Three Myths about the Housing Choice Voucher Program

Williams_family_cropYou know that disabled vet down the street? Or that single mother of three? How about that retired guy in the wheel chair who works part-time at the local grocery store? All these people could be participants in the Housing Choice Voucher program.

There are many surprising facts about the participants in the Housing Choice Voucher program, and many misperceptions. Here are three of the top myths about the program and the people who benefit from it:

MYTH 1: People who receive vouchers through the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program (formerly known as the Section 8 Program) just want a handout and are not good neighbors.

FACT: The vast majority of voucher holders have income that is just not enough to afford rent for housing. Nearly half are elderly or have a disability, and most others have at least one job, with many also raising children.* Voucher holders often want to live in and contribute to a thriving community, just like anyone else.

MYTH 2: HCV program participants don’t pay their rent on time and destroy property.

FACT: The HCV program expects participants to comply with the lease and program requirements, pay their share of the rent on time, and maintain the rental unit in good condition. If a participant in the HCV program causes property damage or fails to make rental payments, he or she may be evicted like any other resident, and may be terminated from the HCV program.

MYTH 3: Participants in the HCV program want to live in the inner city.

FACT:  HCV participants are able to live in any neighborhood where  landlords are willing to rent to them. HCV holders want to live in safe communities with good schools for their children, with an easy commute to their jobs, just like many other people.

* Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, December 2011.

The Consider the Person Campaign is designed to ensure all families are able to have housing in areas of opportunity. The campaign is focused on changing the hearts and minds of landlords and communities about participants in the Housing Choice Voucher Program so they may live in any neighborhood they choose.