What is the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program?

Photo of single family home with "For Rent" sign posted. Photo by Adobe Stock

Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) rental assistance is a federal program for low-income renters in the United States. It is administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Section 8 vouchers allow tenants to pay only a portion of their monthly income for rent. But that’s not the only benefit — Section 8 tenants can rent from a private landlord that they choose.

How Section 8 Vouchers Work

The landlord gets the remainder of the unit’s monthly rent paid for by the local Public Housing Agency (commonly called a housing authority). Housing authorities manage the Section 8 HCV program, and other federal housing programs in their local service area.

Section 8 vouchers are in extremely high demand, and there are a limited number of vouchers in each area. Because of this, Section 8 HCV waiting list openings are rare in most areas of the country.

So, when there’s an opportunity to apply, it’s important to know the basics to avoid getting your application denied.

To learn more about Section 8 Vouchers, start by reviewing the qualifications for a voucher:

Other Voucher Programs

At many housing authorities, some Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers are put aside for low-income renters who meet specific conditions. Learn more about qualifying and applying to these other voucher programs below.

Section 8 Tenant Protections

In most areas of the country, there are no laws preventing landlords from openly discriminating against renters with a Section 8 Voucher. And in response, many state and local governments have passed anti-discrimination protections for Section 8 renters who are searching for a new home.

Find out which areas have these protections in this regularly updated list:

Section 8 Landlord Resources

There are many benefits for landlords who rent to Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher tenants. If you are a landlord interested in leasing to tenants with rental assistance, this guide will help you navigate the process step-by-step: