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The Maxwell Drever Guide to Finding Affordable Housing under Section 8

The aim of the Section 8 program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to make available low-cost private sector housing to the lower-income groups says Maxwell Drever. The program also allows landlords to let out their residential units to low-income people without compromising their income. Already, around two million families, most of them earning less than $20,000 per year, live in Section 8 housing with the help of government subsidies. However, as may be appreciated, given the housing crisis in America, it can be tough to find a decent unit. Knowing the details of the Section 8 program can help you to find suitable accommodation.

Section 8 Housing Program In Brief

Section 8 is a Department of Urban Housing and Development program administered by the various local Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) to benefit low-income people needing assistance with their rent payments. To qualify, you need to be an American citizen or possess an eligible immigration status and earn less than certain benchmark income figures calculated for your specific area. The aim of Section 8 is to provide decent, safe, and hygienic housing under a community development program under a subsidy scheme that recognizes many people do not earn enough to afford suitable accommodation says Maxwell Drever.

Section 8 Eligibility 

Currently, 75% of the subsidy vouchers are claimed by people earning less than 30% of the median income of their areas. Your combined household income for all members of your family must be under the limit specified for Section 8 eligibility. Since the limit varies according to the area, it is helpful to use an online tool available on HUD.gov. To discover the income limits applicable in your area. The benefit of Section 8 housing is that you pay a maximum of 30% of your income towards rent. Any excess rent is paid to the landlord with Section 8 vouchers issued by the local PHA. Other things other than gross income included in the eligibility norms are citizenship status. Criminal and eviction history, family size, and status. Working with your PHA is the best way of determining your eligibility, advises Maxwell Drever.

Long Wait Time

You do not get a housing voucher just because you are eligible. According to HUD estimates, only a quarter of the eligible actually receives the housing vouchers. Even then, reaching the end of the waiting list can take several years. The time taken depends on the dynamics of availability and demand for affordable housing in your area. The PHA has absolute authority over the waiting list and issuance of vouchers. If the list becomes too large, they may close applications. It is why you must verify you are on the list after submitting your application. You can send an email or log into the website of the program.


Recipients of housing vouchers get up to 90 days to find accommodation. That is decent, safe, hygienic, and passes the PHA inspection. It is better to decide on the kind of apartment or unit you want, taking into account. Multiple factors like the rent amount, location, safety, amenities and facilities. And the attributes of the community to make your search more productive.

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