24 CFR § 982.1 - Programs: purpose and structure.
(a) General description.
(1) In the HUD Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, HUD pays rental subsidies so eligible families can afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing. The HCV program is generally administered by State or local governmental entities called public housing agencies ( PHAs). HUD provides housing assistance funds to the PHA. HUD also provides funds for PHA administration of the program.
(2) Families select and rent units that meet program housing quality standards. If the PHA approves a family's unit and tenancy, the PHA contracts with the owner to make rent subsidy payments on behalf of the family. A PHA may not approve a tenancy unless the rent is reasonable.
(3) Subsidy in the HCV program is based on a local “payment standard” that reflects the cost to lease a unit in the local housing market. If the rent is less than the payment standard, the family generally pays 30 percent of adjusted monthly income for rent. If the rent is more than the payment standard, the family pays a larger share of the rent.
(b) Tenant-based and project-based assistance.
(1) Section 8 assistance may be “tenant-based” or “project-based”. In project-based programs, rental assistance is paid for families who live in specific housing developments or units. With tenant-based assistance, the assisted unit is selected by the family. The family may rent a unit anywhere in the United States in the jurisdiction of a PHA that runs a voucher program.
(2) To receive tenant-based assistance, the family selects a suitable unit. After approving the tenancy, the PHA enters into a contract to make rental subsidy payments to the owner to subsidize occupancy by the family. The PHA contract with the owner only covers a single unit and a specific assisted family. If the family moves out of the leased unit, the contract with the owner terminates. The family may move to another unit with continued assistance so long as the family is complying with program requirements.