher amount directly to the rental property owner. If the total housing costs are more than the voucher amount, then the household must pay the difference.

While the concept is fairly straightforward, the complexities arise in determining if a household is eligible for the Program, how it applies to the vouchers, what is a reasonable rent in the PHA’s area, how much of that rent should be paid by the subsidy and how much by the household, and on and on.

Eligibility Requirements

Included in all applications is the information necessary to determine if a household is eligible for HCPV assistance. To be eligible, households are required to:

  • Have a household income of 50% or less of the area median income.
  • Be U.S. citizens or non-citizens who have eligible immigration status.
  • Be in good standing with federal housing Programs (e.g., no evictions from public housing or fraud in connection with a federal housing Program), and
  • Satisfy all other criteria a PHA has included in its Administrative Plan.

While a PHA doesn’t have to perform special screenings of applicants (e.g., rental history, credit history, criminal background), some PHAs require that all applicants pass such screenings. Others leave the screening process to landlords.

Although the program included in Section 8 is much more complex then what can be described in this blog post we encourage others to see the how both residents and property owners can benefit from HCV Program.

Granite City Real Estate welcomes all tenants included in the HCV Program and offers multiple units that welcome Section 8 Vouchers. Granite City Real Estate focuses on accommodating our residents' needs which include offering a wide variety of apartments based on your preferences for location, amenities, and pricing.

If you are interested in applying for an apartment managed by Granite City Real Estate, visit our apartment listings page for further property reviews.