Section 8 is a federal housing program that provides rental assistance to low-income households and elderly residents by allowing them to rent privately owned housing. The most common Section 8 assistance is the voucher program known as “Housing Choice Vouchers”. The program is tenant-based and provides rent subsidies in the form of certificates or vouchers. The subsidies are generally equivalent to the difference between 30 percent of a household’s adjusted income and fair market rent. Local housing authorities pay the property owners the remaining rent under the administration and regulation the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The key element in the program is the portability of the vouchers. The assistance stays with the family anywhere they choose to live (assuming the landlord participates in the program) in the United States and Puerto Rico.
Subsidized rental units must meet federal Housing Quality Standards which set acceptable conditions for interior living space, building exterior, heating and plumbing systems, and general health and safety.This ensures that the family has a healthy and safe place to live. Public Housing Authorities inspect each unit annually according to federal guidelines and administer “family obligations” which are aimed at supporting community standards including safety and appearance.