Project Based Section 8 Housing

What is “project-based” rental assistance?

Project-based rental assistance means rental assistance comes with the apartment. You pay 30% of your income toward rent, and the federal government, through the Section 8 rental assistance program, pays the difference between your payment and the actual rent charged.

How are project-based vouchers different from Section 8 tenant-based vouchers?

Under the Section 8 tenant-based voucher program, you may select an apartment of your choice. When you move out of the apartment, you can transfer the rental assistance to another apartment of your choice. Under the Section 8 project-based voucher program, the rental assistance is tied to specific apartments. It is not a mobile subsidy that can be taken with you from place to place. If you move, you do not have the right to continued housing assistance.

Where are these apartments located?

Project-based apartments are located in or near most major cities and towns throughout Tennessee. For a list of apartments in your area, contact the Tennessee Housing and Development Agency at (800) 228-8431.

What if I am already on a Section 8 waiting list?

If you are already on a tenant-based Section 8 waiting list, applying for a project-based apartment will not affect your position on that list.

Who is eligible?

Project-based Section 8 housing is limited to low-income families and individuals. A complex determines your eligibility based on: 1) your annual gross income; 2) whether you qualify as elderly, a person with a disability, or as a family; and 3) U.S. citizenship or eligible immigration status. If you are eligible, the complex will check your references to make sure you and your family will be good tenants.  Management will deny admission to any applicant whose habits and practices may be expected to have a detrimental effect on other tenants or on the project's environment.

Project-based Section 8 complexes use income limits developed by HUD. Income limits vary from area to area, so you may be eligible at complex, but not at another. The complexes serving your community can provide you with the income levels for your area and family size.

After I apply, can I add or remove household members?

Once you have submitted an application, it is very important that you notify the complex of any changes in your family that could affect the size of the apartment you need. You may add or remove people from your application by submitting the change in writing to the complex management. Adding or removing household members may affect your eligibility for some apartments. If the change increases or decreases the number of bedrooms your family needs and the locations to which you have previously applied do not have any apartments with that bedroom size, your name will be removed from that list.

What can I expect once I am selected from the waiting list?

You will receive a letter that an apartment is available and you will be instructed to contact the property owner for screening. Property owners each have their own tenant selection standards that they use to choose suitable tenants for their rental apartments. The owner will either approve or deny your application based on their standards.

Project Based Section 8 Housing PDF

Acknowledgements & Disclaimer: This Fact Sheet was prepared by West Tennessee Legal Services (WTLS) and made possible by Serving Tennessee Seniors-administered by The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee at the request of the Chancery Court. WTLS thanks the Tennessee Bar Association for its permission to use The Legal Handbook for Tennessee Seniors (2014 edition) as a primary information source. This publication is supported, in part, by funds provided by the Southwest Area Agency on Aging and Disability, the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The content herein does not necessarily reflect the opinion or policy of the Southwest Area Agency on Aging and Disability or any agency of Tennessee or the U.S. government. Fact Sheets are for information only and not intended to replace legal advice. If you are in need of legal help, call WTLS at (800) 372-8346, or seek the help of a private attorney. (Revised 5/2017)