This Book Breaks Down the Affordable Housing Process


Searching for and obtaining affordable housing is a lengthy process. From understanding eligibility, to gathering documents, to budgeting, to actually finding a home; there are many steps one must take. And there’s no simplified guide to help — until now.

VOUCHED presents the Section 8 and Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) process in an easy-to-read visual format. The book is broken up into nine steps:

  • Before You Apply

  • The Pre-Application Checklist

  • Budget Worksheet

  • The Housing Choice Voucher

  • Recertification

  • Rent Escrow

  • Protect Your Voucher

  • Get Your Security Deposit Back

  • Facing Eviction  

The book also provides a directory listing local social service organizations who assist throughout the process.

Creator Priyanka Sen came up with the idea when she was working as a Commonwealth Corps member in Massachusetts. Sen was placed in a nonprofit that provides affordable housing to people experiencing homelessness. During the intake process, individuals received a bulky sheet of things they needed to do and information they needed to gather before qualifying. The list didn’t explain where they could go, how to get there or any contacts to help with paperwork.

“For me, it was very overwhelming,” Sen says. “That is just point one. They don’t even know if they’ve qualified yet. They aren’t even on the waiting list yet.”

VOUCHED began as a project funded through People’s Liberty, a philanthropic lab in Cincinnati. And although the book was made specific to the city, it can be applicable to other cities with Section 8 and HCV programs. The goal is to help ease the affordable housing process for all those involved.

“I was always interested in how to make it more accessible not only for people who want to use it but also for the people who are helping these individuals through the process,” Sen says.