Section 8 Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program?
The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program is the federal government’s major program for helping eligible families, senior citizens, and individuals with disabilities afford safe, healthy homes in their communities.
The program provides the opportunity for eligible participants to:
• choose their own home, including single-family homes, townhouses and apartments, in the community where they want to live
• use the vouchers to help pay the rent, virtually anywhere a landlord will accept them
This means you have the flexibility to choose any home that meets your family needs. It can even be your present residence.
For a home or apartment to be eligible:
• the owner must agree to participate in the voucher program and
• the home must meet minimum safety requirements
The landlord receives a housing subsidy directly from the Public Housing Authority (PHA) on behalf of the participating family. The family then pays the difference between the rent charged by the landlord and the amount subsidized by the program. Under certain circumstances, if authorized by the PHA, a family may use its voucher to purchase a modest home.
Housing Choice Vouchers are administered locally by the PHA in each community. However, Rhode Island Housing serves as the PHA in many communities, including those cities and towns that do not have their own. Click here for a list of the PHAs in Rhode Island cities and towns.
Am I eligible for a housing voucher? What is the process for determining eligibility?
The PHA in each community determines eligibility for housing vouchers, based on the total annual gross income and family size. Eligibility is limited to U.S. citizens and specified categories of non-citizens who have eligible immigration status. Rhode Island Housing serves as the PHA in many communities, including those cities and towns that do not have their own. To locate the PHA in your community, visit the provided list.
In general, the family's income may not exceed 50 percent of the median income for the county or metropolitan area in which the family chooses to live. By law, a PHA must provide 75 percent of its voucher to applicants whose incomes do not exceed 30 percent of the area median income.
Median income levels are published by HUD and vary by location. The PHA serving your community can provide you with the income limits for your area and family size.
During the application process, the PHA will collect information on family income, assets, and family composition. The PHA will verify this information with other local agencies, your employer and bank, and will use the information to determine program eligibility and the amount of the housing assistance payment.
If the PHA determines that your family is eligible, your name will be placed on a waiting list, unless immediate assistance is available. Once your name is reached on the waiting list, the PHA will contact you to issue you a housing voucher.
Where are Rhode Island Housing’s Section 8 apartments located?
Our apartments are listed by community and include the name of the development and the phone number of the apartment manager. The following descriptions will also be helpful in deciding which apartments are right for you.
The following descriptions will also be helpful in deciding which apartments are right for you.
A = Assisted Living
E = Elderly & Persons with Disabilities
O = Open to Families and Single Individuals
T = Transitional
How can I find an affordable apartment?
For your convenience, we provide free online listings for our partners to list available homes at www.HousingSearchRI.org. To search for available apartments you can afford, use the online listings link above.
Is help available to help me own my own home?
Yes. Rhode Island Housing offers extensive Homebuyer Education, the Section 8 to Homeownership Program through our FirstHomes loans, and manages the Family Self-Sufficiency Program. All of these programs and services are designed to help renters become homeowners. For more information, visit our Homeownership microsite.