Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) is one of the programs offered by the Federal government to low-income Americans, so they can afford a decent and safe place to live in. Besides helping low-income families, this program also focuses on offering housing assistance to families that have children or elderly in their household. If you are looking forward to enrolling in the section 8 housing program, here you get all the procedures needed. All you need to do is ensure that you qualify for this program, and you will receive your needed help.
Additionally, those with disabilities can enjoy subsidies from this program to afford decent housing within their locality. As a qualified individual who wants to live in an apartment or a condominium, you can get the much-needed subsidy from this federal government program. This will enable you to pay the rest of the rental costs. Since most people want to get these benefits but are not sure how to go about it, I will discuss the section 8 housing program in detail to help you get started.
How Does The Section 8 Housing Program Work?
With this program in place, you are required to choose your own housing. This includes townhouses, apartments, single-family homes, duplexes and so forth in the private market. As long as the housing meets the much-needed Section 8 program requirements, you will get some subsidy at the end of the month and thus be able to pay rent and other utility costs inexpensively.
For this program to work, you are normally given a voucher that will cater to a part of your house rent. This will make you to part with only 30 to 40% of your monthly income towards the rent and other utility expenses.
Eligible Requirements For Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8)
Just like the other programs offered by the Federal government, one needs to meet some requirements to be eligible to benefit from it. Some of the requirements that one needs to meet include:
1. Have a low income
In the beginning, we stated that Section 8 recipient must have a low income. Basically, the income limits here are usually set year-after-year by the HUD. Besides this, the income limits here are usually calculated as a percentage of median income for specific areas of the country. Therefore, one of the factors that will be used to determine the income limit is where one lives and the number of people in his or her household.
Here, the income limits is divided into 3 tiers which include; extremely low income, very low income and moderately low income. These tiers represent 30%, 50% and 80% of the area’s median income levels respectively. To check your income limits, feel free to visit https://www.huduser.gov/portal/datasets/il.html
2. Be a US citizen
Besides meeting the much-needed income limits, you must be a citizen of the US for you to be eligible for the Section 8 housing program. Thankfully, you can also qualify if at you are a non-citizen who has met the eligible immigration status. This is because undocumented immigrants might not be eligible to benefit from this program.
3. Family status
To be eligible for the Section 8 housing program, you need to meet the HUD’s definition of a family. According to HUD, a family is deemed to be legit if at all it has met any of the following conditions:
- There is one family member who is 62 years and above
- There are children
- There is one family member with a disability
- One lived with a person who benefits from Section 8 housing program but now lives alone after the rest of the family members moved out or relocated.
- Has been displaced from their home due a genuine reason
If your marital status reads ‘Single’, you can also qualify for this program as you will not require to have kids for you to meet the eligibility status, as mentioned above.
4. Eviction history
It is imperative that you must have a good or positive rental history for you to qualify for the Section 8 housing program. This is because those with eviction cases tend to be disqualified from benefiting from this program. To be safe, just ensure that you have never been evicted due to criminal or drug-related activity.
Apply For The Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8)
Applying for the Housing Choice Voucher program is not difficult per se. Here are the steps that you should follow:
- Look out for the local Public Housing Agency near you by visiting hud.gov/program_offices/public_indian_housing/pha/contacts. This site has categorized local PHAs by city, state and ZIP code. Thankfully, it has all the essential contact information that you might need.
- Establish if you are eligible for the Section 8 housing program. Once you visit the nearest PHA, you will be able to establish if you are eligible for this program or not.
- If you are eligible for the Section 8 Program, start making your application. When it comes to the application process, you can apply either online or by mail. You can still visit the local housing authority’s office and get started. Choose either of these application methods and then proceed to the next step
- Fill in the application form. From your date of birth to your income level, there are several details that you will have to fill in that form. More importantly, ensure that you fill in the correct details and follow all the instructions on the form. Once you are done, submit your application form.
- Wait for the listing status. Once you complete the application process and submit your form, you can now wait for the application to be approved or rejected. If your application was approved, you will be listed for this program. Depending on the applications made and the funds available, the period that one can wait for list status might vary.
- Receive your Section 8 Housing voucher. Upon receiving the Section 8 Housing voucher, you can now start looking for qualified housing. Here, you will be required to pay 30% of your monthly income towards the rent and the rest will be taken care of by this voucher. More importantly, you must look out for a house that meets the Section 8 Housing program requirements. Once everything is done, the PHA will start paying the rent directly to the property owner or landlord concerned.
Check The Status Of Your Housing Choice Voucher Application
To check your housing voucher application status, you can do so either online or by dialing 215-684-4300. More importantly, ensure that you have the 6-digit ready when making these inquiries.
Special Types Of Section 8 Vouchers Are Available
There are the following types of Section 8 voucher programs. These include:
- HVC Homeownership Voucher
- Tenant-Based Housing Choice Voucher(HCV)
- Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA)
- Project-Based Voucher (PBV)
How To Get Help Paying Rent
Housing assistance for veterans
To get housing assistance for Veterans, you are liberty to contact the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans by dialing (877) 424-3838 or 1-877-4AID. Thankfully, you can get a positive response from them 24/7.
Housing assistance for seniors
If you have a senior who need rental assistance, it is advisable that you reach out to your local PHA so that you can establish the eligibility status of your senior and then make an application. By visiting the HUD’s website, you can locate the nearest PHA near you. After that, you can start the application process so that your senior can get the much-needed rental assistance.
Housing assistance for rural areas
If you want rental assistance in rural areas, consider applying for a Rural Rental Assistance program. Here, you can contact the property manager or owner of the apartment where you live and establish if you are eligible for the Rural Rental Assistance program or not.
In addition, reach out to your local USDA Rural Development field Office close to you for more details. To locate this office near you, consider visiting: http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app
How To Protect Yourself From Scams Targeting Renters
Here are a few strategies that can help you keep scam targeting renters at bay:
- Ensure that your rental terms are in writing. These include your rent, maintenance fee, and other vital details related to your tenancy.
- Always thoroughly search and familiarize yourself with the average rental prices in your locality.
- Remember to undertake an online search for the house or apartment that you want to rent. More importantly, double-check any detail that looks unusual.
- Make a point of visiting the apartment or house in person alongside your property manager or landlord and ask for finer details about the unit you are about to start renting.
- If a person claims to work for a certain property management company, take your time and search the name of that company or better still, contact the phone numbers listed on that site.
- Avoid handing over personal documents such as your SIN number, banking details, passport number and so forth. Instead, let the landlord see your credit score details when needed. However, there is no requirement that he or she ought to see these details as well.
- Take your time to read the terms and conditions that come with the rental agreement. Before you sing anything, ensure that you understand all the details present. If you need to hire a lawyer to help you out, seek his service so that he can interpret some details for you. Once you are convenient, everything is right by you; go ahead and sign the rental agreement document.
- Do not pay anything in cash without meeting the actual property manager or landlord in person first. Instead, ensure that all the payments made are documented so that you can be able to trace the destination of the payment in case there is a problem in the future.
How Many Bedrooms Will You Qualify For?
Well, it will depend on how many people are in your household. For instance, a household with one person will qualify for one bedroom. This applies to those households with 1 to 4 individuals. In case your household has 6 individuals, you qualify for 2 bedrooms. Finally, if you have 8 individuals, you qualify for 3 bedrooms.
What If You Need an Extra Bedroom?
In case you need an extra bedroom, you have to make a request to the Housing Authority outlining why you need to get an extra bedroom. As long as your request is convincing enough, you will be good to go.
Can You Select An Apartment Larger Or Smaller Than The Housing Authority Determined?
Yes. You have the luxury of choosing a larger apartment than the one determined by the housing authority. However, brace yourself to part with additional rent charges that might come up. For instance, if the Housing Authority covers $500 and the apartment you want goes for $600, be sure that you will have to part with $100 in addition to 30% of your adjusted income.