First this is not an attack on the program that is or was called Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program. For one Section 8 protects my family from the nagging horror we call grandma. It’s cheap to keep her in the Section 8 apartment complex where she spends the day judges her neighbors, and that is a good thing. Section 8 also houses other relatives so they aren’t sleeping on any other relatives couch, keeps the peace in the family, also, good thing. Second, when all the rules are obeyed and people are good tenants and neighbors, it is all good.
I think they changed the name of the program but most know it as “Section 8“. It is a program where the tenant pays a portion of the rent based on family income and the rest is made up by the government. The government almost guarantees the landlord a steady monthly check for providing maintained habitable housing to low-income tenents. The tenant gets an affordable place to live and the landlord gets a steady income stream. Everybody wins.
There are obligations for the local housing agency, the tenants and the landlord. The tenents are supposed to take care of the unit, comply with the lease, and notify the housing agency when family members move in or out. There are other rules to, but they may fall under the lease, such as no subleasing the unit, and no drug related or violent activity by family members. The landlord is supposed to meet “housing quality standards” set by HUD, collect rent, and enforce the lease. The local housing agency is supposed to annually recertify and inspect and pull financial support when there is a violation after a hearing.
Financial assistance for housing can be terminated for the following reasons:
* Any member of family has been evicted from federally assisted housing in the last five years
* Any member of family commits fraud in connection with the housing program
* Any family member is committed of drug related or violent criminal activity
* Any family member is using drugs or controlled substances
* Any family member is an alcoholic AND endangers the health and saftey and peaceful enjoyment of property for other residents
* Family owes back rent to local housing agency
Section 8 is one way to provide affordable housing in the District. Yet there are problems. For one not all landlords accept section 8 vouchers. Second, sometimes violations go unreported and the integrity of the system is harmed.
So here ends my little Section 8 report based on the 2001 handbook “Guide to the Housing Choice Voucher Program”. Any questions?