o The Section 8 housing choice voucher program is the federal government's
major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the
disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market.
Since housing assistance is provided on behalf of the family or individual,
participants are able to find their own housing, including single-family homes,
townhouses and apartments.
The participant is free to choose any housing that meets the requirements
of the program and is not limited to units located in subsidized housing projects.
New Castle Housing Authority’s
Section 8 program (also referred to as a Public Housing Agency,PHA) receives
federal funds from the U.S. Department
of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to administer the voucher program.
A family that is issued a housing
voucher is responsible for finding a suitable housing unit of the family's
choice where the owner agrees to rent under the
program. This unit may include the family's present residence. Rental units
must meet minimum standards of health and safety, as determined by the New
Castle Housing Authority’s Section 8 program.
A housing subsidy is paid to the
landlord directly by the New Castle Housing Authority’s Section 8 program
on behalf of the participating family. The family then pays the difference
between the actual rent charged by the
landlord and the amount subsidized by the program.
o Eligibility for a housing voucher
is determined by the New Castle Housing Authority’s Section 8 program
based on the total annual gross income and family size and is limited to
US citizens and specified categories of non-citizens
who have eligible immigration status. In general, the family's income may not
exceed 50% of the median income for the county or metropolitan area in which
the family chooses to live. By law, a PHA must provide 75 percent of its voucher
to applicants whose incomes do not exceed 30 percent of the area median income.
Median income levels are published by HUD and vary by location. The PHA serving
your community can provide you with the income limits for your area and family
During the application process, the PHA will collect information on family
income, assets, and family composition. The PHA will verify this information
with other local agencies, your employer and bank, and will use the information
to determine program eligibility and the amount of the housing assistance payment
If the PHA determines that your family is eligible, the PHA will put your
name on a waiting list, unless it is able to assist you immediately. Once your
name is reached on the waiting list, the PHA will contact you and issue to
you a housing voucher.
o The housing choice voucher program places the choice of housing in the hands
of the individual family. A very low-income family is selected by the PHA to
participate is encouraged to consider several housing choices to secure the
best housing for the family needs. A housing voucher holder is advised of the
unit size for which it is eligible based on family size and composition.
The housing unit selected by the family must meet an acceptable level of health
and safety before the PHA can approve the unit. When the voucher holder finds
a unit that it wishes to occupy and reaches an agreement with the landlord
over the lease terms, the PHA must inspect the dwelling and determine that
the rent requested is reasonable.
The PHA determines a payment standard that is the amount generally needed
to rent a moderately-priced dwelling unit in the local housing market and that
is used to calculate the amount of housing assistance a family will receive.
However the payment standard does not limit and does not affect the amount
of rent a landlord may charge or the family may pay. A family which receives
a housing voucher can select a unit with a rent that is below or above the
payment standard. The housing voucher family must pay 30% of its monthly adjusted
gross income for rent and utilities, and if the unit rent is greater than the
payment standard the family is required to pay the additional amount. By law,
whenever a family moves to a new unit where the rent exceeds the payment standard,
the family may not pay more than 40 percent of its adjusted monthly income
o The PHA calculates the maximum
amount of housing assistance allowable. The maximum housing assistance
is generally the lesser of the payment standard
minus 30% of the family's monthly adjusted income or the gross rent for
the unit minus 30% of monthly adjusted income.
o A family's housing needs change over time with changes in family size, job
locations, and for other reasons. The housing choice voucher program is designed
to allow families to move without the loss of housing assistance. Moves are
permissible as long as the family notifies the PHA ahead of time, terminates
its existing lease within the lease provisions, and finds acceptable alternate
Under the voucher program, new voucher-holders may choose a unit anywhere
in the United States if the family lived in the jurisdiction of the PHA issuing
the voucher when the family applied for assistance. Those new voucher-holders
not living in the jurisdiction of the PHA at the time the family applied for
housing assistance must initially lease a unit within that jurisdiction for
the first twelve months of assistance. A family that wishes to move to another
PHA's jurisdiction must consult with the PHA that currently administers its
housing assistance to verify the procedures for moving.
o Once a PHA approves an eligible family's housing unit, the family and the
landlord sign a lease and, at the same time, the landlord and the PHA sign
a housing assistance payments contract that runs for the same term as the lease.
This means that everyone -- tenant, landlord and PHA -- has obligations and
responsibilities under the voucher program.
o Tenant's Obligations: When a family selects a housing unit, and the PHA
approves the unit and lease, the family signs a lease with the landlord for
at least one year. The tenant may be required to pay a security deposit to
the landlord. After the first year the landlord may initiate a new lease or
allow the family to remain in the unit on a month-to-month lease.
When the family is settled in a new home, the family is expected to comply
with the lease and the program requirements, pay its share of rent on time,
maintain the unit in good condition and notify the PHA of any changes in income
or family composition.
o Landlord's Obligations: The role of the landlord in the voucher program
is to provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing to a tenant at a reasonable
rent. The dwelling unit must pass the program's housing quality standards and
be maintained up to those standards as long as the owner receives housing assistance
payments. In addition, the landlord is expected to provide the services agreed
to as part of the lease signed with the tenant and the contract signed with
o Housing Authority's
Obligations: The PHA administers the voucher program
locally. The PHA provides a family with the housing assistance that enables
the family to seek out suitable housing and the PHA enters into a contract
with the landlord to provide housing assistance payments on behalf of the family.
If the landlord fails to meet the owner's obligations under the lease, the
PHA has the right to terminate assistance payments. The PHA must reexamine
the family's income and composition at least annually and must inspect each
unit at least annually to ensure that it meets minimum housing quality standards.
o HUD's Role: To cover the cost of the program, HUD provides funds to allow
PHAs to make housing assistance payments on behalf of the families. HUD also
pays the PHA a fee for the costs of administering the program. When additional
funds become available to assist new families, HUD invites PHAs to submit applications
for funds for additional housing vouchers. Applications are then reviewed and
funds awarded to the selected PHAs on a competitive basis. HUD monitors PHA
administration of the program to ensure program rules are properly followed.
o What regulations cover this
program? Regulations are found in 24 CFR Part 982.