How to Get a Housing Voucher

Housing vouchers, officially known as Housing Choice Vouchers (HCVs) under the Section 8 program, provide much-needed rental assistance to low-income individuals and families. These vouchers, funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), empower participants to choose and lease privately owned housing units that meet safety and quality standards.

Eligibility for Housing Vouchers

  • Income Requirements: Household income must be below 80% of the area median income (AMI).
  • Citizenship and Immigration Status: Must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen with authorized immigration status.
  • Family Composition: Family must meet the definition of “family” as defined by HUD.
  • Criminal History: No household member convicted of production of methamphetamine in federally assisted housing.
  • Sex Offender Registration: No household member subject to lifetime registration under a State sex offender registration program.

Applying for a Housing Voucher

  1. Contact your local PHA: Find the PHA serving your area using HUD’s online map or by calling HUD’s toll-free number (1-800-955-2232).
  2. Gather Required Documentation: Prepare the necessary documents, including proof of income, assets, and household composition. Specific requirements may vary depending on your local PHA’s guidelines.
  3. Complete an application: Your local PHA will provide you with an application form. Gather the required documents, such as proof of income, Social Security numbers, and birth certificates.
  4. Attend an interview: Once your application is processed, you may be invited for an interview to verify your eligibility and discuss your housing needs.
  5. Waitlist placement: If deemed eligible, your name will be placed on a waiting list. Waiting times can vary depending on the availability of funding and the number of applicants in your area.

Searching for a Vouchers-Friendly Housing Unit

Once you’ve received a housing voucher, you can begin searching for a suitable rental unit. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Understand the voucher’s payment structure: Your voucher will specify the maximum rent you can afford. Familiarize yourself with this limit to narrow your search appropriately.
  • Utilize online resources: Numerous websites and mobile apps list voucher-approved housing units. Popular options include HUD’s online search tool and housing apps like Zillow and Trulia.
  • Network with local organizations: Connect with community organizations, social service agencies, and landlords who are familiar with the voucher program. They can provide valuable insights and recommendations.

Benefits of Housing Vouchers

  • Reduced Housing Costs: Housing vouchers help low-income households afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing by subsidizing a portion of their rent.
  • Increased Stability: Stable housing can lead to improved employment opportunities, educational outcomes, and overall well-being.
  • Choice of Housing: Housing vouchers allow participants to choose from a variety of privately owned housing units, giving them more freedom in selecting a home that meets their needs and preferences.
  • Improved Health Outcomes: Stable housing can contribute to better physical and mental health outcomes, particularly for children.
  • Reduced Homelessness: Housing vouchers have been shown to effectively reduce homelessness and housing instability.
  • Economic Benefits: Housing vouchers can stimulate the local economy by increasing demand for rental housing and creating jobs.
  • Community Integration: Housing vouchers can help low-income families move to neighborhoods with better schools, jobs, and amenities, promoting community integration and access to opportunities.
  • Reduced Reliance on Public Assistance: Housing vouchers can help reduce reliance on other forms of public assistance, such as shelter and emergency housing services.
  • Empowerment and Self-Sufficiency: Housing vouchers can empower individuals and families to achieve self-sufficiency by providing them with the stability and resources they need to improve their lives.

Maintaining Your Voucher

To maintain your housing voucher, you must adhere to specific program requirements:

  • Pay rent on time: Timely rent payments are essential for retaining your voucher. Late payments can jeopardize your eligibility.
  • Comply with lease terms: Abide by the terms of your lease agreement, including maintaining the unit in good condition and following noise and occupancy rules.
  • Re-certify your income: Your PHA may periodically require you to re-certify your income to ensure that you continue to meet eligibility criteria.

Additional Resources for Housing Voucher Assistance

For further assistance with the housing voucher program, consider these resources:

  • HUD’s website: HUD provides comprehensive information about the Housing Choice Voucher Program on its website.
  • Local PHAs: Contact your local PHA for specific guidance and application procedures.
  • Housing counseling agencies: Non-profit housing counseling agencies offer free or low-cost assistance with the voucher application process and ongoing program navigation.


Housing vouchers play a crucial role in providing affordable housing options for low-income individuals and families. By understanding the eligibility criteria, application process, and voucher requirements, you can effectively navigate the system and secure stable housing. Remember, additional resources are available to assist you throughout the process.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How do I get a housing voucher in NYC?

The most common way to get a housing voucher in NYC is to apply through the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program. However, the Section 8 waiting list is currently closed and may remain closed for many years.

What is a local housing voucher?

A local housing voucher, also known as a Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) or Section 8 voucher, is a form of rental assistance that helps low-income households afford safe and decent housing in the private market. The voucher pays part of the rent directly to the landlord, and the household pays the rest.

Who is eligible for a housing voucher in DC?

To be eligible for a housing voucher in DC, you must meet certain income and household composition requirements. You must also be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen, and you must not be disqualified based on criminal history or other factors.

What is the NYC housing voucher for homeless people?

The NYC housing voucher for homeless people is a program that provides rental assistance to individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The program is administered by the New York City Department of Homeless Services (DHS).

How do housing vouchers work NYC?

Housing vouchers work in NYC by providing low-income households with a subsidy to pay for rent in the private market. The household pays a portion of the rent, and the voucher pays the rest directly to the landlord.

How much is a one bedroom voucher in New York City?

The amount of a housing voucher in New York City varies depending on the size of the household and the location of the apartment. However, the average one-bedroom voucher is worth around $1,500 per month.

How long does a NYC housing voucher last?

A NYC housing voucher can last for as long as the household continues to meet the eligibility requirements. However, there may be a time limit on how long a household can participate in the program.

How much is NYC housing rent?

The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in NYC is around $3,000 per month. However, the actual rent can vary depending on the neighborhood, the size of the apartment, and the amenities.

How much is NYC affordable housing?

NYC affordable housing is defined as housing that is affordable to low- and moderate-income households. The specific income limits vary depending on the type of housing and the size of the household.

How can I get cheap housing in NYC?

There are a few ways to get cheap housing in NYC. One way is to apply for a housing voucher. Another way is to look for apartments in less expensive neighborhoods. You can also consider renting a room in an apartment or a house.

Who qualifies for housing in NYC?

There are a number of programs that provide housing assistance to low-income households in NYC. The specific eligibility requirements vary depending on the program. However, most programs require that the household have an income below a certain level and that the household members are U.S. citizens or eligible noncitizens.

Also Read

Jean Folger

Jean Folger brings over 15 years of expertise as a financial writer, specializing in areas such as real estate, investment, active trading, retirement planning, and expatriate living. She is also the co-founder of PowerZone Trading, a firm established in 2004 that offers programming, consulting, and strategy development services to active traders and investors.

Related Articles