What is Section 8?

Recent headlines about Section 8 have dominated local news. But what is Section 8?

In September, apartment complexes sent letters to Section 8 renters informing them to vacate their units. Renton City Council passed an emergency ordinance on Monday, Oct. 7 prohibiting property managers from discriminating against residents who receive the Section 8 vouchers. To read the full story, click here.

What is Section 8?

The Section 8 housing voucher is a federal government program assisting low-income families, elderly and disabled to afford housing in the private market. Eligibility is determined by the public housing agencies — in Renton’s case, that would be Renton Housing Authority.

According to the limits put in place by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, an applicant must have an annual household income at or below 80 percent of the area median income to qualify for housing. However, some properties may have income requirements of 50 percent or below.

In King Country, 41 percent of Section 8 recipients are black, 6 percent are Asian, 8 percent are Latino, 2 percent are Native American and 2 percent are Pacific Islander.

Why did private rental complexes refuse to accept Section 8 vouchers?

The Renton Reporter reached out to Calibrate Property Management, the company that runs Renton Woods for a comment on why they opted to no longer accept Section 8 vouchers, but has not received a comment.

In a press release sent out by Fairfield Residential, parent company of Grammercy Apartments, the Section 8 participants were initially asked to vacate their units to make way for renovations that could only be made possible if the units were vacant. Grammercy rescinded those non-renewal notices Oct. 31.