2007_10_sec8.jpgHousing activists and some City Council members believe that New York City needs a law prohibiting landlords from discriminating from potential tenants using federal rent vouchers. The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program gives low-income families the opportunity to rent apartments while paying only 30% of the rent; the remaining portion is covered by the vouchers. The Times explains that "Eligible households are those earning no more than 50 percent of the metropolitan area’s median income, or no more than about $35,000 for a family of four in New York," while the rent limits are "$1,069 for a one-bedroom and $1,556 for a four-bedroom."

In recent years, some believe that more landlords have been refusing to rent Section 8 voucher holders because many are black or Hispanic, leading City Councilman Bill de Blasio to propose a bill that would require landlords to rent to voucher holders, or face penalties. However, landlords and management companies fault the bureaucracy involved with getting paid by the government as why they prefer not to rent to voucher holders, as well as claim bad experience with other Section 8 tenants. One Bronx landlord listed “No Section 8 or programs at this time” on a Craigslist ad, and when questioned by the Times, he said, "I don’t know anything. I’m new to the market as far as renting.”

Housing advocacy group ACORN surveyed city landlords earlier this year and, according to the Real Deal, found that less than 1/5 of the buildings had apartments available under the rental Section 8 cap and only half of those landlords would accept vouchers. The Times reports that there are 10,763 voucher holders looking for apartments now, as of September 30.

Here's the data set of Fair Market Rents, according to HUD.

Rendering of the Markham Gardens project, an affordable housing development in Staten Island that would have 150 of its 240 rental units available to Section 8 renters