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ABOUT SECTION 8 HOUSING
In response to the lack of affordable housing for many Americans, the federal government instituted several assistance programs related to housing during the Great Depression. The Section 8 program (in reference to the section of the Housing Act of 1937, where the program got its origins) or the Housing Choice Voucher Program as it’s officially called, is provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (or HUD). The main idea behind the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program is to provide low-income families and individuals with affordable housing without sacrificing the quality of living or their safety.
In order to fully understand the Section 8 program, there are some things that you have to know. First of all, Section 8 tenants have to pay rent in the amount that will not exceed 30% of their income, and the rest of the money will be paid directly to the landlord by the Housing Authority. Also, the portion of the rent covered by the Housing Authority is limited by FMR or what is called a “Fair Market Rent”. The “Fair Market Rent” is determined based on 3 important factors — 1) geographic area 2) rental unit’s size and 3) which side is responsible for utility bills — and is set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
There are many benefits provided to both the landlord and the section 8 tenant by Section 8 housing. If a landlord chooses to participate in the Section 8 housing program, he will be required to submit housing quality standards (HQS) to HUD, to make sure that his housing is safe for living, and clean. If you are a tenant participating in the Section 8 Housing program, you will have to follow certain rules or you might permanently lose Section 8 assistance. If all goes well, it’s really a win-win: Low-income individuals and families can live in a safe and clean unit at a price they can afford to pay, and landlords deal with good, responsible tenants who pay their rent on time and don’t cause problems.
Participants are allowed to use 1 of 2 different types of housing vouchers by the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8 program). A “project” based voucher will allow a Section 8 applicant to live in a particular apartment complex, whereas a “tenant” based voucher will allow a Section 8 applicant to live in any unit, in any apartment of his choice. With a “tenant” based voucher, a Section 8 Applicant is also allowed to live anywhere in the U.S. provided a Section 8 program is offered there.