Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers

The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program is a federally funded program administered by Oak Ridge Housing Authority. This program currently provides up to 295 vouchers of housing assistance to eligible low- and moderate-income families in Oak Ridge and 10 miles outside the city limits, excluding Knox County.

This program enables families to obtain decent, safe, and sanitary housing from private landlords by subsidizing a portion of each tenant's monthly rent.  The subsidy is paid promptly and directly to the landlord.  Any private rental housing is eligible. Paperwork is minimal and the owner retains normal management rights and responsibilities including:

  • Tenant selection,
  • Rent collection,
  • Property maintenance, and
  • Lease termination

How Rental Assistance is Provided

Oak Ridge Housing Authority calculates the amount of assistance each family receives. The level of assistance is based on family size and income. Income limits are set by HUD. (See table below.)

FY 2024 Income Limits for Anderson County

Household Size














A family is expected to pay approximately thirty (30) percent of its income towards rent and utilities. When a family finds a unit and signs a lease, Oak Ridge Housing Authority signs a Housing Assistance Payments Contract with the owner.

Roles: The Tenant, The Landlord, and ORHA

Tenant's Role: When a family selects a housing unit and is approved by the owner/landlord, the Housing Authority must approve the unit and lease. Additionally:

  • The family then signs a lease with the landlord for one year.
  • After the first year, the landlord may allow a month-to-month lease.

Once in, the family is expected to comply with the lease and program requirements.  They must pay their share of the rent on time while keeping up utilities and maintaining the unit in good condition. They must also notify the housing authority of any changes in income or family composition.

Landlord's Role: The role of the landlord in the Housing Choice Voucher Program is to provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing to a tenant at a reasonable amount of rent. Additionally:

  • The apartment unit must pass the program's housing quality standards (HQS) inspection
  • It must be maintained to match those standards
  • Any/all additional services specified in the lease must also be provided consistently

Oak Ridge Housing Authority's Role: The housing authority administers the Housing Choice Voucher Program. Additionally, ORHA provides:

  • Rental assistance to the qualifying family that enables them to maintain suitable housing
  • Consistent payment to the landlord in accordance with the assistance agreement

If the landlord fails to meet his/her obligations under the lease, ORHA has the right to terminate assistance payments.