Section 8 Rental Subsidy Programs

Section 8, also known as the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, provides federal funding for subsidies for that help eligible low-income families to rent decent, safe, and affordable housing in a neighborhood of their choice. Examples of these rental subsidy programs are Tenant Based Vouchers, Enhanced Vouchers, and Project Based Vouchers.

The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) also administers other rental subsidy programs.

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Tenant-Based Vouchers

Most of HPD's rental subsidies fall in the category of Tenant-Based Vouchers. Eligible households lease apartments in a neighborhood of their choice and pay 30% of their adjusted income toward rent. The subsidy, which HPD pays directly to the landlord, covers the difference between the tenant contribution and the rent, up to a specified limit known as the Payment Standard.

Under the Tenant-Based Voucher program, New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) will issue you a voucher which you can use to search for an apartment. You will have a specified number of days in which to search for a unit of your choice that meets program requirements for size, rent, and quality. 

Visit GoSection8 which lists available affordable apartments In some cases, this may be the apartment in which you currently reside. If you do not find a unit within the time required, your voucher may expire and you will not be subsidized.

The rent on the apartment you select must not exceed rents for comparable units nearby, and the unit must pass a housing quality inspection. Once these tests are passed, you will sign a lease, the landlord will sign a Housing Assistance Payment contract with HPD, and your subsidy will begin.

Rent Calculations

You will be responsible for paying approximately 30% of your adjusted household income toward rent, 10% of your gross income, or $50 (whichever is greater) and HPD will pay the remainder of the rent directly to the landlord, up to program limits, or "payment standards."  If you choose to lease a unit with a higher rent than the payment standard, you will be responsible for paying the difference between the payment standard and the rent. However, HPD will not approve an apartment for which your total payment is higher than 40% of your income.

Example 1: You live in a 2-person household. Your income is $1,000 per month and the rent on your one-bedroom apartment is $1,305, which is also the maximum subsidy HPD will pay for a one-bedroom apartment. You will pay $300 per month (30% of your $1,000 monthly income) toward the rent, and HPD will pay your landlord $1,005 (the $1,305 rent minus your $300 tenant share).

Example 2: You live in a 2-person household. Your income is $1,000 per month and the rent on your one-bedroom apartment is $1,400. HPD will still pay your landlord $1,005, but you will pay $395 ($300 for your regular 30% share, plus $95 for the difference between the $1,400 rent and the $1,305 payment standard). Because $395 is still less than 40% of your $1,000 monthly in-come, it qualifies as an acceptable tenant share.

For tenants receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the tenant rent is determined by the administering agency, Human Resources Administration (HRA) in conjunction with the State of New York, which establishes a special rental payment schedule. This schedule is designed to ensure that the tenant's share of rent is equal to the housing grant that HRA allows.

Enhanced Vouchers

Also known as "tenant protection" or "sticky" vouchers, enhanced vouchers are used to preserve affordability for eligible households residing in buildings undergoing housing conversion actions such as mortgage prepayments, project-based opt-outs, HUD enforcement actions, and HUD property disposition. The income limits for enhanced vouchers are higher than for tenant-based vouchers, and the subsidy is not limited to the Payment Standard.

In many instances, rents increase when the building converts, often to market rates. Vouchers will be offered only to icome eligible applicants residing in the development at the time of conversion. HPD works closely with building management to ensure that all tenants have the opportunity to apply. Some differences between Enhanced and Tenant-Based Vouchers are listed below.

Eligibility

Building management is responsible to inform tenants that the development is converting and that Enhanced Vouchers will be offered to eligible tenants. HPD will inform tenants of their eligibility status shortly after they apply for a voucher, and eligible tenants will be invited to an informational meeting with HPD. Income limits for Enhanced tenants can be up to 95% of Area Median Income (AMI) (see the AMI chart).

Special Payment Standard

For a family that stays at the development, the payment standard used to calculate the Section 8 Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) is the gross rent (total rent to owner plus the applicable HPD utility allowance for any tenant-supplied utilities) of the family’s unit, regardless of whether the gross rent exceeds the normally applicable HPD payment standard.

Rent Calculations

By law, families that receive enhanced voucher assistance must pay for rent no less than the rent the family was paying as of the effective date of the conversion. This is referred to as the “enhanced voucher minimum rent.” If a family remains at the development and is subsidized with an enhanced voucher, the gross rent under the voucher program must be the greater of:

  • 30% of monthly adjusted family income; or
  • 10% of monthly gross income; or
  • The enhanced voucher minimum rent (Tenant share of the rent prior to conversion)

The enhanced voucher minimum rent can be reduced if a family’s income declines at any time by 15% or more.

Family Right to Move

Like regular tenant-based voucher holders, Enhanced voucher holders can move anywhere in the country where Section 8 is administered and continue to receive assistance with the rent, if the move is approved by HPD. However, if an Enhanced family moves outside of their development, they will only be subsidized based on the local PHA’s regular payment standard. For example, if the family decides to move outside of the development to somewhere else in New York City, the Payment Standardfor the ZIP code they move to would apply, and may be lower than the Pyment Standard for the Enhanced building.

Project Based Vouchers

Under the Project-Based Voucher (PBV) program, HPD enters into a contract with the owner for specified units and for a specified term. Unlike the tenant-based program, the assistance is tied to the unit. Families may move out of a project based unit after one year with continued assistance from a tenant based voucher if one is available.

Similar to the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, Project Based Vouchers (PBV) require tenants to pay 30% of their income towards rent. However, whereas the regular Section 8 subsidy is tied to a tenant, the Project-Based Voucher subsidy is attached to a designated unit. Prior to occupying a PBV unit, eligible households will be provided with detailed information that explains their rights and responsibilities under the program.

Below are documents that list developments with units receiving HPD Project-Based Voucher subsidy, developments under construction that have entered into an agreement for future units to receive HPD Project-Based Voucher subsidy, and projects that have been conditionally selected to receive Project-Based Voucher subsidy in the future. Also listed are the eligibility requirements for each building and the development’s contact information. If you believe you meet the eligibility requirements for any of these buildings and would like to apply for Project-Based Voucher assistance, please contact the development directly.