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Section 8 Vouchers

If you are a tenant with a Section 8 voucher and need assistance, come into our office at 1663 Mission St., Suite 504 to complete an intake form anytime Mon-Thurs between 1 and 5pm. (Please arrive by 4:30pm at the latest to give yourself time to complete the form.)

The Section 8 program is now officially known as the “Housing Choice Voucher (HCV)” program. This program began in the ’70s in order to break up the pockets of poverty created by the original public housing program and to involve private landlords in providing low-income housing.

In this program, which is administered by the Housing Authority and funded by HUD, a private landlord owns and manages the units and part of the rent is paid for by the Housing Authority, so that tenants pay only an amount that they can afford (between 30-40% of their income).

Two main types of Section 8:

Tenant-based Section 8

(officially known as “Housing Choice Vouchers”):
Under the Section 8 voucher program, a tenant is given a voucher by the Housing Authority that they can use to rent from any landlord who will accept it.The voucher enables them to pay only an affordable percent of their income, while the Housing Authority makes up the rest by sending money directly to the landlord each month.

Section 8 tenants can be found in any part of the city. Rules specific to the tenant-based voucher program can be found in the HUD HCV Guidebook and the SFHA’s Section 8 HCV Administrative Plan.

Project-based Section 8:

With this type of voucher, the subsidy is attached to the building itself and is not portable. The owner is given a certain number of vouchers per year so that they can provide units at 30% of income to eligible tenants. When a tenant moves into the unit, they are charged rent according to their income. When they move from the unit, their rent is no longer subsidized but, the unit remains affordable for the next tenant who moves in.

Many non-profit developers use this type of Section 8 to provide affordable housing. Examples in SF where project-based vouchers are used include the Apollo Hotel, the Dalt, Fillmore Marketplace, Folsom/Dore apartments, etc. The SFHA’s Section 8 Project-Based Administrative plan applies to these units.

Two types of “special” Section 8 vouchers:

1. HOPWA (for people with HIV/AIDS), operated by the SF Redevelopment Agency.

2. Shelter plus Care (for homeless with disabilities/ substance abuse problems), operated in conjunction with the SF Department of Human Services (See CFR 24 Part 574 for program rules). For local program information click here. Aside from the additional rules linked to above, Section 8 tenant’s rights regulations apply.

SRO Hotels: There are some unique rules that apply to Section 8 SRO hotels (CFR 24 982.602-605).

*Note: Not all “affordable” housing is federally funded through HUD, so certain programs (especially city or state funded programs like “care not cash”) are not addressed on this site. Also, there are some smaller, specialized HUD programs that we do not have information on here. To find out about those programs go directly to the HUD website at