Federal Leased Housing Assistance in Private Accommodations: Section 8

The public housing program, which does not involve private developers, was also criticized as wasteful, poorly conceived, and inequitable. Further, it appeared to some that the federal government was assuming the losses caused by the accelerating decline of large cities. As a result of various investigations and HUD audits, the FHA was in a state of chaos after recurring reorganizations. The administration’s suspension of housing subsidies on January 5, 1973 was an added impetus for the passage of a new act. The resulting legislation, the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974,20 is the federal government’s first significant set of housing programs since the 1968 Act. Although there are eight titles in the Act, this article will examine only one major provision: leased housing in private accommodations, better known as Section 8. This section is a revival, in modified form, of Section 23 leased housing. The creation of Section 8 will be briefly reviewed, followed by an examination of its mechanics. The advantages of leased housing over public housing will be assessed, and Section 8 will be compared with its predecessor, Section 23 of the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1965. Finally, some possible weaknesses of Section 8 will be noted.