Section 8 of the United States Housing Act of 1937 provides financial support and aid to hundreds of families but it has its roots in the times of the Great Depression. In the year 1937, the Congress Government of the United States passed the U.S Housing Act, which sparked off the beginning of federal housing assistance in the country.
Over the years the Housing Act was amended several times to adapt to the changing economic climate and the needs and requirements of the people.
It was in the year 1974 that Section 81 was created, as a result of another Amendment and since then its legislation has been worked upon and restructured.
What is Section 8 Housing?
The whole purpose of this Section was to provide the citizens of the United States with a law that stated clearly that families with low incomes (below a certain point) could take assistance of federal funds to pay for their housing. The reason it came into being was because it was seen that low-income single-mother families spent a large chunk of their meagre earnings on housing.
In the present day, there are certain specifications that enable you to qualify for assistance as under Section 8. Low Income doesn’t mean a random low sum – there are specific definitions for the same, for example in the Orange Country region in California if are a family of 8 and your income is less that $48,650 then you qualify for assistance under Section 8.
However it is important to note that not all the families that qualify for assistance actually achieve it and there are many families that have sent in their applications are still waiting on these federal funds from their respective local authorities.
How Does Section 8 Works?
If you do receive assistance under the this programme it basically means you will receive a voucher that funds 70% of your rent and utilities, but as the renter it becomes your responsibility to pay for the remaining 30%. In different cases, this scheme also helps individuals to buy houses or even fulfill their mortgage payments.
The whole goal of this scheme was and is to help people get on their feet – it doesn’t mean the Government will offer you life long support while you sit back and enjoy the benefits – you receive vouchers when your family income is below a certain level and as it increases, the amount of assistance you get reduces and can even stop completely.
According to research, it is tentatively claimed that the Section 8 programme has been successful and aids at least 2 million single mothers who are living in poverty, as well as the elderly and disabled.
How to Apply?
If you are interested in applying for a voucher, you contact either the local PHA serving your community or the Office of Public Housing within your local HUD office. However, since the demand for housing assistance often exceeds the limited resources available to HUD and the local housing agencies, long waiting periods are not uncommon.2
For further information about Section 8 housing assistance for single mothers, including eligibility requirements for both tenants and landlords’ residences, can be found from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development @ www.hud.gov.
- Often referred to as Housing Choice Vouchers Program [↩]
- The Section 8 program has historically been oversubscribed and waiting lists can run into the years. To find out about wait times in your area call your local public housing authority. [↩]