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Housing Choice Voucher/Section 8


Family at dinner tableThe HCV Program operates and enforces the rules written in the


The Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) Program provides rent assistance for very low and moderate income persons in privately owned rental apartments, flats, townhomes or houses.

The Section 8 program permits landlords renting sound housing at reasonable rental rates to receive a portion of the rent for a subsidized tenant directly from the Housing Authority.

How does the Section 8 program work?

The Section 8 Program has limited dollars available in order to issue a Voucher to applicants.

  • Applicants who receive a Voucher will have 120 days to find a qualifying unit which the owner must be willing to rent under the program.
  • No Extensions in voucher term will be granted.
  • The Housing Authority inspects and approves the unit if it meets requirements.
  • The Housing Authority signs a contract with the landlord to pay a portion of the rent.
  • The Voucher holder signs a lease with the landlord and pays the balance of the rent.

Once participating in the Section 8 Program, a family remains income eligible as long as the family’s share of the rent does not exceed the Payment Standard used to calculate the maximum housing assistance payment.

Who is eligible to be assisted?

Anyone whose income is within the income limits set by the federal government. Assets will be considered in calculating household income. You can find the income limits and more information on eligibility here.

Can a voucher holder rent a unit anywhere?

The Lake County Housing Authority’s jurisdiction is all of Lake County EXCLUDING the cities of Waukegan & North Chicago. Portability allows a Voucher holder to secure an approvable unit in any Housing Authority’s jurisdiction if that Housing Authority operates a Section 8 Program. If a family does not live in the Lake County Housing Authority’s jurisdiction when the voucher is issued, they may be required to live in Lake County’s jurisdiction for at least one year before moving to another jurisdiction. The Authority must not approve a unit if the owner is the parent, child, grandparent, sister or brother of any family member unless the unit provides a reasonable accommodation for a family member who is a person with a disability. 

Is there a limit on the allowable rent?

At the time the family signs the lease for initial occupancy in the unit, the family must pay less than 40% of its adjusted monthly income for its rent share. The owner may seek an increase after the initial lease term which may result in the family paying in excess of 40% of income for its rent share. The rent for the unit must be reasonable, which generally means a rent to owner that is not more than rent charged for comparable units in the private unassisted market including rents charged by the owner for a comparable unassisted unit in the building or on the premises.

Can a voucher holder rent any size unit?

The size unit for which a family qualifies will be set by the Housing Authority on the basis of the family’s size and makeup. If a family can rent a larger unit and pay less than 40% of its adjusted monthly income at lease-up and the unit meets all Section 8 Program requirements, the unit will be accepted to the program. A smaller unit than the size set by the Housing Authority may be rented provided there is at least one living/sleeping room for every two persons in the family.

Can the voucher holder continue to rent his/her present unit?

Yes –If the landlord is willing, if the unit meets program requirements and if the rent is reasonable.

How much help does an assisted household receive?

If the gross rent for the unit is below the payment standard, your share of the rent will be the higher of: 30% of your monthly adjusted income or 10% of your monthly gross income. However, the first time you sign the lease for the unit you must pay less than 40% of your monthly adjusted income for your rent share.
A single parent with two children rents an apartment for $688/month, all utilities included. Household income is $500/month, how much rent will the family pay? 30% of her adjusted monthly income is $126.00. In this case, the payment standard is $688 which is used to calculate the maximum housing assistance payment. As long as the family rents a unit for no more than the payment standard, the family will pay no more than 30% of their income for rent cost ($126.00 in this case). At the time a lease is signed, HUD regulations will not permit paying more than 40% of the family’s adjusted income, or $168.00 in this example. After the initial lease term, if the owner increases the rent, it is possible the family could then pay more than 30% or 40% of its income for its rent cost.

Who may apply?

Anyone may apply for rental assistance with the Lake County Housing Authority’s Section 8 Program when the list is open. Selection will be determined by date and time received subject to the preferences claimed. You must keep your Section 8 pre-application updated regarding income, family composition and address. Such changes must be made in writing and include your Social Security Number if you have one. Once each year, within a prescribed time period, you will be required to update your Section 8 pre-application on file with the Authority or your name will be removed from the Section 8 waiting list. Once removed, you will have to obtain and return a new completed pre-application at the time the waiting list is open.

How can I apply for the Section 8 program?

You can apply online at when the waiting list is open. If you are selected and added to the waiting list, you must keep the Section 8 pre-application current by writing the office with any changes concerning name, address, phone number, family composition, income and preferences. You may also email your pre- application information updates to From time to time the Authority may close the Section 8 waiting list because it has become so long that we cannot reasonably estimate when we may be able to assist an applicant.