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Section 8 Rental Assistance Programs

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Tenant Based Section 8 Housing Assistance Programs:
The Section 8 Rental Voucher Program increases affordable housing choices for very low-income households by allowing families to choose privately owned rental housing. The Montana public housing authority (PHA) generally pays the landlord the difference between 30 percent of household income and the PHA-determined payment standard-about 80 to 100 percent of the fair market rent (FMR). The rent must be reasonable.

Demand for the subsidy program exceeds the available supply of funds and there is an extensive waiting list.

Since this program involves several processing procedures both before and after being placed on a waiting list, interested families are encouraged to inquire at their local Section 8 Field Agency.


Project Based Section 8:
The Project Based Section 8 agency is the contract administrator for properties that HUD manages throughout the state. There is a list of properties (requires Acrobat Reader) in the documents section of this site. They provide rental assistance to the projects instead of the tenants. Landlords perform administrative tasks at the local level. The agency performs the property reviews, property management, and make payments to owners. The Project Based Program renews contracts as they expire.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are tenant-based vouchers?
Tenant-based vouchers increase affordable housing choices for very low-income families. Families with a tenant-based voucher choose and lease safe, decent, and affordable privately-owned rental housing.

What families are eligible to apply for tenant-based vouchers?
Very low-income families (i.e families with incomes below 50% of area median income) and a few specific categories of families with incomes up to 80% of the area median income. (HUD determines median income levels for each area annually—see below for our counties.)

How does a PHA determine if a family is income eligible?
The PHA compares the family’s annual income (gross income) with the HUD-established very low-income limit or low-income limit for the area. The family’s gross income cannot exceed this limit.

How do families obtain tenant-based vouchers?
Families apply to the Montana Department of Commerce (MDOC). You may pick up an application at any of our offices or call us and we will send you one. When an eligible family comes to the top of the housing choice voucher waiting list (about 4 years in our operating area), the MDOC issues a housing choice voucher to the family, if they are income eligible.

How does a family obtain an apartment once they have a voucher?
It is the responsibility of a family to find a unit that meets their needs. If the family finds a unit that meets the housing quality standards, the rent is reasonable, and the unit meets other program requirements, MDOC executes a HAP contract with the property owner. This contract authorizes MDOC to make subsidy payments on behalf of the family. If the family moves out of the unit, the contract with the owner ends and the family can move with continued assistance to another unit under certain cercumstances.

How much rent do vouchers cover?
MDOC pays the owner the difference between 30 percent of adjusted family income and a PHA determined payment standard (see the payment standard chart below) or the gross rent rent plus utilities from the HUD utility chart) for the unit, whichever is lower. The family may choose a unit with a higher gross rent than the payment standard and pay the the difference. However, the family is prohibited from paying more than 40% of their adjusted monthly income if the gross rent is more than the payment standard when rental assistance begins.