What is Section 8? What are Housing Choice Vouchers?
In practice, the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program will pay the balance of a rent payment that exceeds 30% of a renters monthly income. The rental unit must be inspected and approved by the local housing authority and the rental amount must be at or below the Fair Market Rent set by HUD.
The program is administered by your local housing authority. Each housing authority has different preferences and requirements based on their service areas affordable housing needs. You should contact your local housing authority for specific details on how to qualify and apply for the Section 8 Housing Choice voucher program.
Technically, it is language located in section 201 of Title 2 of Public Law 93-383, also known as the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974. This law, amended the Housing Act of 1937, the second piece of housing legislation in America's history (the first being The Housing Act of 1934, part of Roosevelt's New Deal).
The 1974 law created a brand new housing assistance program (page 30 of the PDF) "Low Income Housing Assistance" that helped renters pay their rent at privately owned rental properties.
In recent years, due to Federal budget controls, the Section 8 or Housing Choice Voucher Program as it now officially called, has not seen funding increase to meet demand. For this reason, waiting lists for the assistance are long in most areas of the country with waiting lists taking several years to flush.