Section 8 is a Rental Assistance Program funded by HUD which subsidizes the rental of privately-owned property.

The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program (HCV) is administered by the Housing Authority of the City of Bessemer with funding provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The HCVP is a federally-funded program offering much needed rental assistance to low-income families through the issuance of housing vouchers. These vouchers give our families the freedom to select decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private rental market. Participating landlords provide our families with a greater choice and better housing opportunities for rental units located throughout the City of Bessemer and Jefferson County.

The Housing Authority of the City of Bessemer is currently authorized to administer 473 Housing Choice Vouchers. As funds are available, eligible families are selected from the waiting list. The families are required to pay 30% of their adjusted income toward rent and utilities. These payments are made directly to the landlord. The Housing Authority pays the remaining balance of the rent based on comparable rents in the area of operation of the Housing Authority.

In addition to the Housing Choice Vouchers, the authority also administers 70 Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) vouchers. The VASH program combines HCV rental assistance for homeless veterans with case management and clinical services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) at its medical centers in the community. Applicants for the VASH vouchers are not taken from the regular Voucher waiting list but are clients of the VA medical center.

Applications are taken as funds are available. When HUD notifies the Agency that funds are available, the Housing Authority will post public notices in advance as to time and location of acceptance of applications. Families who meet eligibility and income requirements, which include a criminal history and do not owe a prior Authority, are placed on the waiting list based on the preferences they are eligible for and the date of application. As families reach the top of the wait list, income is verified as well as other required verifications and if eligible, they are issued a Voucher.

Vouchers are also portable. A Voucher holder is able to use the voucher anywhere in the United States where another Housing Authority is located to administer the voucher.

All voucher units must meet a "rent reasonableness" test. This means that rents for assisted units are not higher than unassisted units. This is done each time a unit is leased, when a landlord requests a rent increase, and if the fair market rent decreases 5%.

All units must meet Housing Quality Standards which insures the Tenant a decent and safe place in which to create a home for their family.