The Housing Choice Voucher Program, commonly known as Section 8, is the federal government’s major program for assisting very low-income families, elders, and people with disabilities 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.
Participants are free to choose any housing that meets the requirements of the program and is not limited to units located in subsidized housing projects. Rental units must meet minimum standards of health and safety, as determined by public housing agencies (PHAs). Under a contract with the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, Metro Housing|Boston is the largest regional provider of Housing Choice Vouchers in the state.
With a Section 8 voucher, individuals and families with low incomes can rent their next home. The tenant pays up to 30 percent of his or her income toward rent and utilities; the Section 8 voucher covers the rest of the housing costs. The subsidy is paid directly to the landlord.