Section 8 Homeownership Voucher Program

The basic idea of the Section 8 Homeownership Voucher Program is to use the money from a regular Section 8 rental voucher to help a family buy a home or meet monthly homeownership expenses.

Not all housing authorities offer the homeownership option as part of their voucher program.

In order to use the program, you have to have a Section 8 voucher. If you do not currently have a voucher, you must go through the same application process as if you wanted to apply for a Section 8 rental voucher.

Once you have a voucher, and if your housing authority offers the Section 8 homeownership program, you can begin looking for a housing unit to buy.

Once you find a housing unit to buy, the housing authority will make the monthly homeownership assistance payment for you. The housing authority may make the payment to the lender directly or to your household.

The amount of the subsidy for the homeownership program is the same amount as your rental voucher would have been.


The program is administered by local housing authorities. You must be a current voucher program participant, or eligible for admission for the Housing Choice Voucher Program. No member of your household can currently own a home, or have owned one in the last three years.

If the family includes a person with a disability, the housing authority may determine that the use of the homeownership option is necessary as a reasonable accommodation. The housing authority may determine that the use of the homeownership option is necessary as a reasonable accommodation.

There is a full-time employment requirement for families that are not disabled or elderly. This does not apply to disabled families. Disabled families can meet income requirements through the money they get from monthly Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments.

If any adult family member previously received homeownership assistance and then defaulted on the mortgage, the family will not be eligible for homeownership assistance.

In order to be eligible, you must attend and complete a homeownership counseling program that is required by the housing authority.

Finding a Home

The housing authority may have time limits for you to find and buy a home. But the housing authority may not steer or restrict your search to certain sellers or neighborhoods.

Before you finish buying your home, the housing authority will conduct a housing quality standard inspection to make sure that the condition of the home is decent, safe, and sanitary. The unit must also be inspected by an independent professional that you choose and hire.

Also, before you finish buying the home, you must give a contract of sale to the housing authority. Be sure to check with the housing authority about specific details that must be included in the contract.

A housing authority cannot require that you use a specific lender, but it may make requirements about lending terms and the price of the home you can buy. The housing authority can also require that you follow certain rules in order to continue to receive assistance.

However, for a disabled family, as long as you do all the things that the housing authority requires, there is no time limit to how long the assistance can last.

Foreclosure Prevention


If you are having trouble paying your mortgage, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers resources that can help:

More Minnesota foreclosure prevention resources

Individual Development Accounts


Minnesotans who are considered low income can build assets to purchase a home using an Individual Development Account (IDA) through a program like Family Assets for Independence in Minnesota (FAIM).

With an IDA, participants who contribute a specified monthly amount and then get a matching amount from state and federal funds. IDA programs may set caps on the amount you are allowed to contribute and the amount that they will match.

With an IDA, you can get off to a good start in saving for buying a home. For example, if you participate for two years in an IDA program with a 3 to 1 match, and you contribute $50 per month for two years (24 months), your contribution would be a total of $50/month x 24 months = $1,200) with the government match being three times as much ($1,200 x 3 = $3,600). So the total in your account after two years would be $1,200 + $3,600 = $4,800 dollars!


To participate in an IDA, you must have:

  • Low income
  • No bankruptcies, defaulted student loans, or tax liens
  • Earned income

You must use IDA funds for:

  • Education (tuition and fees)
  • Small business start up or expansion
  • A home purchase (down payment or closing).

While in the IDA program, you must:

  • Attend required classes in financial management, as well as classes that specifically relate to your use of the funds, such as first time homebuyer, business development or career development courses.

Learn more about IDA accounts in DB101's IDA article.

Learn more about homeownership on Housing Benefits 101.

Learn more