Section 8 Rentals and Mortgages

What is Section 8?

Section 8 housing is a program funded by the federal government intended to help low-income families in the United States pay for rent. There Section 8 program has two different branches: the Housing Choice Voucher program, also known as "tenant-based" assistance, which enables you to choose the housing location; and the "project-based" assistance, which requires that you live in a specific property.

Universal waiting list for Public Housing and Section 8

While this is a federal assistance program, each state has their own Public Housing Agencies which manage their own area. A nationwide universal waiting list does not exist. Each area usually has their own waiting list, process, requirements, and restrictions.

There are however very few housing agencies that handle a waiting list for the entire state, and if they do, there usually is a separate waiting list for each county. The Massachusetts Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Centralized Waiting List is the only single statewide Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher waiting list currently known today. Note however that not all housing agencies in the state are participating in this list, they maintain their own waiting list instead.

How does a Section 8 voucher holder find available listings?

Searching online for rental is what voucher holders usually do. Another way is through ads. The housing agency where you applied through may also have information on property owners who accept vouchers.

If I find a property before getting the Section 8 voucher, will my application get approved sooner?

No. Finding a property before you receive your housing voucher does not have any influence on when you will receive your voucher. When you are placed on the waiting list, waiting until your name moves to the top is what should be done.

Are you qualified for Section 8 if you already own a house or any other real estate?

The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher qualification is based on your income, not assets. This means it is permissible to own a home or any other real estate and still be eligible for Section 8.

However, income for the aim of ascertaining Section 8 qualification must include any income you earn from these properties or assets. So, if the house or property worth is less than what you owe on the mortgage, or you are generating rental revenue in excess of your expenses, a specific amount of yearly revenue is generated by the equity. This revenue is calculated toward your income qualification limit.

Can Section 8 vouchers be used to pay my mortgage?

If the housing agency that manages your Section 8 voucher program is participating in HUD's Homeownership Voucher program, your Section 8 voucher can be used to help with your mortgage payment. Did you know that out of the more than 2,300 housing agencies all over the country, HUD proclaims that at least one Homeownership voucher is reported in about 960 of them.

For more information about Housing Choice Vouchers, contact your local Public Housing Agency.