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Public Housing/Section 8

The New York City Housing Authority

The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) provides affordable housing for low and moderate income residents in 334 public housing developments, providing a total of more than 180,000 units which NYCHA manages and maintains throughout the five boroughs.  Public housing is subsidized housing where tenants generally pay 30% of their income towards the rent.  In public housing the subsidy is attached to the housing unit where the individual or family resides.

Eligibility for public housing is based on NYCHA’s working and need based priorities that are described in more detail in the link on eligibility below.  There is no time limit for how long a household can stay in public housing provided they follow NYCHA’s rules and regulations.

Section 8

The Section 8 Housing Voucher Choice program was created by the Federal Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 to assist low income families in finding a place to live at affordable rents, in the community. There are two kinds of Section 8 assistance: tenant based and project based. Tenant based assistance is provided in the form of housing vouchers. Generally speaking, in tenant based Section 8 the voucher is “tied” to the tenant instead of a particular housing unit. Project based Section 8 covers all apartments in a given housing development, similar to public housing. The voucher is “tied” to the project, not the tenant, meaning that tenants who leave the project also leave the assistance behind — unless specifically approved for a transfer to another project based unit.

Section 8 tenants also generally pay 30 percent of their income for rent, and the balance of the rent is paid by local public housing authorities, or PHA’s. Historically, the vast majority of Section 8 vouchers have been distributed by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). The information provided here is primarily based on NYCHA rules and regulations, though it should be noted that NYCHA is not currently accepting Section 8 applications.

n New York City, there is a second PHA that provides Section 8 — the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD).  In addition, the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) administers a state-wide Section 8 program.  Additional information is available through the HPD and DHCR links above, as each Authority awards vouchers and administers the program separately and distinctly.

The links below provide a more complete description regarding eligibility, application, and placement for both public housing and Section 8.