Project Based Section 8




The Project Based Section 8 program was created by the Federal Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 to assist low-income families in obtaining a place to live at an affordable rent. It was created as an alternative to public housing. It is now the largest low income housing program in the country.

No project-based Section 8 buildings have been built since 1983 when authorization for new Section 8 projects was repealed. Individuals, however, can continue to apply to live in one of these buildings and when a vacancy becomes available, if they meet eligibility criteria, will be able to take up residence.


Federal Agency

At the federal level, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) administers the program. It distributes the funds and issues regulations and policy notices which the individual owners and operators of this housing must follow.

Local Administration

Apartments assisted under project based Section 8 are generally owned by private landlords who administer the subsidies without oversight by local housing agencies; although some project-based Section 8 housing do have a local housing agency playing an administrative role.


All of the funding for the Project Based Section 8 comes from HUD. The federal government has stopped providing direct funding for Section 8. Currently the funding provided is only for operating subsidies for existing Section 8 buildings, not for new construction.

Summary of Project Based Section 8 Housing

Project-based Section 8 rental assistance is a public-private partnership to maintain affordable rental homes for low-income families. HUD provides private owners of multifamily housing either a long-term project-based rental assistance contract, a subsidized mortgage, or in some cases both, to make units affordable. Project based Section 8 makes up the difference between market rents and what low-income tenants can afford, based on paying 30% of household income for rent.

In contrast to the Section 8 voucher program, tenants in project-based buildings may not transfer their subsidies to a new location. When a tenant moves, the subsidy is made available to the next tenant to occupy the apartment

Applicants for Project Based Section 8 must meet certain eligibility criteria. These criteria include immigration status, residence, income, rent payment history, and history of criminal convictions and other misconduct. Some of these criteria are required by federal law; other criteria may be applied at the owners’ discretion. Assets are not considered when determining eligibility for this type of housing.

Families must apply separately at each project where they wish to live. Each project maintains its own waiting list which may be open or closed, depending on the number of people on the list. Although HUD does not prescribe a uniform application format, owners must develop and make public written tenant selection policies and procedures that include descriptions of the eligibility requirements and income limits for admission.