Receiving assistance from the government can be a tedious task, and applying for a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher is no different. So where do you start? How do you actually obtain an application?
I felt it’s important to do the research and simplified the entire process for you.
What are Housing Choice Vouchers?
Created in 1974, the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program was established to provide affordable housing options for the elderly, disabled, and low-income families. Funding for this program comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Then a Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) is responsible for administering overseeing the local process.
If you are selected as a participant in the program, you would be able to select an eligibly living space that best meets the needs of your family. Each month you would pay 30% of the household’s adjusted monthly income directly to your landlord, and PHA would pay the remaining balance to your landlord.
How do I Know if I qualify?
Eligibility into the program is based on the total annual gross income and family size. If your income does not exceed 30% of the median income in your area it is likely your application will be approved. Due to laws, 75% of voucher applicants must be provided housing vouchers.
If you are unsure if you meet the income requirements your local PHA can assist with providing income details on your local community. Check out this link to find out more information about eligibility!
What is the Application Process Like?
Once you start the application process the PHA will gather personal information to determine your eligibility. They will need your family income, assets, and your family composition- if you have a spouse, or kids living with you?
Be sure you are honest with the PHA office! They will verify everything you say with your bank, your employer, and any other local agencies!
I’m Ready to Apply! Now What?
Once you are ready to apply for a Housing Choice Voucher you will need to contact your local PHA. Here is a link to find the nearest PHA office in your area. The application is free but be sure to check with your local PHA office to determine how to best submit the application.
After you apply you will either be rejected, or placed on a waitlist. If you are placed on the waitlist be patient, current applicants have experienced 1-2 years before getting approved. During this time make sure you are checking your status and being responsive to any request made by the PHA.
I’m Finally Approved!
After some time on the waitlist, you’ve finally gotten the news that you are off the waitlist and now you can start the process of looking for your new home. Rest assure the PHA requires that your new landlord provides safe, sanitary, and decent housing and the unit must pass a housing quality set by the PHA.
You will then sign a year-long lease with the landlord, and the landlord will sign a contract with the PHA. Each party has specific obligations to adhere to throughout the lease term. You will need to make sure that you pay your portion of the rent on time each month, keep the unit in good standing, and immediately notify the PHA if there are any income or family changes.
Getting selected for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher is no easy feat. However, once you ensure you are eligible and complete your application at your nearest PHA –linked here- you’ve already completed the hard part! Once you are off the waitlist you can start the process of moving to your new home.
Below is the step by step guide with some helpful links.
- Review eligibility requirements: #1 Requirements | #2 Requirements | #3 Yearly Inspections | #4 Hud
- Contact your local PHA office to complete your application
- Start looking for approved housing in your area!
I hope this was helpful and provided you all the information you needed, but if I missed anything or if you have another question drop a comment below and I’ll be happy to assist!