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Section 8 Housing

The Section 8 Housing program was developed by the Federal Government in 1974 in an effort to provide an adequate supply of low-income housing. The term Section 8 includes several types of programs which provide rent subsidies to private landlords who rent to qualified low-income individuals.

In order to be eligible for assistance from any of the Section 8 programs, a tenant must have income which is less than 80% of the median income of families of four in that area, with adjustments for different family sizes.

The Section 8 Certificate program provides an approved applicant with a certificate to rent an apartment or house from a private landlord who is willing to participate in the program. If the apartment meets the housing quality standards after inspection, the landlord will enter into a lease with the tenant and a contract with the local housing authority which administers the program. The housing authority will pay a rent subsidy to the landlord equal to the difference between the monthly rent and the tenant's share of the rent which is generally 30% of the tenant's adjusted gross income. If the tenant must pay for utilities, the tenant's share of the rent is adjusted to provide for a utility allowance also. The rent charged must be within limits set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. During the term of the lease, it can only be terminated by the landlord for good cause. The tenant can terminate the lease by giving notice.

Similar subsidized payments are made to landlords under the Section 8 project-based program where the local housing authority contracts with specific landlords to provide assistance payments to the landlords on behalf of eligible tenants who reside in particular buildings, and under the New Construction or Substantial Rehabilitation programs where construction or renovation costs are subsidized in exchange for the landlords agreeing to rent those units only to eligible Section 8 tenants.

In Erie County there are two Section 8 programs, one managed by the Housing Authority of the City of Erie and the other by the Erie County Housing Authority. For more information about these programs you can contact the City of Erie Housing Authority at 456-2028 and the County Housing Authority at 814-665-5161.  3/11

If you need to consult with an attorney regarding legal issues on low-income housing, please contact the Erie County Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service.