Once participating in the Section 8 Program, a family remains income-eligible as long as the family’s share of the rent does not exceed the Payment Standard used to calculate the maximum housing assistance payment.

Who is eligible to be assisted?

Anyone whose income is within the income limits set by the federal government. Assets will be considered in calculating household income.

Can a Voucher holder rent a unit anywhere?

Portability allows a Voucher holder to secure an approvable unit in any Housing Authority’s jurisdiction if that Housing Authority operates a Section 8 Program. If a family does not live in the People First  jurisdiction when the Voucher is issued, they may be required to live in Oneida County’s jurisdiction for at least one year before moving to another jurisdiction. Per the Housing Authority, People First may not approve a unit if the owner is the parent, child, grandparent, sister, or brother of any family member, unless the unit provides a reasonable accommodation for a family member who is a person with a disability.

Is there a limit on the allowable rent?

At the time the family signs the lease for initial occupancy in the unit, the family must pay less than 40% of its adjusted monthly income for its rent share. The owner may seek an increase after the initial lease term, which may result in the family paying in excess of 40% of income for its rent share. The rent for the unit must be reasonable, which generally means a rent by an owner that is not more than rent charged for comparable units in the private unassisted market, including rents charged by the owner for a comparable unassisted unit in the building or on the premises.

Can a Voucher holder rent any size unit?

The size unit for which a family qualifies will be set by the Housing Authority on the basis of the family’s size and composition.

If a family can rent a larger unit and pay less than 40% of its adjusted monthly income at lease-up and the unit meets all Section 8 Program requirements, the unit will be accepted to the program.

A smaller unit than the size set by the Housing Authority may be rented provided there is at least one living/sleeping room for every two persons in the family.

How much help does an assisted household receive?

If the gross rent for the unit is below the payment standard, your share of the rent will be the higher of 30% of your monthly adjusted income or 10% of your monthly gross income. However, the first time you sign the lease for the unit, you must pay less than 40% of your monthly adjusted income for your rent share.

After the initial lease term if the owner increases the rent, it is possible the family could then pay more than 30% or 40% of its income for its rent cost.

Who may apply?

Anyone may apply for rental assistance with People First’s Section 8 Program. Selection will be determined by date and time received subject to the preferences claimed. You must keep your Section 8 application updated regarding income, family composition, and address. Such changes must be made in writing and include your Social Security number. Each year the waiting list is canvassed. If your correct address is not known to us, you will be taken off of the list.

How can I apply for the Section 8 Program?

You can call 315-735-5246, or visit the People First office to request a Section 8 application form.


Based upon PIH Notice 2021-14 issued May 4, 2021, please be advised that the Municipal Housing Authority of the City of Utica, New York d.b.a. People First has opted to implement the following HUD approved waiver for its Housing Choice Voucher Program until the current period of availability which is set to expire on December 31, 2021.

HCV-3: Term of Voucher: Extensions of Term Regulatory Authority: 24 CFR § 982.303(b)(1) Description: The regulation provides that at its discretion, the PHA may grant a family one or more extensions of the initial voucher term in accordance with the PHA policy as described 26 in the PHA administrative plan. HUD is waiving the requirement that the extension(s) must be accordance with the PHA’s administrative plan in order to allow the PHA to provide extensions even though it has been unable to formally amend its policy in the administrative plan. In the absence of following the existing administrative plan for voucher term extensions, the PHA should ensure it handles such requests with consistency and in compliance with the PHA’s adopted interim standard. Period of Availability: The period of availability ends on December 31, 2021.