Section 8 Home Ownership Program
What is the Homeownership Voucher Program?
The Homeownership Voucher Program allows families with Section 8 vouchers to use their vouchers to help pay the mortgage on a home they buy. Local Public Housing Agencies decide if they want to take part in the homeownership program or not.
Families approved for Section 8 homeownership vouchers can switch from rental assistance to mortgage assistance when they are ready to buy a house. To qualify, families must be first-time homebuyers and they must find a house to buy that meets the program standards.
The Section 8 homeownership program is funded by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as part of its Section 8 housing assistance program.
Am I eligible?
To qualify for the Homeownership Voucher Program, a family:
- must have a Section 8 voucher from a Public Housing Agency (PHA) that takes part in the Homeownership Program
- must be a first-time homebuyer
- must attend a homeownership counseling program approved by their PHA
- must obtain their own financing, subject to the approval of their PHA
- must attend any post-purchase homeownership programs required by their PHA
- must meet the financial requirements
- must meet the work requirements
- must buy a home that meets the program standards
What are the financial requirements?
To be eligible, the family:
must have an annual gross income equal to or greater than the federal minimum hourly wage multiplied by 2,000 hours. The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 (as of July 24 2009). Therefore, the current minimum gross income is $14,500 per year. The income requirement is less for elderly or disabled families.
Note: Public assistance is not counted in meeting the minimum income requirement unless the head of household or spouse is elderly or disabled.
must make a 3% down payment on their home. Of this down payment, 1% must come from the family's own funds and the remaining 2% may come from the family's funds, a gift, a grant, or another source.
Note: Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) offer matched savings to help families put money aside for a down payment.
- must be able to pay closing costs, including lawyer's fees and other costs, that are due when the home is purchased.
- must be able to pay the family's share of homeownership expenses (minus Section 8 assistance) as well as other monthly expenses. Your local housing agency will review your homeownership expenses as well as your family's other expenses and decide if the house is affordable.
What are the work requirements?
Families applying for Section 8 homeownership assistance, except for elderly or disabled families, must meet certain work requirements. The work requirements are:
- At least one adult in the family must be working full-time (a minimum of 30 hours per week).
- At least one adult in the family must have been employed continuously during the year before receiving Section 8 homeownership assistance.
What type of house can I buy?
The house you buy must meet these program standards:
- The home must be a single-family home or a single unit in a condominium or cooperative. You may not buy an entire multi-family house under this program.
- The house must pass an inspection by your Public Housing Agency and by a professional home inspector that you hire.
- You must plan to live in the house you buy.
What benefits will I get?
You will get these benefits:
Your Public Housing Agency will make a monthly homeownership assistance payment on your behalf for up to 15 years if the term of your mortgage is 20 years of more. Otherwise the limit is 10 years. There is no time limit for elderly or disabled families. Your PHA may pay your mortgage lender directly, or may give the payment to you.
Section 8 will help pay for the following homeownership expenses:
- mortgage principal and interest
- mortage insurance
- real estate taxes
- homeowner's insurance
- utility allowance
- allowance for maintenance and repairs
- loans for major home repairs
- loans to make the house accessible for family members with disabilities
- condo or coop monthly maintenance and operating fees
If your total homeownership expenses are less than or equal to the payment standard in your community, you will pay 30% of your adjusted monthly income toward your expenses and Section 8 will pay the rest.
For explanations, see How is adjusted income calculated for Section 8? and What is the payment standard?
If your total homeownership expenses are greater than the payment standard in your community, you must pay the extra amount. If your total homeownership expenses will be too high, the PHA will not approve the house.
You must live in your house to get these benefits.
How do I apply
To apply for a Section 8 Homeownership Voucher, you should contact the public housing agency in your community [Click on 'Home' link on top of this page], or call the Section 8 Information and Resource Center at 1-800-955-2232.