We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Section 8?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Section 8 refers to a section of the United States Housing Act. The initial portions of this Act were passed in 1937 in response to the shortage of affordable housing for the poor, which was part of the aftermath of the Great Depression. Section 8 also references the type of government assistance for housing available to some, but not all, qualifying people. It can also be used as an adjective to describe housing programs administered under the 1937 Act and its subsequent revisions.

More recently, Section 8 has focused on reducing the difference between the rent renters can afford to pay and what landlords charge. This is accomplished by a government subsidy granted to landlords who rent to qualifying tenants. The subsidy takes the form of a voucher.

Landlords can volunteer to be part of the Section 8 program or they can agree to take a voucher when approached by a potential tenant. In fact, some rental properties are solely dedicated to providing low-income families with homes. Since 1983, the program required qualifying applicants to pay about 30% of their income towards their rent. When government funding is available, and only if the landlord charges Fair Market Rent (FMR) and safely maintains the property, the landlord will receive the difference between what he or she charges and what the tenant can pay.

Landlords are not required to participate in Section 8 housing. In fact, some resist doing so because they want to charge more than FMR or they fear that low-income renters won’t maintain their property well. Others merely dislike the hassle of obtaining rent from two sources.

Federal government funds support the Section 8 program, and unfortunately, there often aren't enough funds to meet the needs of low-income applicants. Public housing programs, especially in medium to large towns and cities, have had such large waiting lists that they've been forced to close them and only occasionally re-open them to new applicants. Some former Section 8 applicants have told stories of finally making their way to the top of the waiting list after no longer requiring public assistance.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

Discussion Comments

By anon142858 — On Jan 14, 2011

I am praying for you. Ask your 18 and 17 year olds to try and get a part-time job to help-out. Love and prayers, E.

By shellvictor — On Nov 03, 2009

I am a single mother of four, ages 18, 17, 16, and 12. I had a stroke the summer of 2007 and since then I have not been able to work. I am supporting my kids and myself from a fixed income from Social Security. Before the stroke we lived in Dallas and I had a wonderful job but was not able to keep working due to the stroke. I am thankful that I did recover physically.

The last year and half I have barely been able to keep decent clothes with keeping up with rent and other bills. Our car we hadstopped working and now it's even hard to go to the store for food. I have to wait on someone else to take me. It is just real hard under the current circumstances and any help would be appreciated by us all. And a program that can help for rent and bills.

Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.