Right now, the Northern Marianas Housing Corp. is not entertaining new applications for its Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program as the 301 available slots have been filled.
This is a federal program intended to help very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market. On Saipan, NMHC administers the Section 8 housing program.
However, for the moment, NMHC can’t entertain new applicants because all available slots are accounted for, according to NMHC office manager/procurement officer Jacob Muña.
“Expanding the program requires U.S. Congress to provide [U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development] with additional funding to expand the voucher program,” he said.
Under the Section 8 housing program, participants are free to choose any housing that meets the requirements of the program and is not limited to units located in subsidized housing projects.
Housing Choice vouchers are administered locally by public housing agencies, PHAs, which in the CNMI’s case is NMHC. The PHAs receive federal funds from HUD to administer the program.
According to HUD, a family that is issued a housing voucher is responsible for finding a suitable housing unit of the family’s choice where the owner agrees to rent under the program. This unit may include the family’s present residence. Rental units must meet minimum standards of health and safety.
HUD added that a housing subsidy is paid to the landlord directly by the PHA on behalf of the participating family. The family then pays the difference between the actual rent charged by the landlord and the amount subsidized by the program. Under certain circumstances, if authorized by the PHA, a family may use its voucher to purchase a modest home.