What is the Housing Choice Voucher Program?

Housing Choice Voucher Program

Section 8 housing, also known as the Housing Choice Voucher Program, is a federal program that provides assistance to low-income individuals and families to help them afford safe and decent housing. The program is administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and is funded by the federal government.

Who is Eligible for Section 8 Housing?

Eligibility for Section 8 housing, is determined by a number of factors, including income, family size, and certain special categories such as veterans or individuals with disabilities.

In general, to be eligible for the program, a family's income must be below a certain level, which is set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and varies depending on the area in which the family lives. The exact income limits will depend on the median income in the area, and may change periodically.

Families who are eligible for other forms of public assistance, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), may also be eligible for Section 8 housing.

Additionally, HUD sets aside a certain percentage of vouchers for families who are experiencing homelessness, or are at risk of becoming homeless.

It is important to note that, while the eligibility criteria are set by HUD, the program is administered by local housing agencies, and the specifics of eligibility will depend on the policies of the specific agency.

What is the Voucher Used For?

The voucher is used to pay a portion of the rent, with the family paying the remainder. The amount of the voucher is based on the family's income and the fair market rent for the area in which they live. The voucher can be used to rent a unit in any area, as long as the landlord agrees to participate in the program.

Benefits of the Housing Choice Voucher Program

One of the key benefits of the Section 8 program is that it allows families to choose where they want to live. They are not limited to specific developments or buildings, and can find a place that meets their needs and preferences. Additionally, the program can help families to move to better neighborhoods with better schools and job opportunities.

Another benefit of the program is that it helps to stabilize families and improve their economic stability. By having a stable place to live, families are better able to focus on other important issues such as education and employment. Additionally, the program can help to reduce the number of homeless families, and can lead to better health outcomes for children and adults.

Despite its many benefits, the Section 8 program does have some limitations. The program is often underfunded, which means that there are not enough vouchers available to meet the needs of all eligible families. Additionally, some landlords may be reluctant to participate in the program, which can make it difficult for families to find a place to live.


In conclusion, the Section 8 housing program is a vital federal program that helps low-income families to afford safe and decent housing. It allows families to choose where they want to live, which can lead to better neighborhoods and better opportunities. However, the program is often underfunded, which limits its effectiveness in meeting the needs of all eligible families. Despite these limitations, the Section 8 program continues to be an important resource for many low-income families in the United States.