Section 8 and Public Housing Authorities (PHAs)
- A general overview
The Section 8, or Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP) is the federal government's
program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing
in the private market.
The most common type of Section 8 housing assistance is the tenant-based rental assistance. The participant
is free to choose any housing that meets the requirements of the program and is not limited to units located in subsidized
form of Section 8 assistance is the low-income public housing program (project-based), which provides low-rent units
for low-income families and individuals. While it may be easier to get into this program, participants
are limited to a supply of houses designated by the PHA.
The last program under the HCVP is the homeownership program.
In this program, if authorized by the PHA, a family may use its voucher to purchase a modest home. These
participants need to have held a rental voucher from that PHA for at least one year in good standing to be eligible for the
apply for Section 8 assistance, one must apply at a local PHA. PHAs differ greatly in their policies on
handling applications. Some have year-round sign-up for their waiting lists; others have short enrollment
periods; and still others distribute vouchers through a one-day lottery system. You will have to
contact individual PHAs to find out how they treat their waiting lists.
PHAs may establish local preferences for selecting applicants from its waiting
list. For example, PHAs 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. Each PHA has the discretion to establish local
preferences to reflect the housing needs and priorities of its particular community. NOTE: A housing provider
must make reasonable accommodations for the applicant with special needs.
Eligibility for a housing voucher is determined by the
PHA 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, a PHA must provide 75 percent of its voucher to applicants
whose incomes do not exceed 30 percent of the area median income.
Securing the Section 8 vouchers can be difficult, but possible.
For people with special needs on low-incomes, the public housing subsidy is an essential component for living independently
in quality, affordable housing of their choice.
Many Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) throughout Colorado offer the Section
8 Homeownership (Housing Choice Voucher) Program. The organizations that currently participate in the Section
8 Homeownership Program are listed below. If you receive a Section 8 voucher from a PHA that is not participating,
the HERO Alliance encourages you to contact them and let them know you are intertested in homeownership. Everyone
deserves the right to homeownership if the are able