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Encyclopedia > Section 8 (housing)

The Housing Choice Voucher Program is a type of Federal assistance provided by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) dedicated to sponsoring subsidized housing for low-income families and individuals. It is more commonly known as Section 8, the reference to the portion of the U.S. Housing Act in which the program is authorized. In the United States of America, Federal assistance, also known as federal aid, federal benefits, or federal funds, is defined as any federal program, project, service, and activity provided by the U.S. federal government that directly assists or benefits the American public in the areas of education, health, public... The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, often abbreviated HUD, is a Cabinet department of the United States government. ...

Contents

History

Federal housing assistance programs began during the Great Depression to address the country’s housing crisis. In the 1960s and 1970s, the federal government created subsidy programs to increase the production of low-income housing and to help low income families pay their rent. In 1961, the Section 23 Leased Housing Program amended the U.S. Housing Act of 1937. This subsidy program, the predecessor to Section 8, was not a pure housing allowance program. Housing authorities selected eligible families from their waiting list, placed them in housing from a master list of available units, and determined the rent that tenants would have to pay. The housing authority would then sign a lease with the private landlord and pay the difference between the tenant’s rent and the market rate for the same size unit. In the agreement with the private landlord, housing authorities agreed to perform regular building maintenance and leasing functions for Section 23 tenants, and annually reviewed the tenant’s income for program eligibility and rent calculations.. For other uses, see The Great Depression (disambiguation). ... The 1960s decade refers to the years from January 1, 1960 to December 31, 1969, inclusive. ... The 1970s decade refers to the years from 1970 to 1979, also called The Seventies. ...


In the 1970s, when studies showed that the major low income housing crisis was no longer substandard housing, but the high percentage of income spent on housing, Congress passed the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, further amending the U.S. Housing Act of 1937 to create the Section 8 Program. In the Section 8 Program, tenants pay about 30 percent of their income for rent, while the rest of the rent is paid with federal money. The Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 is a United States federal law that, among other provisions, authorizes Entitlement Communities Grants to be awarded by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. ...


The Section 8 program initially had three subprograms — New Construction, Substantial Rehabilitation, and Existing Housing Certificate programs. The Moderate Rehabilitation Program was added in 1978, the Voucher Program in 1983, and the Project-based Certificate program in 1991. The numbers of units a local housing authority can subsidize under its Section 8 programs is determined by Congressional funding. Since its inception, some Section 8 programs have been phased out and new ones created, although Congress has always renewed existing subsidies. Year 1991 (MCMXCI) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the 1991 Gregorian calendar). ...


Summary of the program

Currently, the two main Section 8 programs are tenant-based vouchers and project-based vouchers.


A public housing authority can choose to project-base up to 25% of its total vouchers, meaning that the vouchers are linked to a particular apartment. Eligible families pay 30% of their income while living in the apartment, but cannot take that voucher with them to another complex or private residence. Hong Kong Housing Authority (香港房屋委員會) (HA) is the main provider of public housing in Hong Kong. ...


Under the tenant-based program, eligible families with a certificate or voucher find and lease a unit in the private sector and pay a portion of the rent (based on income, generally around 30%). The local housing authority pays the owner the remaining rent, subject to a cap referred to as "Fair Market Rent" (FMR) which is determined by HUD. The owner cannot charge a Section 8 tenant more than FMR, even if the owner does so for non-Section 8 tenants in similar units.


One of the essential features of the tenant-based voucher is the idea of portability. Tenants can rent anywhere they choose, not limited to specific complexes. Eligible families may in theory move anywhere in the United States (and Puerto Rico) where there is a public housing authority operating a Section 8 program; however, in practice, some jurisdictions are unable or unwilling to take transferred vouchers, primarily due to the differences in the costs of program administration in different housing markets around the country.


In addition, landlords, though required to meet fair housing laws, are not required to participate in the Section 8 program. As a result, some landlords will not accept a Section 8 tenant. This can be attributed to: not wanting the government involved in their business, fear that a Section 8 tenant will not properly maintain the premises or a desire to charge more than FMR for the unit. However, other landlords willingly accept Section 8 tenants, due to the promise of prompt regular payments from the housing authority, and since a tenant under Section 8 can be removed from the program if s/he damages the rental unit or fails to pay his/her rent.


Whether voucher or project-based, all subsidized units must meet federal Housing Quality Standards, thus ensuring that the family has a healthy and safe place to live. This improvement in the housing stock is an important by-product of this program, both for the individual families and for the larger goal of community development.


In many localities, the waiting lists for Section 8 vouchers may be thousands of families long, waits of three to five years to access vouchers are not unusual, and many lists are closed to new applicants.


Families who participate in the program must abide by a series of rules and regulations, often referred to as "family obligations," in order to maintain their voucher, including accurately reporting all changes in household income so the amount of their subsidy can be updated accordingly. In recent years, the HUD Office of the Inspector General has spent more time and money on fraud detection and prevention.


Currently, there are no time limits for family participation in the program, though occasionally reform bills are introduced in Congress that suggest time limiting the program.


See also

Hills v. ... The Chicago Housing Authority is an organization focusing on public housing in the city of Chicago. ... In the United States of America, Federal assistance, also known as federal aid, federal benefits, or federal funds, is defined as any federal program, project, service, and activity provided by the US federal government that directly assists or benefits the American public in the areas of education, health, public safety... A local authority tower block in Cwmbrân, South Wales Public housing or project homes are forms of housing tenure in which the property is owned by a government authority, which may be central or local. ... Section 8 is an American sponsored public housing program divided into two programs, tenant-based and project-based. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Section 8 Housing Program - TDHCA (266 words)
The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program was created by the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974.
If a community is interested in utilizing Section 8, the local unit of government must adopt a resolution agreeing to administer the program in accordance with all applicable rules and regulations.
The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program provides rental assistance payments on behalf of low income individuals and families, including the elderly and persons with disabilities.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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