Allston Brighton Community Development Corporation

Working together, building community

By: Evelyn Otero, ABCDC Housing Counselor

Do you have a Section 8 Mobile Voucher? If your answer is yes, did you know that you could potentially use your voucher to help you buy a home?  Not to be confused as a rent to own program, with Section 8 Homeownership you will receive assistance to help pay a portion of your mortgage.  Let’s review some of the benefits and challenges of this program, to help you determine if it could be right for you.

Program benefits:

  • Participants can use their voucher to pay a portion of a mortgage payment.
  • It enables participants to become homeowners and build equity rather than pay rent.
  • This is not a rent to own program; it is a homeownership program.
  • This program can help you become a homeowner and secure a safe home instead of renting.
  • This program can be combined with other assistance, such as down payment assistance and grants to bridge any gaps associated with down payment and closing costs.
  • You can use any mortgage loan program of your choice (ONE+Boston, ONE Mortgage, MassHousing, VA loans, Conventional loans, FHA Loans).
  • Your household assistance payment could increase if your income decreases (job loss, change in household size etc.)
  • The mortgage assistance payments will go directly to the homeowner and not the lender.
  • If you decide to sell the property while participating in the program, you will not have to pay any money back to the housing authority.
  • You will keep the proceeds of the sale.

Program challenges:

  • This program is limited to first-time homebuyers.
  • Not all Public Housing Authorities participate in the Section 8 Homeownership Program.
  • Not all lenders participate in this program.
  • This program is limited to geographical areas depending on the areas served by the voucher servicer or housing authority.
  • Other homebuying costs may still be unaffordable for the buyer (down payment and closing costs).
  • The payment assistance is typically limited to 10 to 15 years. You will need to cover the full mortgage payment once the voucher payment assistance ends (there are exemptions to this rule).
  • Home purchase is limited to condos or single-family homes; client cannot purchase a multi-family home.
  • You will be required to comply with yearly recertifications and provide proof of income for all household members on a yearly basis.
  • You must live in the property and make it your primary residence; you cannot move out and rent the property.
  • House must meet all eligibility criteria such as passing the state sanitary code for home inspections.
  • You cannot waive your home inspection contingency in your Offer to Purchase a home.
  • You are not able to add a co-borrower to the mortgage application if they are not included in your voucher.
  • You must meet the minimum credit criteria for the program (this will depend on the housing authority).
  • Participants can become over-income and lose their voucher.

There are pros and cons to this program. However, if your dream is to become a homeowner and you currently have a section-8 voucher this program may be just what you need to get you to that level.  We understand that homeownership is not for everyone, and this program may not work for you.

Whichever the case may be, if you are interested in learning more about this program, you can visit HUD’s website (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) at: or contact your local housing authority directly and ask them if they participate in the Section 8 Homeownership Program.

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