Reality Check: Section 8 housing moves to the suburbs

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Section 8 is not a new program.  For those of you who don't understand it, it is a federal program though HUD that allows low income families to receive assistance in getting their rent paid.

We told you that there is a push here in Cincinnati to move more people into the suburbs where the rents are usually higher.

Qualifying families who are eligible for a HUD voucher must pay 30 percent of their income toward rent.

Because that is a percentage, the actual dollar amount paid varies from family to family.

If you make $1,200 dollar a month, you would pay $360 dollars a month toward your rent and your utilities.

Typically, section 8 housing are low income apartments in urban areas.

The new push to get people into better neighborhoods is drawing criticism.  Here's why. There is no limit on what kind of properties can qualify as Section 8 apartments or homes.

Homes must be priced according to fair pricing standards for vouchers and that is set by the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority.

A quick search online for me, turned up properties here in Cincinnati that range from $500 for a 1 bedroom, 1 bath apartment, to a 5 bedroom, 3 bath $1,500 dollar a month town-home.

In Florida, landlords are doing really well with this program.  Because the housing crisis is so bad, they are turning high rise condos with swimming pools and spas, into Section 8 apartments.

At a time when the housing market is a mess, landlords have strong steady income.  Which works well for them, but means taxpayers are subsidizing their investments.

The idea of the Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers Program is to remove the stigma from those receiving welfare and to allow them, according to HUD, "freedom and choice" in where they live.

But someone has to pay for it.

And when millions of Americans have a hard enough time paying for their own housing, the idea of subsidized housing in the suburbs may be a hard pill to swallow.

So how much do taxpayers spend?

For 2011 U.S. taxpayers are spending $18.1 billion to support the program.

And that is Reality Check.

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