Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers

The Housing and Community Development (HCD) Act of 1974 created a new federally assisted housing program – the Section 8 existing certificate program. The HCD Act represented a significant shift in federal housing strategy from locally owned public housing to privately owned rental housing.

Under the Certificate program, federal housing assistance payments are made directly to private owners of rental housing, who then make housing available to lower-income families. Eligible families are able to select housing in the private rental market assuming that the housing meets certain basic physical standards of quality and is within certain HUD-established rent limitations.

Family contribution to rent is generally set at 30 percent of the family’s adjusted income, with the remainder of the rent paid by the program.

Another unique feature of the certificate program is that the rental assistance remains with the eligible family. If the family chooses to move to another privately owned rental unit which meets the program requirements, the rental assistance remains with the family.

This is characterized as tenant based assistance, rather than unit based assistance.

The Housing and Community Development Act of 1987 authorized a new version of tenant-based assistance – the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program. The Voucher program is very similar to the Certificate program in that the eligible families are able to select housing in the private rental market and receive assistance in that housing unit.

The Voucher program permits families more options in housing selection and the family contribution to rent is not set at a limit of 30 percent of adjusted income.

Depending in the actual rental cost of the unit selected, a family might pay more or less than 30 percent of their adjusted income for rent.

Eligibility Criteria: The AMHA is responsible for ensuring that every individual and family admitted to the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program meets all program eligibility requirements. This includes any individual approved to join the family after the family has been admitted to the program. The family must provide any information needed by the AMHA to confirm eligibility and determine the level of the family’s assistance.

To be eligible for the HCV program the applicant family must:

Qualify as a family defined by HUD and the AMHA, have income at or below HUD-specified income limits, qualify on the basis of citizenship or the eligible immigrant status of family members, provide social security number information for family members as required and consent to the AMHA’s collection and use of family information as provided for in the AMHA provided consent forms.

The AMHA must determine that the current or past behavior of household members does not include activities that are prohibited by HUD or the AMHA

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