Apartment Living BlogApartment Hunting › Seeking Support: A Guide to Section 8 Rental Subsidies

For all apartment renters, no matter their financials, a living situation ultimately boils down to the dollars and cents of their budget. For nearly 5 million Americans struggling to earn a stable or livable income, Section 8 can be a hugely helpful government program that can not only help them find a place to live but also subsidize it to the point of affordability.

Formerly known as the Section 8 Act of 1937, this program can take many forms, and like so many things tied to the government, it can sometimes seem maddeningly bureaucratic. Thankfully, we dove into the main ins and outs of being a Section 8 renter to get you on your way to taking advantage of this social safety net.

Section 8 01
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Who Is Section 8 For?

Contrary to stigma, Section 8 renters as we know them today are not so much people living in substandard units but rather individuals who are forced to pay an above-average amount of their income on rent. For many, the need for a place to live means sacrificing many other basic necessities, such as: food, clothing and healthcare.

What Can I Get?

Though rates vary from state to state and even within individual municipalities, the general rule of thumb is that subsidies are capped at roughly $2,000 a month. Don’t race off looking for new digs just yet, because there are multiple factors that affect your subsidy calculation.

  • Dependents, disabilities and past military service all factor into the final subsidy amount.
  • For families, all income earned by all members are considered and rigorously checked yearly to ensure honesty.
  • Payment is always sent directly to the renter and is tied to the various economic factors assessed when it was calculated. So no applying for a big payment in a rental hot spot like San Francisco and then using your voucher for rent in a less expensive locale.

After income calculations, most Section 8 allowances will subsidize roughly 70% of a person’s rent, reducing the portion they are responsible for to 30% of the total.

Section 8 02
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Types of Section 8:

Even though most individual states have unique rules for how they operate their Section 8 system, there are a few rules that generally hold true:

  • As a federal program, most Section 8 vouchers can be accepted anywhere in the country (including Puerto Rico). However, residency requirements are in place, so unless you are a resident of the state in question, you’ll be expected to live there for a minimum of 12 months before you can leave. Also, subsidies will eventually be recalculated according to the local rules of the state or municipality you move to.
  • In all instances, failure to report income changes or changes in living situation will result in expulsion from the program (and potential difficulty when re-applying).

Finding Section 8 Units:

Though some property managers are reluctant to work with Section 8 renters or simply find it economically impossible (high-income buildings or high-rent urban areas, for example), there are still plenty of units out there. Many property managers appreciate the Section 8 system, mostly because it provides a more stable payment in the form of a government check each month, and it places increased restriction on the renter in terms of maintaining the property and reporting changes in income and living situation. So even though it requires them to fill out a great deal more paperwork, it tends to recruit a more stable and rule-abiding renter than they might otherwise get.

There are several types of living situations available to Section 8 renters:

  • Dedicated projects: These are often municipal- or state-run buildings that cater entirely to Section 8 participants.
  • Partial dedication: Often a property manager will allot a specific number of units in a building for Section 8 renters in exchange for increased subsidy rates from the government.
  • Independent: These are free-market buildings that accept certain types of Section 8 vouchers.

It’s important to note that in some states, it is illegal for a property manager to deny Section 8 applicants an opportunity to be considered for a unit, so do the research and always be aware of your rights.

Section 8 03
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Though Section 8 may still maintain a certain stigma, it has long been a hugely beneficial program for people who are struggling to make ends meet. By providing a consistent, stable form of subsidy, Section 8 renters are often able to decrease stress, save money and improve their overall quality of life.

Though it may take extra paperwork, many individuals find Section 8 well worth the time and effort required to get approved. Be sure to check your state website to learn more about this program and whether it’s right for you.



About :

Amber is the Director of Content Marketing for ForRent.com and has been with the company since April 2007. In her role, Amber strategizes, executes and optimizes a content and social media plans across multiple channels and platforms. This includes blogs, social networks, video sharing sites, and other conversational media. She spends a great deal of time building relationships with consumers, social media influencers, and bloggers to generate awareness of the ForRent.com brands. In her free time, Amber loves running, #hashtags, and DIY projects.


  1. Buford Day says:
    I’m looking for a (1) Bedroom Apartment in Washington DC Section 8 Voucher .
    • Lea Erbskorn says:

      Hi! We are happy to assist with your search. We ran a search based on the information that you provided us, and these listings were generated: http://www.forrent.com/find/DC/metro-Washington+DC/Washington/beds-1

      To refine your search (computer desktop view), use the additional search bar where you can type in your apartment criteria such as how many bathrooms, price range, etc. It is located at the top portion of the website page. Refining your search is offered on mobile view as well. You can click the search icon found at the top right corner on your screen and go from there. In regards to a Section 8 voucher, you can contact the apartment properties that you are interested in and ask what they offer/accept. We hope this helps!

  2. phylli crowe says:
    I’m looking for a one bedroom apartment in deland flordia section 8 voucher please need one in 22sn of august
  3. Sonya Manigo says:
    I’m looking for a 2bd and 2 ba who accepts section-8 vouchers.
    • Hi, Sonya. Thanks for reaching out. Unfortunately, our site does not filter by which communities accept section 8 vouchers and which do not. In what city/state are you looking for a 2-bedroom/2-bathroom?

      The ForRent.com Team

  4. Margo Aldridge says:
    Are there emergency situations to get a voulcher faster?
    • Section 8 housing is a government program with its very own set of rules.  Therefore, here at this blog, we would be remiss in giving you any kind of information ourselves as to your question.  Your best resource will be the office or organization that administers Section 8 vouchers in your area.

  5. Gloria Gaines says:
    I am a single, senior citizen looking for a one bedroom apartment. In San Leandro, ca. I am on Section 8, no animals, no Grand children. Some one out there please help me, or give me a call at 510-978-6865 Thank you.
  6. Crystal Kirk says:
  7. Crystalynn Letts says:
    I’m looking for housing in Brooklyn,Ny that one person can afford.
  8. Maxine Brooks says:
    My husband is a stroke srviver he has been sign up for 6yrs and havent been placed yet and we are homeless
  9. My brother is disabled and needs a one bedroom. His income is 906.00 Kansas City Mo. Zip 64118
  10. Brenda Hines says:
    Can you help me to locate some websites that you do not have to pay to see Section 8 listings. I’m from Cleveland, Ohio an it’s hard to find housing on the Westside. Do you have any suggestions.
    • Unfortunately, Brenda, we do not filter by Section 8 housing so, when you use our website, you most likely won’t see any Section 8 housing or know which ones are and which ones aren’t. However, here is the link to the Cleveland Housing Authority: http://www.clevelandhousingauthority.com/ They may be able to help. Best of luck with your search.

      – The ForRent.com Team

  11. Jose Masques says:
    Hi I live in Rockledge Fl. and I’m looking to move in the middle of August, but it’s so hard to find a nice place in Melbourne Fl. I’m a sick person with diabetes and bad kidneys to. What should I do? Thank you
    • Hi, Jose. Thanks for reaching out to us. So sorry to hear about your health struggles. We ran a search for you for apartments in Melbourne, FL. You can view them here: https://www.forrent.com/find/FL/metro-Orlando/Melbourne As you can see, there are a lot of options. Remember, there are tons of filters that you can use to narrow down your search. See the top search bar on the page and the dropdown arrow in the right-hand corner. Best of luck with your apartment search!

  12. Elizabeth Carr says:
    Looking for a 1bedroom with a yard around norwood mass as I work in dedham and need to take public transportation to my job..It’s not easy to find one I have looked for almost a.year
  13. Susan lucich says:
    I am searching for income based apt or about $700 with washer and dryer in Tacoma wa or Lakewood wa area.
  14. Cynthia Bennett says:
    It has been hard finding a 1 bedroom apt. in Jefferson county or Shelby county in Alabama for a person 55 years old and on soc. sec. disability. most places with vacancies you have to be 62 or 64 years old. the section 8 program lacks for people in this age group. I hope they will build more apts. for us.
  15. APRIL HART says:
    Hi. I’m a disabled senior citizen seeking a 1 bdrm apt in San Luis Obispo, CA.  Have a Sec 8 voucher but no one wants to accept it. Any ideas?

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