The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program is a federal government program for providing rental assistance to very low-income families, elderly, and disabled people who are renting units in the private market. Participants find their own housing, and, if the landlord agrees to participate, the housing authority pays a portion of the rent directly to the landlord on behalf of the resident.

Residents wait for several years to reach the top of the waiting list for assistance. They must show that the household income is below 50% of the area median income and they must certify that all members of the household are citizens or are eligible immigrants. A conviction for drug related or violent criminal activity disqualifies a household for assistance.

Once a household is found to be eligible, a voucher is issued. The resident has 60 days to find a unit and return the paperwork to the VHA.

After receiving the forms, the VHA will inspect the unit to see if it meets Federal Housing Quality Standards. If the unit passes inspection, and the rent is reasonable, the VHA will approve the lease. The VHA then enters into a contract with the landlord and begins making monthly housing assistance payments on the resident's behalf. The VHA pays a portion of the rent and the resident is responsible for paying the other portion.

Landlord/Tenant Responsibilities

To receive monthly housing assistance payment checks, landlords in the program must:

  • Maintain the unit, equipment, appliances, and common areas in accordance to Housing Quality Standards.
  • Notify the Housing Authority of any absences or of any unauthorized residents.
  • Obey Federal, State and local law.
  • Screen applicants to their own rental criteria. The VHA does not screen voucher tenants for rental history or credit ratings.

To continue having housing assistance checks sent on their behalf, residents in the program must:

  • Obey the terms of their contract with the VHA regarding occupants of the unit, criminal activity, etc.
  • Obey the terms of the lease with their landlord.

As always, you are also welcome to call our office at (360) 694-2501 with any questions.

More information can be found in the Landlord Information Packet on the Landlord Information page.

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