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What Is the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program?

The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program is the most well known and sought after housing program in America. There are more than 2,400 Public Housing Agencies (PHAs, or commonly referred to as housing authorities) that manage the Section 8 HCV program for a specific jurisdiction, such as a city, county, or region of multiple areas. PHAs are funded and overseen by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Program participants pay 30% of the household’s monthly income towards rent, and the rest is paid to the landlord by the housing authority that manages the household’s voucher. The Section 8 HCV program allows voucher holders to rent out a unit of their choice that accepts vouchers and meets the program’s physical condition and rent guidelines, including privately owned apartments and houses.

After one year of tenancy, voucher holders may transfer their voucher to another housing authority's jurisdiction, as long as certain guidelines are met. This is known as porting.

This program can be confused with the Section 8 Project-Based Voucher (PBV) program. Section 8 PBV tenants are required to live in a specific apartment community or scattered site. After one year of occupancy, a Project-Based Voucher tenant may request to be placed on a waiting list to receive the next available Housing Choice Voucher or similar tenant-based rental assistance.

Start the guide at Part 1: How Do I Know If I'm Eligible for the Section 8 HCV Program? or choose a topic from the list below.

Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Guide