There are more than 500,000 children living apart from their parents. Roughly a third of these children live in foster homes because their parents are homeless or living in inadequate, unsafe housing. Equally disturbing, nearly 20,000 children who are too old for foster care often end up homeless [source: National Center for Housing & Child Welfare]. Section 8's Family Unification Program provides a bridge to help those families reunite. Before participating in the program, the parents of eligible families must adhere to all social service requirements. They must also need permanent or adequate housing [source: Massachusetts Department Housing and Economic Development].
In addition to helping children reunite with their parents, the Family Unification Program helps battered women and their children find safe housing. Many times, battered women and their children have to move out of their homes to avoid imminent danger. Under the Family Unification Program, they can relocate to Section 8 housing anywhere in the country. They can also decide to stay in their current rental unit as long as it meets the federal requirements for health and safety [source: Massachusetts Department of Housing and Economic Development].