Everything You Need to Know About Section 8 Housing in Tampa

Tampa, Florida, families with an income of 50% of the area’s median income or lower could be eligible for Section 8 housing assistance.
Written by Melanie Krieps Mergen
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
The Section 8 program was established to help make housing more affordable for households with low incomes. Thanks to paperwork, long waitlist times, and often-limited resources, navigating the process to qualify for Section 8 housing assistance can feel confusing and even downright discouraging. 
That’s why
, the
super app
designed to save you money on
renters insurance
, is here with this introductory guide to the basics of Section 8. Read on to learn more about what the Section 8 program is, what the requirements are, and how you can apply for Section 8 housing assistance in Tampa,

What is Section 8 housing?

Section 8 is an affordable housing program established by the federal government in the 1970s. It’s intended to help make decent housing more affordable and accessible to households with low incomes, including families with children and people who are elderly or have disabilities. 
For those who qualify, the federal government will cover a certain portion of their rent expenses. 
This is how Section 8 works: 
  • Applications can be submitted to a local public housing agency (PHA) for housing choice vouchers or project-based vouchers.
  • Housing choice vouchers allow families to find a rental unit that meets the specifications listed on the voucher, like the number of bedrooms,
  • Project-based vouchers are tied to a specific property that’s been designated as low-income housing.
  • Tenants must pay at least 30% of their monthly adjusted gross income for rent and utilities, but not more than 40%. The remaining portion is paid by the government.

Section 8 obligations

Tenants, landlords, and local PHAs all have certain responsibilities under Section 8. Some of these obligations include:
Housing authority
Pay rent on time and keep the rental unit in good condition
Provide safe, sanitary housing at reasonable rent
Provide vouchers to qualifying households
Inform promptly of any changes to income or family size/composition
Make necessary repairs and maintenance
Inspect rental units to ensure safe, sanitary conditions
Comply with lease agreement
Comply with the lease agreement and contract with PHA
Provide a portion of rent payments on behalf of family
Attend required appointments
Screen tenants, avoiding discriminatory practices
Reexamine family’s income and composition at least once per year
Let Jerry find you the best homeowners insurance policy for your needs
* checking your rate won’t affect your credit score
Shop Now
* checking your rate won’t affect your credit score

What are the requirements for Section 8 housing in Tampa?

To qualify for Section 8 rentals in Tampa, you’ll need to meet federal requirements established by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Some of these requirements include:
  • Must be 18 years old or older
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or documented immigrant
  • Income cannot exceed 50% of the area’s median income
  • If approved, the unit must be the household’s only residence
When determining a household’s income, the HUD includes the following in its calculations: 
  • Wages
  • Business income
  • Interest
  • Social security benefits
  • Alimony received
  • Child support received
  • Welfare received
For a more in-depth look at what is and isn’t included in income calculations for Section 8 assistance, you can review
this list
The 2021 estimated
median family income
for the area, including Tampa, St. Petersburg, and
, is about $72,700. Section 8 income limits will additionally depend on family size, which is broken down in the table below for the 2021 fiscal year:
Family size
Very low income (50%)
Extremely low income (30%)

How to apply for Section 8 housing in Tampa

Section 8 housing assistance in Tampa, Florida, is managed by the
Tampa Housing Authority (THA)
. The THA accepts and reviews applications submitted for Section 8 assistance in Tampa.
You can start a housing assistance application on the
THA’s website
and review more information about housing choice and project-based vouchers before applying. When you’re ready to apply, you’ll need to provide extensive documentation of the income you receive.
If your application shows that you meet eligibility requirements, you’ll typically receive a confirmation letter telling you you’re on your local PHA’s waiting list. 
Unfortunately, because demand for affordable housing assistance often outweighs available resources, it’s not unusual for applicants to linger on waiting lists for one to two years
Local housing authorities are required by HUD to give 75% of available vouchers to those whose income is 30% of the local median income or lower. Depending on the number of applications they have on hand, they may close waiting lists for a time and establish locally-determined preferences, including families with children, those who are currently houseless, or those who have disabilities.
The THA states its
local preferences
  • People employed at least 20 hours per week
  • Houseless individuals
  • Elderly individuals
  • Individuals with disabilities
According to the THA,
approximately 14,000 families
are on its rental assistance waitlist for housing choice vouchers, meaning that its waitlist may not re-open for five to seven years
You can monitor your place on the THA waitlist
. In the meantime, it’s important to keep your address up to date so you can be informed when your name reaches the top of the list. You’ll also want to inform the THA of any changes to your income and family composition.
When your name does reach the top of the list, you’ll receive a written notice asking you to provide more information or informing you of an upcoming appointment to determine your eligibility. If the THA doesn’t receive a response after sending two notices, your name will be removed from the list.
Pro Tip Because waiting lists in areas like Tampa can be long, HUD recommends considering
applying to more than one PHA
if you’re seeking Section 8 housing assistance. 

How to find Section 8 housing in Tampa

Once you’ve finally received a housing choice voucher, you’ll typically have 90 days to find a rental unit before the expiration of your voucher. Your voucher will specify the requirements the rental unit must meet, like the number of bedrooms based on your family size and composition.
To help with your housing search, you can use
this resource locator map
from the HUD. 
As you search for housing, it’s a good idea to document the various aspects of your search, from submitting applications to meeting with landlords. This can be especially helpful if you’re having difficulty finding a suitable rental and need to apply for an extension. 
Once you’ve settled on a place and submitted the necessary paperwork to the THA, the THA will then arrange for an inspection of the property to make sure it’s up to standard.
Navigating the Section 8 housing assistance can be complicated, so don’t hesitate to contact the THA for clarification if you need it.

How to save money on car and renters insurance in Tampa

Finding affordable housing in Tampa can be a major headache, and the time it takes to find it can feel like an eternity. If you’re looking for more ways to save on a limited budget, it might be worth taking a look at your current
car insurance
If you’re looking for better coverage for less, the
app makes searching for it quicker and easier than ever! The best part? No waiting lists are involved.
With the Jerry app, it takes less than a minute to enter your information and start comparing personalized quotes from top insurance providers. From there, you can pick the right amount of coverage for you at the right price. 
On average,
Tampa drivers
pay $3,287 each year on average for single-car insurance. Meanwhile, drivers who use Jerry save an average of $887 per year! You could even find additional savings by bundling with your renters insurance policy. 
brought my insurance deductible down from $2.5k to $1k without me having to switch companies. I even had a ticket on my record. If it can help me, Jerry will definitely help you save money.” —Maxwell N.
Compare auto insurance policies
No spam or unwanted phone calls · No long forms
Find insurance savings


Under Section 8, a household must pay at least 30% of their income toward rent and utilities, but no more than 40%.
The fair market rent for 2-bedroom units in the Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater areas will vary depending on your zip code. For the 2021 fiscal year, fair market rents for two-bedroom units generally fall between $800 and $1,600.
As of March 2021, landlords in Hillsborough County—which includes Tampa—passed the
Tenant’s Bill of Rights Ordinance
, which prevents landlords from denying a tenant’s rental application because they’re receiving Section 8 assistance. Landlords can contact the Tampa Housing Authority for more information about Section 8 participation.
Save an average of 18% by bundling your home and auto insurance
Bundle your home and auto insurance with Jerry and save!
Try Jerry

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

No long forms
No spam or unwanted phone calls
Quotes from top insurance companies
Find insurance savings