Section 8 Housing in Ohio: Do I Qualify?


Section 8 Housing is a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and helps to support renters with a low income1. In Cuyahoga County as of 2021, over 12,000 residents were utilizing public housing (also known as Section 8), and over 30,000 people had a housing voucher2. Let’s explore the difference between these and discuss who qualifies for them.

SECTION 8 HOUSING is meant to help landlords allow low-income renters by subsidizing their property rentals. These are not government-owned properties but private residences. Therefore, section 8 offers more selection than public housing. Users will pay approximately 30% of their income towards their rent. The rules and prices are set by the landlord, and it is rent-only4. Availability is widespread throughout many cities.

PUBLIC HOUSING is property owned by the government where people are allowed to stay for little to no rent. These are often limited to low-income families and have a standard set of rules that vary county to county and state to state. It is generally harder to move out of public housing. There is an option to eventually buy the home if the tenant desires, but it must be approved by the Public Housing Authority. Public housing is generally less available than section 8, as it is not in every city4.

Eligibility for both programs is fairly similar. Eligible people typically have an income that is below 50% of the median household income, which was about 55,000 as of 2021.3 Preference is typically given to elderly or disabled applicants or to families living in substandard conditions. The waiting list can also be very long, so applying sooner is always better.

To be approved for either, you will need to:

  • Complete a background check
  • Provide proof of income
  • List all of the people you’re living with, including pets.

Even if you have a less-than-perfect record, these housing programs are worth looking into if you need immediate help with housing! Apply for Cuyahoga County’s voucher program at , or search for your local Public Housing Agency at


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