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Section 8 of the Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. § 1437f), often called Section 8, as repeatedly amended, authorizes the payment of rental housing assistance to private landlords on behalf of low-income households in the United States. Fort Lauderdale, Florida Housing Authority Director William H. Lindsey, upon the advice of Housing Authority attorney J. Richard Smith, initially developed 11(b) financing in the early 1970s to accommodate a local savings and loan interested in assisting with urban renewal projects Mr. Lindsey eventually brought to fruition. This was the initial impetus for the subsequent development of the now well known Section 8 Program. Of the 5.2 million American Households that received rental assistance in 2018, approximately 1.2 million of those households received a Section 8-based voucher.[1] 68% of total rental assistance in the United States goes to seniors, children, and those with disabilities.[1] The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development manages Section 8 programs.[2]

The Housing Choice Voucher Program provides "tenant-based" rental assistance, so a tenant can move from one unit of at least minimum housing quality to another. Landlords are not required to participate in the voucher program. Some states have laws that prevent landlords from discriminating based on 'source of income'. These laws are not applicable in all areas, and the program remains voluntary in most places.[3] The program also allows individuals to apply their monthly voucher towards the purchase of a home, with over $17 billion going towards such purchases each year.[citation needed] Voucher amounts vary depending on city or county, size of unit, and other factors.[4] Once individuals receive a voucher they have a limited amount of time to find a unit with a willing landlord that meets HUD housing standards. There are often long wait lists for Section 8 vouchers.[5]

Voucher amounts are based on Fair Market Rents (FMRs) calculated in the area by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).[6] Recently, a Small Area Fair Market Rents (SAFMRs) program was established to reduce the area that rents are based on to the area of zip codes in major metropolitan areas.[7]

Section 8 also authorizes a variety of "project-based" rental assistance programs, under which the owner reserves some or all of the units in a building for low-income tenants in return for a federal government guarantee to make up the difference between the tenant's contribution and the rent amount in the owner's contract with the government. A tenant who leaves a subsidized project will lose access to the project-based subsidy.

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have created a program called Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH), or HUD-VASH, which distributes roughly 10,000 vouchers per year at a cost of roughly $75 million per year to eligible homeless and otherwise vulnerable U.S. armed forces veterans.[8] This program was created to pair HUD-funded vouchers with VA-funded services such as health care, counseling, and case management.[9]

History

Federal housing assistance programs started during the Great Depression. In the 1960s and 1970s, the federal government created subsidy programs to increase the production of low-income housing and to help families pay their rent. In 1965, the Section 236 Leased Housing Program amended the U.S. Housing Act. This subsidy program, the predecessor to the modern program, was not a pure housing allowance program. Housing authorities selected eligible families from their waiting list, placed them in housing from a master list of available units, and determined the rent that tenants would have to pay. The housing authority would then sign a lease with the private landlord and pay the difference between the tenant's rent and the market rate for the same size unit. In the agreement with the private landlord, housing authorities agreed to perform regular building maintenance and leasing functions for Section 236 tenants, and annually reviewed the tenant's income for program eligibility and rent calculations.

The Housing and Urban Development Act of 1970 introduced the federal Experimental Housing Allowance Program (EHAP) and the Community Development Corporation and authorized larger outlays for housing subsidy programs and rent supplements for moderate-income households.[10][11]

In the 1970s, when studies showed that the worst housing problem afflicting low-income people was no longer substandard housing, but the high percentage of income spent on housing, Congress passed the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, further amending the U.S. Housing Act of 1937 to create the Section 8 Program. In the Section 8 Program, tenants pay about 30 percent of their income for rent, while the rest of the rent is paid with federal money.

The Section 8 program initially had three subprograms—New Construction, Substantial Rehabilitation, and Existing Housing Certificate programs. The Moderate Rehabilitation Program was added in 1978, the Voucher Program in 1983, and the Project-based Certificate program in 1991. The number of units a local housing authority can subsidize under its Section 8 programs is determined by Congressional funding. Since its inception, some Section 8 programs have been phased out and new ones created, although Congress has always renewed existing subsidies.

The 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act (Public Law 110-161) enacted December 26, 2007, allocated $75 million funding for the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) voucher program, authorized under section 8(o)(19) of the United States Housing Act of 1937. This new program combines HUD Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance for homeless veterans with case management and clinical service support which is provided by Veterans Affairs administration at its own medical centers and also in the community.[12]

Summary

The main Section 8 program involves the voucher program. A voucher may be either "project-based"—where its use is limited to a specific apartment complex (public housing agencies (PHAs) may reserve up to 20% of its vouchers as such[13])—or "tenant-based", where the tenant is free to choose a unit in the private sector, is not limited to specific complexes, and may reside anywhere in the United States (including Puerto Rico) where a PHA operates a Section 8 program.[citation needed]

Under the voucher program, individuals or families with a voucher find and lease a unit (either in a specified complex or in the private sector) and pay a portion of the rent. Most households pay 30% of their adjusted income for Section 8 housing. Adjusted income is a household's gross (total) income minus deductions for dependents under 18 years of age, full-time students, disabled persons, or an elderly household, and certain disability assistance and medical expenses.[14]

There is an asset test in addition to earned income. Over a certain amount, HUD will add income even if the Section 8 tenant does not receive any interest income from, for example, a bank account.[15][16] HUD calls this "imputed income from assets" and, in the case of a bank account, HUD establishes a standard "Passbook Savings Rate" to calculate the imputed income from the asset.[17][18] By increasing the amount of a tenant's total income, the amount of imputed income from assets may affect a tenant's assigned portion of rent.[3] The program also allows individuals to apply their monthly voucher towards the purchase of a home, with over $17 billion going towards such purchases each year.[citation needed] Voucher amounts vary depending on city or county, size of unit, and other factors.[4] Once individuals receive a voucher they have a limited amount of time to find a unit with a willing landlord that meets HUD housing standards. There are often long wait lists for Section 8 vouchers.[5]

Voucher amounts are based on Fair Market Rents (FMRs) calculated in the area by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).[6] Recently, a Small Area Fair Market Rents (SAFMRs) program was established to reduce the area that rents are based on to the area of zip codes in major metropolitan areas.[7]

Section 8 also authorizes a variety of "project-based" rental assistance programs, under which the owner reserves some or all of the units in a building for low-income tenants in return for a federal government guarantee to make up the difference between the tenant's contribution and the rent amount in the owner's contract with the government. A tenant who leaves a subsidized project will lose access to the project-based subsidy.

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have created a program called Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH), or HUD-VASH, which distributes roughly 10,000 vouchers per year at a cost of roughly $75 million per year to eligible homeless and otherwise vulnerable U.S. armed forces veterans.[8] This program was created to pair HUD-funded vouchers with VA-funded services such as health care, counseling, and case management.[9]

Federal housing assistance programs started during the Great Depression. In the 1960s and 1970s, the federal government created subsidy programs to increase the production of low-income housing and to help families pay their rent. In 1965, the Section 236 Leased Housing Program amended the U.S. Housing Act. This subsidy program, the predecessor to the modern program, was not a pure housing allowance program. Housing authorities selected eligible families from their waiting list, placed them in housing from a master list of available units, and determined the rent that tenants would have to pay. The housing authority would then sign a lease with the private landlord and pay the difference between the tenant's rent and the market rate for the same size unit. In the agreement with the private landlord, housing authorities agreed to perform regular building maintenance and leasing functions for Section 236 tenants, and annually reviewed the tenant's income for program eligibility and rent calculations.

The Housing and Urban Development Act of 1970 introduced the federal Experimental Housing Allowance Program (EHAP) and the Community Development Corporation and authorized larger outlays for housing subsidy programs and rent supplements for moderate-income households.[10][11]

In the 1970s, when studies showed that the worst housing problem afflicting low-income people was no longer substandard housing, but the high percentage of income spent on housing, Congress passed the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, further amending the U.S. Housing Act of 1937 to create the Section 8 Program. In the Section 8 Program, tenants pay about 30 percent of their income for rent, while the rest of the rent is paid with federal money.

The Section 8 program initially had three subprograms—New Construction, Substantial Rehabilitation, and Existing Housing Certificate programs. The Moderate Rehabilitation Program was added in 1978, the Voucher Program in 1983, and the Project-based Certificate program in 1991. The number of units a local housing authority can subsidize under its Section 8 programs is determined by Congressional funding. Since its inception, some Section 8 programs have been phased out and new ones created, although Congress has always renewed existing subsidies.

The 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act (Public Law 110-161) enacted December 26, 2007, allocated $75 million funding for the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) voucher program, authorized under section 8(o)(19) of the United States Housing Act of 1937. This new program combines HUD Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance for homeless veterans with case management and clinical service support which is provided by Veterans Affairs administration at its own medical centers and also in the community.[12]

Summary

The main Section 8 program involves the voucher program. A voucher may be either "pr

The Housing and Urban Development Act of 1970 introduced the federal Experimental Housing Allowance Program (EHAP) and the Community Development Corporation and authorized larger outlays for housing subsidy programs and rent supplements for moderate-income households.[10][11]

In the 1970s, when studies showed that the worst housing problem afflicting low-income people was no longer substandard housing, but the high percentage of income spent on housing, Congress passed the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, further amending the U.S. Housing Act of 1937 to create the Section 8 Program. In the Section 8 Program, tenants pay about 30 percent of their income for rent, while the rest of the rent is paid with federal money.

The Section 8 program initially had three subprograms—New Construction, Substantial Rehabilitation, and Existing Housing Certificate programs. The Moderate Rehabilitation Program was added in 1978, the Voucher Program in 1983, and the Project-based Certificate program in 1991. The number of units a local housing authority can subsidize under its Section 8 programs is determined by Congressional funding. Since its inception, some Section 8 programs have been phased out and new ones created, although Congress has always renewed existing subsidies.

The 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act (Public Law 110-161) enacted December 26, 2007, allocated $75 million funding for the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) voucher program, authorized under section 8(o)(19) of the United States Housing Act of 1937. This new program combines HUD Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance for homeless veterans with case management and clinical service support which is provided by Veterans Affairs administration at its own medical centers and also in the community.[12]

The main Section 8 program involves the voucher program. A voucher may be either "project-based"—where its use is limited to a specific apartment complex (public housing agencies (PHAs) may reserve up to 20% of its vouchers as such[13])—or "tenant-based", where the tenant is free to choose a unit in the private sector, is not limited to specific complexes, and may reside anywhere in the United States (including Puerto Rico) where a PHA operates a Section 8 program.[citation needed]

Under the voucher program, individuals or families with a voucher find and lease a unit (either in a specified complex or in the private sector) and pay a portion of the rent. Most households pay 30% of their adjusted income for Section 8 housing. Adjusted income is a household's gross (total) income mi

Under the voucher program, individuals or families with a voucher find and lease a unit (either in a specified complex or in the private sector) and pay a portion of the rent. Most households pay 30% of their adjusted income for Section 8 housing. Adjusted income is a household's gross (total) income minus deductions for dependents under 18 years of age, full-time students, disabled persons, or an elderly household, and certain disability assistance and medical expenses.[14]

There is an asset test in addition to earned income. Over a certain amount, HUD will add income even if the Section 8 tenant does not receive any interest income from, for example, a bank account.[15][16] HUD calls this "imputed income from assets" and, in the case of a bank account, HUD establishes a standard "Passbook Savings Rate" to calculate the imputed income from the asset.[17][18] By increasing the amount of a tenant's total income, the amount of imputed income from assets may affect a tenant's assigned portion of rent.[citation needed]

The PHA pays the landlord the remainder of the rent. Each year, the federal government looks at the rents being charged for privately owned apartments in different communities, as well as the costs of utilities (heat, electricity, etc.) in those communities. The Fair Market Rents (FMRs) are amounts (rents plus utilities) for medium-quality apartments of different sizes in a particular community.[14] As an example, 2012 FMR for 1 bedroom housing in San Francisco is $1,522 and in New York is $1,280, while in many other places it is less than $500.[19]

The landlord cannot charge a Section 8 tenant more than a reasonable rent and cannot accept payments outside the contract.[20]

Landlords, although required to meet fair housing laws, are not required to participate in the Section 8 program. As a result, some landlords will not accept a Section 8 tenant. This can be attributed to such factors as:

Depending on state laws, refusing to rent to a tenant solely for the reason that they have Section 8 may be illegal.[23] Landlords can use only general means of disqualifying a tenant (credit, criminal history, past evictions, etc.). It also may be illegal to post "No Section 8" advertisements.[24]

However, other landlords willingly accept Section 8 tenants, due to: