Apply for the Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers Program (HCVP)

The Section 8 Housing choice Voucher Program (HCVP) helps families with low income by paying part of their rent.

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The Details   of Apply for the Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers Program (HCVP)

What are Section 8 Vouchers?   for Apply for the Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers Program (HCVP)

Note: There is currently no online application for Section 8 that serves Massachusetts residents. You'll complete an application and mail or take it to a Regional Administrating Agency. 

If you qualify, you'll receive a voucher to pay part of your rent. You'll have a limited time to find a rental home anywhere in the country. You can also choose to stay in your current rental home if it meets the program's requirements. The home must meet minimum standards of health and safety.

We'll calculate the value of the voucher based on the cost of units like yours in the same area. However, the Section 8 program does not set the amount a landlord charges for rent.

Generally, you'll pay 30% of your income toward rent. We'll pay part of the rent directly to the landlord.

Who is eligible for Section 8 vouchers?

Your eligibility depends on your household's total gross income (or your income before taxes are taken out). The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) establishes income limits for people receiving vouchers. Those limits are based on Median Family Income estimates and the Fair Market Rent for areas around the country.

The federal government has a tool to help you figure out what the Median Family Income is in your area.

Note: There are often long waiting lists for vouchers because demand for help with housing is high. While you wait, it's important to keep your contact information up to date with the agency you applied to so they can notify you of any changes. If you don't, you could lose your place on the waitlist.

Learn if you’re eligible for a Stability Voucher 

The City of Boston's Continuum of Care program has Stability Vouchers (emergency housing vouchers) for people in Boston who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness, and who might be veterans or escaping domestic violence. If this applies to you, contact the City of Boston CoC

How to apply   Apply for the Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers Program (HCVP)

Important: Massachusetts residents can't apply to Section 8 online right now. You will need to mail in your application or take it to a Regional Administering Agency in person.

You can use some vouchers anywhere as long as the unit meets health and safety standards (tenant-based or mobile vouchers). Other vouchers are for specific housing units (project-based vouchers). Apply for both to increase your chance of getting a voucher faster. 

To apply for tenant-based or mobile vouchers:

  1. Download this application form and fill it out. (Find the form in a language other than English in the table below.)
  2. Email, mail, or take it to one of the 8 Regional Administering Agencies (RAAs) in Massachusetts. Find addresses and directions to the RAA closest to you.
  3. To increase your chances of getting a voucher, you should also contact a Local Housing Authority (LHA), which has a separate group of Section 8 vouchers. (You can look for an LHA in the second row of the same website as step 2.) 

Project-based vouchers are administered by RAAs. Contact an RAA to learn how to apply for these

There's high demand for housing assistance, so there are waitlists for applications. Some waitlists are so long that they may be closed. If you are in desperate need of help, apply to the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) program first.

How we determine how much of your rent to cover   for Apply for the Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers Program (HCVP)

What is a Payment Standard?

Section 8 vouchers pay different amounts toward your rent based on the location of the apartment you are renting.  So your voucher may pay more in one town than in another. This is because housing costs are different in different areas of the state. Each region has a different “Payment Standard,” or maximum payment that a housing agency can pay to a landlord on behalf of a tenant.

How is the Payment Standard (maximum Section 8 contribution toward rent) set for an apartment?  

Up until recently, the amount that each voucher paid was based on the metropolitan region the apartment was in. Starting on March 1, 2024 and moving forward, the payment standard will be based on the apartment’s zip code instead. This approach allows the Section 8 program to more accurately reflect the market rents within neighborhoods, expand housing choices and create new opportunities for program participants.

Want to Understand the HUD Official Language?

In the past, payment standards have generally been based on HUD’s “area-wide” Fair Market Rents, which generally reflected different metropolitan areas. Going forward, payment standards will be based on HUD’s Small Area Fair Market Rents (SAFMRs), which reflect zip codes.

You can use this tool to find EOHLC’s Section 8 payment standards, effective March 1, 2024.

Downloads   for Apply for the Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers Program (HCVP)

Contact   for Apply for the Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers Program (HCVP)

100 Cambridge Street, Suite 300, Boston, MA 02114

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