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Berkeley Housing Authority
Berkeley Housing Authority

Berkeley Housing Authority
Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8)

The Housing Choice Voucher Program, commonly referred to as Section 8, is the largest United States affordable housing program funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). See the Section 8 Administrative Plan for a detailed look at the program.

The program’s primary purpose is to provide rental subsidy to low-income families for affordable decent, safe, and sanitary housing.  This tenant-based rental assistance program ensures that families are not forced to spend an unreasonable portion of their monthly income on shelter and allows them flexibility in selecting a community or neighborhood in which to live.

Eligibility for the voucher is based on a family’s household income. Seventy-five percent of new vouchers issued must be made available to families earning less than 30 percent of the area median income (AMI).

The voucher covers a portion of the rent and the tenant is expected to pay the balance.  The tenant’s share of rent is an affordable percentage of their income, which is generally between 30 to 40 percent of their monthly-adjusted gross income for rent and utilities. Current information on Section 8 Payment Standards, Income Guidelines, and Utility Allowance schedules are available.

The family searches for a rental unit in the private market with a landlord willing to accept the voucher.  Once they find a unit, the BHA will inspect to ensure that it meets HUD’s Housing Quality Standards (HQS).  When the unit meets HQS and the rent is deemed appropriate for comparable rents for that size unit, the family and the landlord sign a lease.  When the family moves into the home, the landlord and HACA sign a Housing Assistance Payments Contract (HAPC).  The subsidy is paid to the landlord directly by BHA on behalf of the participating family.  The family then pays the difference between the actual rent charged by the landlord and the amount subsidized by the program.

A family can move without jeopardizing their participation in the program as long as they notify BHA ahead of time, terminate the existing lease in accordance with the lease provisions and find acceptable alternate housing.

A family in the Section 8 program may choose to exercise a portability right that allows the family to move anywhere in the United States where there is a local housing authority that administers the Section 8 Program.  Their assistance travels with them. 


Please be aware of the “Section 8 Consolidation Program” ( and other similar programs that request a fee to apply for Section 8 or Public Housing - this is a private company that is not affiliated with any Housing Authority or HUD. You do not need to pay to apply for any federally subsidized program. If you need to file a complaint against the “Section 8 Consolidation Program”, please contact the Better Business Bureau at:

330 N. Wabash, Suite 2006

Chicago, IL 60611-7621

Phone: (312) 832-0500

Fax: (312) 832-9985




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Berkeley Housing Authority, 1947 Center Street, 5th Floor, Berkeley, CA 94704
Questions or comments? Email: Phone: (510) 981-5470
(510) 981-CITY/2489 or 311 from any landline in Berkeley
TTY: (510) 981-6903