The Housing Choice Voucher Program

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In 2015, 19 million people in America were in need of public housing assistance (Housing and Urban Development, 2015), over 500,000 people were homeless on any given night, and of those, almost forty percent were people in families (National Alliance to End Homelessness, 2015). The Department of Health and Human Services defines housing instability as a reliance on or return to public assistance. This includes individuals struggling to pay rent, those living in homeless shelters, and in unsheltered locations. More people fit within this definition because since 2000, incomes of low-income families have declined, less secure jobs with livable wages are offered, and rent rates have rose (National Coalition for the Homeless, 2009).
Many low-income
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To meet the high demand, this federal housing program is administered locally by Public Housing Agencies (PHA). Additionally, the recipient is responsible for finding a home that is in compliance with basic housing quality standards (HQS), which includes, but are not limited to, having appropriate thermal conditions, working smoke detectors, and illuminating lights and electricity. If the space meets all criteria, then the local PHA will approve and subsidize the rental home, and the three parties –PHA, tenant, and landlord—must adhere to the terms of the lease and terms under the voucher program.
In addition to administering the vouchers, local Public Housing Agencies also calculate the maximum amount of housing assistance allowable. According to federal regulations, tenants who receive section 8 pay thirty percent of their adjusted gross income for rent and utilities. HUD sets thirty percent as the maximum percentage because studies show that any percentage above thirty percent will affect individuals’ ability to buy food, clothing, and other necessary expenses (HUD,
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It found that the need for foster care placements was cut by more than half, that children did not move as frequently from one school to another, and that the number of child abuse reports decreased (2015). Additionally, Moving to Opportunity Experiment found that children of families with vouchers were 32 percent more likely to attend college and earn 31 percent more as young adults than low-income children without the voucher or other supportive assistance (CBPP, 2011). Clearly, a safe and decent home leads to a better life for children in low income families and also improves children’s future

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