The HUD Housing Choice
Voucher Program (formerly the Section 8 Program) is the federal government's
major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the
disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market.
Since housing assistance is provided on behalf of the family or individual,
participants are able to find their own housing, including single-family homes,
townhouses and apartments.
The participant is free to choose any housing
that meets the requirements of the program and is not limited to units located
in subsidized housing projects.
Housing choice vouchers are administered
locally by public housing agencies (PHAs). The PHAs receive federal funds from
the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to administer the
A family that is issued a housing voucher is responsible
for finding a suitable housing unit of the family's choice where the owner
agrees to rent under the program. This unit may include the family's present
residence. Rental units must meet minimum standards of health and safety, as
determined by the PHA.
A housing subsidy is paid to the landlord directly
by the PHA on behalf of the participating family. The family then pays the
difference between the actual rent charged by the landlord and the amount
subsidized by the program. Under certain circumstances, if authorized by the
PHA, a family may use its voucher to purchase a modest home.