Learn About Housing Options

The Section 8 housing voucher program aims to help low-income families and individuals find affordable homes. With this in mind, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) designed the program to cover many different housing options across the country.

This includes both single-family homes, apartments and many properties in between. That way, applicants can utilize their housing vouchers on homes that best suit their needs. Additional resources are also available for seniors living on fixed incomes, as well as first-time home buyers. 

Whether you prefer to rent low income apartments or houses, the housing voucher program can help. If you are unsure which property type is right for you, it is important to compare your options. Finding a home that fits your household can save you money and provide extra perks as well. 

For assistance with this, your local public housing agency (PHA) can provide you with resources to help you narrow down your options. 

What types of Section 8 housing are available?

Section 8 benefits are available for many different types of housing in order to accommodate households of various shapes and sizes.

As long as the property meets Section 8 standards, is program-approved and accepts housing vouchers, it is possible to gain assistance for almost any residence, including:

  • Single-family homes.
  • Townhouses.
  • Apartments.
  • Studios.
  • Efficiencies.

Based on your needs, one style of residence may be more suitable than another. This is especially true when you are comparing houses and apartments that accept Section 8 vouchers by using housing lists.

Each of these options has its own advantages and disadvantages to take into consideration. Often, choosing between renting an apartment or a house is the first step to finding your next home.

Section 8 Apartments vs. Houses

During your search, you will find that there are several differences between Section 8 apartments for rent and house rentals. Though both options can provide affordable housing, it is likely that one or the other is more suitable for your needs.

For instance, most low income apartments are appropriate for small families, couples and single tenants. Conversely, houses provide more space for larger families, often for a higher price. Expect to find differences in various aspects, including:

  • Price.
  • Size.
  • Amenities.
  • Location.
  • Tenant responsibilities.

It is important to perform an apartment vs house comparison before you finalize your decision. The option you select may include additional benefits that you otherwise would not have access to.

However, keep in mind that this is not the only important decision you must make when choosing somewhere to live. 

Learn About Other Low Income Housing Options

Once you decide which style of home you want, it is possible to narrow your search down even further. Depending on your needs, certain housing options may grant you additional benefits and savings.

For example, there are many different apartment types to choose from. Studio apartments allow you to maximize savings by sacrificing extra square footage. Renting an efficiency can save you even more, as these units are typically the smallest available.

If you live alone, these options offer more benefits for your budget than renting a larger apartment or house.

Similarly, senior housing options provide additional benefits for elderly applicants. Communities with 55 and older restrictions usually offer apartments at lower rates. When combined with housing vouchers, this can help seniors living independently on limited incomes.

Other options are also available for those who need in-home assistance with cleaning, cooking, transportation and medical care.

How to Find the Right Section 8 Home for You

With so many types of low income apartments and houses to choose from, it can be difficult to know which option is best. However, there are certain factors that can help you decide. In order to learn how to find the right home for you, keep the following in mind:

  • Consider which location is most convenient. The location of your home affects your commuting time and your access to public transportation and local amenities. It also determines the safety levels in your neighborhood, which is especially important if you have children. In addition, keep in mind that Section 8 apartments are often concentrated in cities, while most houses are in less densely populated areas. 
  • Decide how much room you need. It is important that your Section 8 home properly accommodate your household. If you live with several family members, you may need additional bedrooms and bathrooms. Furthermore, multiple family members means you will likely have more furniture, possessions and vehicles that require additional storage space. 
  • Pay attention to extra amenities. Certain property types have specific amenities available to you. For example, houses often provide private laundry appliances, while apartments may offer communal laundry areas. Some low income apartments also include access to gyms, pools and other amenities. Alternatively, houses are more likely to provide additional space for parking and storage.

Find Out About HUD Housing Resources

The voucher program offers several resources to help you choose the right home. To begin with, Section 8 housing lists are available in a variety of places online.

For example, the HUD website provides a helpful apartment search feature. Through this application you can browse program-approved properties in your desired location.

The local public housing agency (PHA) that services that area can also give suggestions for qualifying properties. 

Some Section 8 resources are even designed to help renters use their benefits to become homeowners. Recent program expansions allow PHAs to provide homeownership assistance to qualified applicants.

This initiative helps renters learn how to become first-time homeowners. Interested applicants who complete homeownership counseling and other requirements use their housing benefits for rent-to-own homes or mortgage payments. 

What to Look for When Choosing Section 8 Housing

Keep in mind that not all properties are approved as low income housing options. Therefore, it is important to make sure the home you choose fits your needs as well as program qualifications. In order to do so, you must learn what to look for during your search.

The home you choose is required to meet certain safety standards and offer an affordable rental cost. If the property is not already program-approved, the local PHA must perform an inspection before you can sign a lease.