An Overview of Section 8

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Section 8 of the Housing Act of 1937 ("Law") allows the federal government to enter into contracts with various organizations. To help pay the monthly rent of thousands of families.  A recent estimate was close to five million families are helped. All of the following programs are managed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD):

  • Project-based Section 8 contracts
  • Project-based vouchers
  • Housing Choice Vouchers

This Law has been amended several times since 1937 to better match the evolving needs of the public.

The housing choice voucher program provides "tenant-based" rental assistance. It is issued to the tenant, not the landlord.  As a result, a tenant can move from one unit with a minimum level of housing quality to another. And take their assistance with them. It also allows holders to apply their monthly voucher towards the purchase of a home.  The current maximum allowed voucher is $2,000 a month.

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The Law also authorizes a variety of "project-based" rental assistance programs. The landlord agrees to reserve units in a building for low-income tenants. The federal government will then guarantee to supplement the difference between the tenant's contribution and the agreed upon rent in the owner's contract. Hence, a tenant who leaves one of these properties using this specific program will lose access to the project-based subsidy.

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The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have jointly created a program called Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH).  The program issues approximately 10,000 vouchers per year at a cost of roughly $75 million per year to eligible veterans.  This program can be combined with other federal and state housing programs to help end homelessness for our country's veterans.

The reality of this subject is there is not nearly enough funds to address all of the low income housing needs in this country.  As a result, these programs are a great help to millions of people. But much more is needed. Maybe a solution will be found soon.

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Overview of Tenant Rental Assistance< ?php the_author(); ?>

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Rick Toney

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Rick Toney Is A Seasoned Real Estate Professional With Over 30 Years Of Real Estate Experience, Writes A Weekly Real Estate Blog And Is A Principal of Blue Moon Realty Group And Mesa Realty Advisors. Blue Moon Realty Group Is A Residential Redevelopment Company Specializing In The Purchase And Renovation Of Older And Physically Distressed Homes (Flip This House Boston). Mesa Realty Advisors Is An Affordable Housing Developer Specializing In The Redevelopment Of Existing Low-Income Housing Properties. Rick Is A Certified Public Accountant (CPA - Retired) In The State Of California, A Certified Property Manager (CPM - Retired) And A Real Estate Broker In The States Of California (Retired) And Massachusetts (Retired).


  1. Regina BenderJune 28, 2019

    Good overview. Thoughtful.

  2. Wendy DeRobbioDecember 31, 2018

    Well written.

  3. James SmithFebruary 15, 2018

    I enjoy this blog and your articles. Short and sweet.

  4. Jacob WahlenmaierJanuary 31, 2018

    Good article.

  5. Alex RuizJanuary 31, 2018

    Great article!

  6. James FrancisJanuary 28, 2018

    Nice article.


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