Livingstone Partners
PO Box 7732
New York, New York 10150

Tel: +1 716 213 6490
Fax: +1 646 707 0365

Section 8 Housing Programs

What is Section 8?

The Section 8 Rental Voucher Program is the United States government’s low-income housing assistance program. It began in 1975 as a way to assist low-income families, elderly people and people with disabilities to rent decent, safe, and affordable housing in the community.

The program increases affordable housing choices by allowing families to choose privately owned rental housing.

Eligible families are subject to statutory income limits based on median wages for the area. The families receive a rental subsidy equal to the difference between their share of the rent (typically 30% of monthly income) and the fair market rent for the area, which is determined by the local Public Housing Authority (“PHA”).

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The Section 8 program receives the majority of its funding from the federal government under the office of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD spends in excess of $17bn annually on the Section 8 program, which assists over 1.4 million households in the United States.

By comparison, the UK spends approximately $6bn in subsidized housing annually.

What are the benefits of Section 8 for Landlords?

  • Public housing authority conducts strict employment and background checks on prospective tenants.
  • Stringent tenancy behaviour requirements protect the landlord.
  • Significant waiting list (estimated at four years in Buffalo) ensures large pool of prospective tenants.
  • Rental subsidies are paid to landlord by direct deposit from the PHA which minimizes non-payment risk.
  • Section 8 recipients are typically in stable, local employment and as result they are generally long term tenants.
  • Section 8 provides an online marketing portal for properties, which helps minimize placement costs and vacancy times.
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