Long-Term Help Paying Rent

People with low-incomes can afford to rent apartments at market rates through the Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) program.

The Housing choice Voucher (Section 8) program provides rent assistance to about 9,400 households in Multnomah County. This highly popular program has a waiting list that we are only able to open every few years. Applicants are then selected from the waiting list using a random lottery system.

To be eligible for the Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) program, you must:

  1. Meet maximum income guidelines
  2. Pass a criminal background check
  3. Have at least one family member who is a citizen or legal resident of the U.S.  

To meet the income guidelines, you must earn less than half (50%) of the typical income for a family of your size in the Portland area.  Use the attached information or the chart below to find out.

Income Guidelines for the Portland Metropolitan Area
Revised 4/22)

30% of Area
Median Income
50% of Area
Median Income
80% of Area
Median Income
1 $22,400 $37,300 $59,650
2 $25,600 $42,600 $68,200
3 $28,800 $47,950 $76,700
4 $31,950 $53,250 $85,200
5 $34,550 $57,550 $92,050
6 $37,190 $61,800 $98,850
7 $41,910 $66,050 $105,650
8 $46,630 $70,300 $112,500

Once enrolled in the program, you may stay in your current home if it meets our quality standards and the rent is reasonable compared to similar apartments in the area. You can also search for a new rental.

How to Apply

Our waiting list currently is closed. Please check this page for updates. 

Based on turnover rates, we estimate it will take two to three years to serve everyone on the current list before reopening the list for applications.

If you have a terminal illness and have been diagnosed by your medical provider with a life expectancy of 12 months or less, you may apply for a Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) under our priority status.  Call 503.802.8333 for more information. 

However, even if you don’t have a Housing choice Voucher (Section 8), there are housing communities that have Section 8 assistance attached to some of their apartments. Click here for more information.

About the Program

For more details on the Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) program, visit our How Section 8 Works page in the Section 8 Participant Handbook section of our site.  You can also access the policy document for the program by visiting the Administrative Plan page in the same section.