SECTION 8 HOUSING CHOICE VOUCHER PROGRAM
Housing choice vouchers allow very low-income families to choose and lease or purchase safe, decent, and affordable privately-owned rental housing. The federal government provides the funds for Section 8. Recipients receive their benefits through local housing authorities (LHAs) or regional housing agencies. There are approximately 72,000 people receiving Section 8 rental assistance in Massachusetts. The United States Congress periodically makes more money available to HUD to fund additional vouchers. Congress did not provide any additional voucher funding in the federal fiscal years 2003 and 2004 budgets. No housing agency in the United States received new funding to expand their voucher program. Therefore, many agencies do not have any vouchers to issue to applicants and other agencies only have a limited number to issue. We still encourage you to apply.
Eligibility: Eligibility is based on gross income. 75 percent of all households selected to receive Section 8 must have incomes within 30 percent of the area median income. 25 percent of Section 8 households can have incomes up to 50 percent of the median. In some instances these limits can go as high as 80 percent of median although very few housing agencies serve households with this income at this limit. Income limits vary depending on the number of persons in the household and the region in which they live at the time they are selected for assistance. For a listing of income limits by city/town, you may visit HUD�s website.
Rents: Section 8 recipients generally pay between 30 percent and 40 percent of their income for rent. The Section 8 voucher pays the difference between the rent charged by the landlord and the tenant's contribution to the rent.
How to Apply for Section 8: At the present time, the Attleboro Housing Authority's Section 8 Waiting List is closed. However, there is a centralized waiting list in which 43 local housing authorities participate and you can obtain an application online. For a recorded listing of housing authorities currently accepting Section 8 applications, please call: (508) 778-7507 ext. 4.
Preferences: Some housing agencies establish their own Section 8 preferences. DHCD does not use any preferences for any applicant with an income that is 30% or less than the area median income. However, any applicant with a higher income must meet one of the following three preferences:
Involuntarily displaced due to fire, natural disaster, government action,
domestic violence, landlord action, having a disability or threats as a result of witnessing a crime;
Living in substandard housing or being homeless (such as living in a shelter or an apartment with serious code violations);
Paying more than 50 percent of your income for rent for more than 90 days.
Section 8 programs administered by local housing authorities often have a preference for local residents. Section 8 programs administered by regional housing agencies have a regional residency preference.
All housing authority selection policies, including preferences, must be stated in their Annual Public Housing Plan and the agency�s Section 8 Administration Plan. Both documents can be obtained by calling the local housing authority or HUD at 617-994-8200.
Some administering agencies collaborate with other organizations to provide special Section 8 programs designed especially for families, battered women with children, homeless disabled persons and families, veterans, elderly persons raising young children, veterans with substance abuse disorders, and persons with HIV/AIDS. For more information, please ask your service provider.
FAMILY SELF-SUFFICIENCY PROGRAM
The Family Self-sufficiency Program (FSS) is a HUD program that encourages communities to develop local strategies to help assisted families obtain employment that will lead to economic independence and self-sufficiency. Public housing agencies (PHAs) work with welfare agencies, schools, businesses, and other local partners to develop a comprehensive program that gives participating FSS family members the skills and experience to enable them to obtain employment that pays a living wage.
FSS program services may include, but are not limited to:
- child care
- job training and employment counseling
- substance/alcohol abuse treatment or counseling
- household skill training
- homeownership counseling
|Families who receive assistance under the housing choice voucher program are eligible to participate in the FSS program.
Contract: The PHA and the head of each participating family execute an FSS contract of participation that specifies the rights and responsibilities of both parties. The 5-year FSS contract specifies goals and services for each family. Family members must fulfill all requirements in order to obtain full benefits.
The FSS contract requires that the family comply with the lease, that all family members become independent of welfare, and that the head of the family seek and maintain suitable employment. Possible sanctions for noncompliance with the FSS contract are termination from the FSS program, forfeiture of the FSS escrow account, withholding or termination of supportive services, and termination of housing choice voucher assistance.
An interest-bearing FSS escrow account is established by the PHA for each participating family. An escrow credit, based on increases in earned income of the family, is credited to this account by the PHA during the term of the FSS contract. The PHA may make a portion of this escrow account available to the family during the term of the contract to enable the family to complete an interim goal such as education.
If the family completes the contract and no member of the family is receiving welfare, the amount of the FSS account is paid to the head of the family. If the PHA terminates the FSS contract, or if the family fails to complete the contract before its expiration, the family's FSS escrow funds are forfeited.
View the Utility Allowance Schedule
View the Payment Standards
View the Section 8 Administrative Plan
Payment Access for Landlords