The Housing Choice Voucher Program, known as Section 8, helps participants who are low-income rent housing from property owners in the private market. Section 8 participants pay the property owner a portion of the rent based upon their income (30%-40% of their income) and OHA pays the difference.
Section 8 participants are free to choose where they live and to transfer their assistance when they move. Through a transfer process called portability, Voucher participants can move almost anywhere in the country.
Units rented through the Section 8 program must pass a basic health and safety inspection, known as a Housing Quality Standards (HQS) inspection. The rent for the unit must also be reasonable and comparable to rents for similar units in the neighborhood.
Property owners who participate in the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program can receive market rate rents and reliable assistance payments from OHA. Participating owners continue to manage their rental units and screen and select their own tenants.
OHA's Section 8 program currently serves nearly 11,000 low-income families in Oakland. Over the past year, OHA returned over $140 million to the community in the form of Housing Assistance Payments to more than 5,200 participating property owners.
Section 8 is funded and regulated by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD). The program is governed by HUD regulations, OHA's Administrative Plan, and local, state and federal laws.
Section 8 is administered by individual Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) serving local areas. The Oakland Housing Authority (OHA) serves the city of Oakland. Other cities within Alameda County are served by the Housing Authority of the City of Alameda, the Housing Authority of the County of Alameda, the Berkeley Housing Authority, and the Livermore Housing Authority.