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Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Homeownership Program

Below is general information about the federal program that allows the Housing Assistance Payment to be used for a mortgage payment instead of rental assistance.

Eligibility Requirements :
  • On Section 8 at least one year; with no debts owed to Marin Housing (or other Housing Authority)
  • Head of Household or Responsible Adult must be employed for minimum of one year at 30 hrs/week (unless Elderly/Disabled)
  • Must be first time homebuyer
Must participate in HUD certified Homeownership Counseling Course

Minimum Income Requirements: (does not apply to Elderly/Disabled)

  • Gross annual income must be 2 times the payment standard for the size voucher held- this is minimum, but may NOT be adequate to qualify for a loan (for example: if hold 2 Bedroom voucher; income must be $3,120/ month or $37,440 per year)-income requirement. may be waived if adequate down payment
  • Welfare assistance is not accepted as income, but would be used in calculating rent
  • Must have at least enough for DOWN PAYMENT and CLOSING costs (approximately 6% of purchase price- 20% more realistic)

Special Exceptions for Elderly/Disabled Households

  • No time limits of assistance – will continue forever if eligibility continues
  • Welfare assistance allowed as income; Amount received from SSI is minimum income requirement
  • No minimum work requirements
  • Elderly/Disabled applicants still need to secure their own financing and to have adequate funds for down payment and closing costs
  • This most realistically works for households who receive inheritances, special needs trusts, a large lump sum for down payment
Aspects to consider:
  • Household must qualify and secure their own financing from a bank (MHA will refer you to a lender familiar with the program)
  • Must secure a 30 year FIXED Rate loan – no Adjustable Rate Mortgages
  • Household would need to find a unit that they could afford (a below market rate unit)
  • The assistance from the Housing Authority lasts for a maximum of 15 years (except elderly /disabled)
Program is essentially established for communities where housing is more affordable – in the $100k range- very difficult in Marin and Bay Area

How it actually works – THE FORMULA:

  • Total housing costs (mortgage, prop. taxes, homeownership dues, insurance) should equal payment standard for voucher size held (if 2 Bedroom: $1560)
  • If housing costs exceed payment standard, Marin Housing will allow household to pay maximum of 40% of monthly adjusted gross income out of pocket

For more information contact:

Gayle Suits
Family Self Sufficiency Program Coordinator/Section 8 Homeownership Program
(415) 491-2581



© 2002 Marin Housing Authority