Section 8 Voucher Program (Rental Payment Assistance Program)
WE ARE NOT ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR SECTION 8 HOUSING AT THIS TIME.
What are housing choice vouchers?
The housing choice voucher program is the federal government's major program for
assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford
decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market. Since housing
assistance is provided on behalf of the family or individual, participants are
able to find their own housing, including single-family homes, townhouses and
The participant is free to choose any housing that meets the requirements of the
program and is not limited to units located in subsidized housing projects.
Housing choice vouchers are administered locally us. MCHA receive federal funds from the U.S. Department of
Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to administer the voucher program.
A family that is issued a housing voucher is responsible for finding a suitable
housing unit of the family's choice where the owner agrees to rent under the
program. This unit may include the family's present residence. Rental units must
meet minimum standards of health and safety, as determined by us.
A housing subsidy is paid to the landlord directly by MCHA on behalf of the
participating family. The family then pays the difference between the actual
rent charged by the landlord and the amount subsidized by the program. Under
certain circumstances, if authorized by MCHA, a family may use its voucher to
purchase a modest home.
Am I eligible?
Eligibility for a housing voucher is determined by MCHA based on the total
annual gross income and family size and is limited to US citizens and specified
categories of non-citizens who have eligible immigration status. In general, the
family's income may not exceed 50% of the median income for the county or
metropolitan area in which the family chooses to live. By law, MCHA must
provide 75 percent of its voucher to applicants whose incomes do not exceed 30
percent of the area median income. Median income levels are published by HUD and
vary by location. MCHA can provide you with the income
limits for your area and family size.
During the application process, MCHA will collect information on family
income, assets, and family composition. MCHA will verify this information
with other local agencies, your employer and bank, and will use the information
to determine program eligibility and the amount of the housing assistance
If MCHA determines that your family is eligible, MCHA will put your name
on a waiting list, unless it is able to assist you immediately. Once your name
is reached on the waiting list, MCHA will contact you and issue to you a
How do I apply?
If you are interested in applying for a voucher, contact our Section 8 Department.
Local preferences and waiting list - what are they and how do they affect me?
Since the demand for housing assistance often exceeds the limited resources
available to HUD and the local housing agencies, long waiting periods are
common. In fact, MCHA may close its waiting list when it has more families on
the list than can be assisted in the near future.
MCHA may establish local preferences for selecting applicants from its waiting
list. For example, MCHA may give a preference to a family who is (1) homeless or
living in substandard housing, (2) paying more than 50% of its income for rent,
or (3) involuntarily displaced. Families who qualify for any such local
preferences move ahead of other families on the list who do not qualify for any
preference. MCHA has the discretion to establish local preferences to
reflect the housing needs and priorities of its particular community.
Housing vouchers - how do they function?
The housing choice voucher program places the choice of housing in the hands of
the individual family. A very low-income family is selected by MCHA to
participate is encouraged to consider several housing choices to secure the best
housing for the family needs. A housing voucher holder is advised of the unit
size for which it is eligible based on family size and composition.
The housing unit selected by the family must meet an acceptable level of health
and safety before MCHA can approve the unit. When the voucher holder finds a
unit that it wishes to occupy and reaches an agreement with the landlord over
the lease terms, MCHA must inspect the dwelling and determine that the rent
requested is reasonable.
MCHA determines a payment standard that is the amount generally needed to
rent a moderately-priced dwelling unit in the local housing market and that is
used to calculate the amount of housing assistance a family will receive.
However the payment standard does not limit and does not affect the amount of
rent a landlord may charge or the family may pay. A family which receives a
housing voucher can select a unit with a rent that is below or above the payment
standard. The housing voucher family must pay 30% of its monthly adjusted gross
income for rent and utilities, and if the unit rent is greater than the payment
standard the family is required to pay the additional amount. By law, whenever a
family moves to a new unit where the rent exceeds the payment standard, the
family may not pay more than 40 percent of its adjusted monthly income for rent.
The rent subsidy
MCHA calculates the maximum amount of housing assistance allowable. The
maximum housing assistance is generally the lesser of the payment standard minus
30% of the family's monthly adjusted income or the gross rent for the unit minus
30% of monthly adjusted income
Can I move and continue to receive housing choice voucher assistance?
A family's housing needs change over time with changes in family size, job
locations, and for other reasons. The housing choice voucher program is designed
to allow families to move without the loss of housing assistance. Moves are
permissible as long as the family notifies MCHA ahead of time, terminates its
existing lease within the lease provisions, and finds acceptable alternate
Under the voucher program, new voucher-holders may choose a unit anywhere in the
United States if the family lived in the jurisdiction of MCHA issuing the
voucher when the family applied for assistance. Those new voucher-holders not
living in the jurisdiction of MCHA at the time the family applied for housing
assistance must initially lease a unit within that jurisdiction for the first
twelve months of assistance. A family that wishes to move to another PHA's
jurisdiction must consult with the PHA that currently administers its housing
assistance to verify the procedures for moving.
Roles - the tenant, the landlord, the housing agency and HUD
Once a PHA approves an eligible family's housing unit, the family and the
landlord sign a lease and, at the same time, the landlord and the PHA sign a
housing assistance payments contract that runs for the same term as the lease.
This means that everyone -- tenant, landlord and PHA -- has obligations and
responsibilities under the voucher program.
Tenant's Obligations: When a family selects a housing unit, and MCHA approves
the unit and lease, the family signs a lease with the landlord for at least one
year. The tenant may be required to pay a security deposit to the landlord.
After the first year the landlord may initiate a new lease or allow the family
to remain in the unit on a month-to-month lease.
When the family is settled in a new home, the family is expected to comply with
the lease and the program requirements, pay its share of rent on time, maintain
the unit in good condition and notify the PHA of any changes in income or family
Landlord's Obligations: The role of the landlord in the voucher program is to
provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing to a tenant at a reasonable rent. The
dwelling unit must pass the program's housing quality standards and be
maintained up to those standards as long as the owner receives housing
assistance payments. In addition, the landlord is expected to provide the
services agreed to as part of the lease signed with the tenant and the contract
signed with the PHA.
MCHA's Obligations: MCHA provides a family with the housing assistance that enables the
family to seek out suitable housing and the PHA enters into a contract with the
landlord to provide housing assistance payments on behalf of the family. If the
landlord fails to meet the owner's obligations under the lease, MCHA has the
right to terminate assistance payments. MCHA reexamine the family's
income and composition at least annually and must inspect each unit at least
annually to ensure that it meets minimum housing quality standards.