Section 8 Housing: How the Government Continues To Improve the Program

The government has been making strides to improve the Section 8 housing program. The program provides financial assistance to low-income families through rent vouchers and has come under scrutiny in recent years for various reasons. However, the government has been working hard to fix the issues and make the program more beneficial for those who need it most. Some of the improvements include:

1. Increasing the Amount of Money Given to Recipients Each Month

The average voucher holder receives $942 per month, which covers about two-thirds of the rent for a modest apartment. The voucher amount stands at 80 percent of the median rent for an area. Initially, the program covered only 30 percent of the rent, but advocates argued that this was insufficient to enable voucher holders to find decent housing. In 1998, as part of the Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act, Congress increased the payment standard to 80 percent, which helped voucher holders find better housing.

2. Expanding Eligibility so That More People Can Benefit From the Program

The government has been working on expanding eligibility to ensure that as many people as possible can benefit from the Section 8 Housing program. The program has been available to low-income households in the past, but recent changes have made it possible for higher-income households to qualify.

One of the most significant changes made is the review of income limits. Before this change, households could only qualify for the program if their income was below 50% of the median income in their area. Now, households of up to 80% of the median income can qualify. The change has made the program more accessible to more people.

Another change is the calculation of payments. In the past, payments depended on the size of the unit a household was renting. Payments depend on the amount of rent a household pays, making the program more affordable for families.

3. Streamlining Application Processes

In the past, people experienced long approval waiting periods. The government has streamlined the approval period, making applying for the program online easier.

4. Improving Housing Conditions

The government has also worked on improving the overall quality of housing available through the Section 8 program. In recent years, new initiatives have been addressing substandard housing conditions, such as the Rental Assistance Demonstration program. The program helps public housing authorities improve the quality of their properties by making it easier for them to access private financing.

5. Merging Voucher Programs and Section 8 Housing Certificates Onto Housing Choice Voucher Program

The government decided to move forward with this proposal to make the voucher program more efficient and improve customer service. It will help to decrease the administrative burden on both PHAs and families. Since the changes facilitated in 2019, individuals have enjoyed massive success with the program, with over 2.2 million people housed in section 8 housing as of 2020. The government has also proposed increasing voucher payment standards to fair market rent levels. It will help families struggling to find affordable housing options in high-cost areas.

6. PHA Has Extended the Search Time of Vouchers Beyond Three Months

The voucher search time of 120 days made many people lose hope of ever finding housing. PHA has now extended the search time to 24 months, giving families more time to find a place to live. The strategy has attracted many applicants because they have enough time to search for houses that meet their needs.

7. PHA Is Working With Property Owners To Increase the Number of Participating Units

The number of units available for voucher holders has always been one of the main complaints about Section 8 housing. PHA is working with property owners to increase the number of units available for voucher holders. The agency has also been working to streamline the inspection process so that more units can be available for voucher holders.

8. Individuals Can Use the Vouchers To Purchase Houses

The Section 8 voucher program is not just for renting apartments. Individuals can use their vouchers to purchase houses as well. The government has worked to improve the program so that more people have the opportunity to buy homes.

These and other changes are helping thousands of families across the country access affordable, quality housing. The section 8 housing program continues to improve despite its many challenges. The program has made great strides in providing quality housing for low-income families with a strong commitment from the government and property owners.

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