What Is the Section 8 Emergency Housing Voucher?

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If you are in serious need of affordable housing and can demonstrate this need, then you may qualify for the Section 8 emergency housing voucher. The emergency housing voucher is also referred to as a Priority Waitlist and is simply a way to hasten the Section 8 approval process for specific households who need it much quicker than it usually takes.

Knowing that the usual Section 8 application process could take as long as 3 years, provision is made for people in certain situations. Bear in mind that the final decision on whether you will be considered for an emergency voucher or not is totally up to the local housing authority. It usually takes a few weeks to review and make a decision on an applicant’s case, so you may not immediately get an emergency voucher even if you qualify.

Who Is Eligible for the Priority Wait List?

Although the final decision on whether or not you’d get an emergency voucher is up to the local housing authority, there are still some general guidelines on which eligibility is based.
You’re eligible to be considered for the priority waitlist if you fall into at least one of the following categories:

  • Victims of abuse, sexual or physical, fleeing their homes for safety
  • Disabled individuals
  • Veterans
  • Single parents with children below the age of 18 paying over 50% of their income as rent
  • A person from any of the groups mentioned above who is homeless or at high risk of becoming homeless
  • Households getting evicted from their current public housing.
  • Households who have lost their home due to circumstances beyond their control like fire or a natural disaster

The PHA usually determines who deserves to be placed on the priority waitlist through a point scale. That is, the more of the above-mentioned circumstances you meet in your application, the higher you will be placed on the waiting list and the quicker you’ll receive your voucher.

Can a Felon Get Emergency Section 8 Housing?

Being a felon or having a felon as a member of your household does not stop you from being eligible for an emergency Section 8 voucher as long as you meet all the general requirements and have a special condition. If, however, you committed the crime less than 5 years ago, there’s a very high chance you won’t be accepted.

How to Apply for Emergency Section 8

To apply for emergency Section 8, you are still required to meet the eligibility criteria and make the usual application. When filling your application, there will be a section to provide information on any special conditions you may have like age, disability, homelessness, abuse, etc.
The PHA will then review your application and supporting documents and determine if you are eligible to be placed on the priority waitlist.
It usually helps to speak with a PHA official once you submit your application to directly let them know of the severity of your case. In most cases, it doesn’t help to just wait silently as you could end up being placed on the regular waitlist. You can call them about once every week to remind them of your situation, to increase your chances of getting help quickly.

How to Complete the Section 8 Application
What to Do After Completing Your Section 8 Application