What Is the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program?

The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program is a federal rental assistance program that helps low-income renters pay some, or all of their monthly rent.

The main benefit of the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program is that participants can choose their own rental unit (with some restrictions).

Section 8 HCV tenants pay 30% to 40% of the household’s adjusted monthly income toward rent. The rest is paid directly to the landlord by the Public Housing Agency (commonly called a housing authority) that manages the household’s voucher.

Overseen and funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), there are more than 2,400 HUD Public Housing Agencies nationwide that individually manage the Section 8 HCV program.

Read this guide to learn more about how the Section 8 HCV program works.

  • Note: This program is not to 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: Who Qualifies for Section 8 Housing? or choose a topic from the list below.

Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Guide Guide