Sec. 8 is a program of the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD gives vouchers to hundreds of local housing authorities and non-profit organizations across the country. Those housing authorities and non-profits then issue the vouchers to low-income individuals and families. A person with a Sec. 8 housing voucher pays 30% of his or her income in rent. The rest of the rent is paid to the landlord by the organization that issued the voucher, using money from HUD.
There are two kinds of Sec. 8 housing vouchers: portable vouchers (sometimes called “tenant-based” or “mobile” vouchers) and project-based. Project-based vouchers can only be used in a Sec. 8 public housing project. Portable vouchers can be used with any landlord willing to take them. And after the first year a portable voucher holder has a voucher, it can be used anywhere in the United States. This main section of this website is all about portable vouchers; to learn about site-based vouchers, click on “Other ways to apply for housing”.
The wait to get a portable Sec. 8 voucher in Mass. can be up to 12 years long. This is why it is crucial for your family member with a disability to apply for Sec. 8 as soon as he/she turns 18. An interesting point is that people who have lived in a Sec. 8 public housing project for a year can sometimes convert their project-based voucher into a portable voucher, basically skipping most of the wait. There are multiple Sec. 8 waiting lists, and it is important to get on as many lists as possible.
(Please note that nothing on this website is intended as legal advice, there is no guarantee the information provided is accurate, and using the information provided does not guarantee one will receive a housing voucher. For a complete legal disclaimer, please click here.)