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Individuals and families with a Section 8 Housing Voucher can find and lease a unit in either a specified complex or a private unit, depending upon the type of voucher they have received. The family or individual then pays a portion of the rent, with the Public Housing Authority picking up the rest of the tab. This portion of the rent is based upon income, and usually is less than 30% of the family or individual income.

There are exceptions to this amount. The Public Housing Authority only pays rent charges up to the "Fair Market Rent". The Fair Market Rent varies from region to region and from city to city, and is determined by the fair market price of such an apartment. If a family or individual chooses to live in an apartment that charges rent above the Fair Market Rent, the family or individual must then pay their 30% share, plus the difference between the rent and Fair Market Rent. However, generally Public Housing Authorities will not allow individuals or families to spend more than 40% of their income on rent and utilities.

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