How does the Section 8 homeownership program work?


Once your local PHA receives your application and accepts you as a Section 8 homeownership beneficiary, there are a few steps to complete to get your home.

The first is participating in pre-assistance counseling. The HUD provides counseling to prospective homeowners to prepare them on various topics, including:

  • Financial management.
  • Home maintenance.
  • Home Financing.

The next step is setting measurable deadlines for the Section 8 homeownership process. The PHA will generally give Section 8 beneficiaries a time frame to locate a home, obtain a loan and complete the home purchase. 

Finding a home can be taxing, as the process entails a lot of documentation and property visits. Once you find one that suits your needs, the PHA must conduct an inspection to ensure the home meets housing quality standards set by the HUD.

The inspection will determine if the home meets standards in three main areas: health, safety and functionality. 

If a home meets all standards, the beneficiaries may begin steps to purchase the home and contact mortgage lenders. Some PHAs only allocate Section 8 homeownership funds toward monthly payments for home expenses.

Others may allow recipients to put funds toward the down payment or closing costs. Generally, the Section 8 homeownership program covers some of the following:

  • Monthly premiums for mortgage insurance
  • Taxes
  • Utilities
  • Routine maintenance
  • Repairs and replacements

It is important to note that the Section 8 mortgage assistance does not last throughout the entire mortgage term, except for the elderly and disabled.

In some cases, the maximum term is 10 years. Some PHAs have a 15-year limit on providing assistance for mortgages that have terms over 20 years. This means that homeowners will need to pay the remainder on their own.

Receiving homeownership assistance comes with responsibilities on the owner’s part. He or she must live in the home, fulfill all requirements of the mortgage and the Section 8 program and attend mandatory counseling. Failure to do this may result in being disqualified from Section 8 and the homeownership program.