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Section 8/Housing Choice Voucher Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program?

The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program is a federally funded program that provides housing assistance to eligible low-income families. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Housing Authority of the City of Pawtucket (PHA) administers the Housing Choice Voucher Program. The program enables families to obtain safe, decent, and sanitary housing by subsidizing a portion of each tenant's monthly rent, based upon their income. The Housing Assistance Payment is deposited into the bank account of the landlord on the first business day of the month. The families have the same rights and responsibilities as unassisted families. Property owners have all the rights and responsibilities of landlords renting to unassisted families. As with unassisted tenants, you have the responsibility as an owner to screen and select tenants, collect the rent, maintain the property and terminate the lease, if appropriate and in accordance with RI State Law.

2. How can I participate in the Housing Choice Voucher Program?

You may contact the PHA and inform us that you have an apartment available for rent. We will advertise your vacant apartment on this website. If you are interested, please contact Marilyn daPonte by email at and include the following information: Number of bedrooms, address of apartment, rent amount, a contact name and telephone number. For further information or to list your apartment over the phone, please call 401-721-6017.

3. How is an eligible Section 8 Program participant selected?

The PHA initially reviews the eligibility of the participant(s) based on annual gross income, family size, immigration status and background. It is recommended that landlords screen all occupants in accordance with federal, state and local laws.

4. How will I benefit from renting to a family with a Section 8 Voucher?

The Housing Assistance Payment will be automatically deposited into a bank account every month as long as the tenant and the landlord meet all program obligations. The Housing Assistance Payment is based on the annual income received by the household. Generally, if the tenant losses their income, a bigger portion or the full Housing Assistance Payment will be paid by the housing authority. 

5. Does the PHA screen applicants for tenancy?

The PHA selects applicants for rental assistance from a waiting list. The PHA reviews the applicant for program eligibility only. As in the private market, the owner is responsible to screen applicants for suitability as tenants. The selection of an acceptable tenant, whether assisted or not, is limited only by fair housing requirements and the prohibition of discrimination as established by federal and state law.

6. When can a landlord expect to receive full rent for the Section 8 unit?

Once the unit has passed the HQS inspection, the final steps will be the signing of the Lease Agreement and Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) Contract. Once the contracts have been signed, the Housing Authority will begin making payments. Payments are made on the first business day of the month. Generally, the deposit will appear in the bank account a day or two after the PHA makes the deposit.

7. What rights do Voucher program tenants have?

Program participants have the same rights and responsibilities as unassisted tenants, except that they are responsible to only pay the tenant portion of the rent that is determined by the PHA.

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