Where to Find Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8)

The Housing Choice Voucher Program (known as Section 8 Tennant-Based Assistance) helps low-income families, older adults, and people with disabilities pay for privately-owned rental housing. Renters pay at least 30 percent of their income for their housing. Local public housing authorities (PHAs) pay the balance of the fair market rent value directly to participating landlords.

Income Eligibility

Your local PHA can tell you what the income requirements are for this program. Call the local PHA for where you want to live for specifics, but you can use this online tool to check your eligibility.  Select the state and then the county where you want to live.  Your family income needs to be less than the “Very Low (50 percent)” income, but you might get a higher priority on the waitlist if your family income is in that “Extremely Low (30 percent)” income range.

Rental Cost Eligibility

Each PHA sets its own county standard for how much rent can be. This standard includes the total cost of rent and utilities.  Call the PHA for specifics but you can use this online tool to check the fair market rent for the county where you want to live.  If you have a live-in aide/caregiver you may be eligible to be approved for an additional bedroom as a reasonable accommodation.  See this tip sheet or contact the PHA for specifics.

Waiting Lists

Every PHA has its own waiting list rules. You may get a higher spot on the list if you have a disability or an extremely low income (less than 30 percent of the county or metro area’s typical income). If you are on a Medicaid waiver, you could use the HCBS Rent Subsidy Program if you are on the waiting list or not eligible for a housing choice voucher.

How to Apply

People apply for the Housing Choice Voucher Program at their PHA, but they must find their own housing. Housing can include single-family homes, townhouses, and apartments.  The Iowa Compass tip sheet Finding Accessible Housing has tips on finding landlords who have accessible housing for people with disabilities and who accept housing choice vouchers.

Apply for the Housing Choice Voucher Program through the Local Public Housing Authority or by contacting the Des Moines Field Office at (515) 284-4512.

For more help with Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rental programs contact the Public and Indian Housing Information Resource Center at (800) 955-2232.