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renter based assistance travels with the tenant and enables a family to move from one privately-owned apartment to another without losing the rent subsidy.
Project-based assistance is tied to a specific property and benefits only the residents who live at that location.
Section 8 takes its name from Section 8 of the Housing Act of 1937, a significant piece of New Deal legislation enacted during the Great Depression.
Under Section 8 of the Housing Act (which has been repeatedly amended through the years), the federal government extends both renter based and project-based assistance to low-income households.
Broadly speaking, a participating family’s income may not exceed 50 percent of the median income for the area, adjusted for family size.
(The specific income limits are published annually by HUD.) Prospective renters who meet the eligibility requirements and secure private housing typically pay 30% of their adjusted income toward the rent, while the federal government ( American taxpayers) pay the balance by funneling the money through the CHA.
Meanwhile, there’s been no lottery since 2008, and the waiting list has been closed since that time.
For the past 20 years in the City of Chicago, and for the past three years in Cook County, private Chicago landlords have been prohibited from refusing to lease to tenants based on their Section 8 status (or, as they say in the statute, “source of income”).
Meanwhile, the landlord enters into a side agreement with the CHA in which, among other things, the CHA agrees to pay the balance of the monthly rent directly to the landlord, and the landlord agrees, among other things, to maintain the apartment in accordance with HUD’s housing quality standards, to charge a reasonable rent, to consent to audits relating to the Section 8 tenancy, and to cooperate with “equal opportunity compliance reviews.” (The CHA aspires to limit cost impacts of the Section 8 housing choice voucher program to private landlords, but a single audit or equal opportunity compliance review clearly changes the game, as anyone experienced in negotiating with bureaucrats can probably attest.) May a landlord refuse to accept Section 8 tenants? On May 8, 2013, the Cook County Board approved a resolution that prohibits landlords from rejecting tenants based on their Section 8 status.
Formerly, the Illinois Fair Housing Law precluded landlords from denying applications on the basis of such immutable characteristics as race, ethnicity, religion, sex, age, disability, presence of children, or sexual orientation.
How do low-income families obtain assistance through the Section 8 “Housing Choice Voucher” Program in Chicago?
To obtain assistance through the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, as administered by the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA), prospective renters in Chicago must earn a low-income, get lucky during one of the rarely-held waiting-list lotteries, and typically endure a long wait.