Interested in Low Income Housing Assistance? See If You Qualify for Section 8 Housing Now (2016 Update)

Section 8 housing grants help low-income families and individuals afford quality housing. Basically Section 8 grants –or vouchers as they are officially called– are federal housing vouchers that pay a portion of your monthly rent cost and do not have to be paid back. The program which serves as the engine of Section 8 is called the Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP).

Public Housing Authorities (PHA) of a local area are in charge of appropriating the vouchers which serve to cover a portion of otherwise unattainable rent. The vouchers are exchanged by landlords for financial compensation. The vouchers allow residents to live in privately-owned units instead of public housing.

Income-based requirements

Poor households are classified into at least three groups. Those classifications are determined by comparing a household’s income to the median income of the surrounding geographic area.



– If a household earns 80% or less of the median income it is considered low-income.
– If a household earns 50% or less of the median income it is considered very low-income.
– If a household earns 30% or less of the median income it is considered extremely low-income.

In order to qualify for Section 8 housing, a household may not exceed the 50% mark, meaning that it must be very low-income or worse. However, according to HUD, 75% of Section 8 housing recipients must fall in the extremely low-income category. The diversity and economic disparity of an area can greatly affect housing eligibility.

Who gets picked?

In many places, especially bustling urban areas, the number of applicants for Section 8 housing can exceed availability. Clearly, those situations require agency officials to make difficult decisions. There are factors which may make one candidate preferred over another.



Some agencies try to focus their efforts on households that spend over 50% of their income on housing. Others may emphasize the importance of quality housing and work to accept applicants whose living arrangements are substandard. Veterans frequently receive preferential treatment. Your local PHA may be able to inform you about their preferences, or advise you on how to increase your chances of being selected.

Citizenship requirement

In order to qualify for Section 8 housing, it is mandatory that you be a legal resident of the United States. For most applicants, their American citizenship will qualify them. Resident aliens and other individuals with permitted immigration statuses may also qualify, however.