Section 8 Voucher FAQ
What is the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program?
The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program is one of the federal government’s largest programs for helping lower income families obtain decent, safe, and sanitary housing. In the HCV Program MHRA provides you with financial assistance so you can afford an apartment owned by a private landlord, offering families freedom of choice in finding a suitable unit within the local area.
How much assistance will I get?
If MHRA determines that you are eligible for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, it provides a document that says you are eligible to receive a certain amount of rental assistance each month. The amount of rental assistance that you receive depends upon your income and is intended to limit your portion of the rent payment to about 30% of your monthly income.
You may use your Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher assistance for your current apartment or move to another apartment. In either case, the landlord must be willing to sign a contract with MHRA and the apartment must meet a set of program standards (called the Uniform Physical Condition Standards) as well as local housing codes. The owner may check references to see if you are likely to be a responsible resident.
Before you receive rental assistance, MHRA staff will fully explain what you should look for in an apartment under the program.
What information will I have to provide? Am I eligible?
As with the Public Housing Program, all of the information that you provide about your income will be carefully checked with employers, banks, and other sources of income before you are found to be eligible.
Former recipients of federal housing assistance who left a program owing back rent or other charges must pay the balance owed before being considered for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program.
A history of drug and/or alcohol related or violent criminal activity which might threaten the health, safety or peaceful existence of others may be grounds for disqualification from Section 8 Program eligibility.
To apply for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, print the pre-application, fill it out, sign it and return it to MHRA.
Are vouchers used only to help cover rental costs?
No. Vouchers are sometimes used to help with mortgage payments, enabling low-income families to purchase homes. Also, up to 20 percent of vouchers can be tied to a particular building rather than a particular family and thus can help pay for the construction or rehabilitation of housing for low-income families; such vouchers are called “project-based” vouchers.