Section 8 Housing Application

Are you a United States legal resident? Not making enough money to pay the rent or mortgage? You may just qualify for Section 8 housing assistance or housing choice vouchers. It refers to Section 8 of the Housing Act of 1937, that grants a means of acquiring affordable housing for those who need housing assistance from the government. It may sometimes be hard to apply for government assistance, but understanding if you are eligible and how the process goes can help make it easier.

How does Section 8 housing work

Housing choice vouchers or Section 8 are administered by the local public housing agency (PHA), of which you can find several around the country. The vouchers come as either tenant-based or project-based. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) overlooks the PHAs, and your local PHAs will help you with arranging Section 8 housing assistance.

  • For tenant-based vouchers, the tenant receives a voucher and can move into a unit with a financial housing assistance. If the tenant wishes to move to a different house or apartment, the benefits of the voucher carry over to the next property, allowing continued housing assistance to the resident wherever they choose to live.
  • For project-based vouchers, the tenant receives housing assistance as long as they reside in the property where the housing voucher was issued for. This voucher lasts for a specific time for the specified property. If the resident chooses to move to a different property, the housing assistance is not transferred over to the next property. The individual or household may still, however, be qualified for tenant-based vouchers.

Determine your qualification

Qualifying for Section 8 housing assistance is based on various factors, this includes your household's income, your household's assets, how much is the rent you are paying, the median income in the area, and the composition of your household. Here are some of the eligibility requirements:

  • US citizen or noncitizen who has qualified immigration status
  • the total income of your household is less than 50% of the median income for the location where you choose to live
  • the household meets all other criteria based on family composition and assets

Note that many of the Section 8 beneficiaries are earning closer to 30% of the median income for the area where the household has chosen to live. This is because the public housing agency must grant 75% of the vouchers to households who are earning lower than 30% of the median income.


Gather pay stubs from your employer which verifies your salary, and either your lease information or written document from your landlord which authenticates your current rent. These documents will help you in applying for housing vouchers.

Identify which voucher you need

HUD grants housing assistance to both leaseholders and homeowners. Apply for tenant vouchers if you are renting the property where you are currently living. Complete the property voucher application if you prefer financial assistance with paying the mortgage for the home, a condominium, or townhouse that you own. There are some cases in which the Section 8 vouchers are used to buy a modest house and help make mortgage payments.

Time to apply for vouchers

Look for the local PHA and contact them to start your application process. There are some locations where the application can be done online.