Section 8 is a Housing Choice Voucher Program that offers housing assistance to low-income earners. The vouchers are administered by local public housing agencies based on certain criteria. The beneficiary of the voucher can select any house that he or she wishes to rent as long as the owner of the property accepts the program. The choice house must also pass the health and safety codes set by PHA. The agency pays directly the amounts offered by the voucher while the tenants top up with additional rent if the rent is higher than the voucher amount. Some tenants may also get an allowance for utilities.
How does one qualify for Section 8 housing?
Answer: Fulfilling the requirements set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The HUD has established requirements for qualify for Section 8 vouchers as follows:
The applicant must meet the HUD’s definition of a family. While it gives the local PHAs lots of flexibility on the definition of a family, one should meet one or all of the conditions that include being with or without children, and one of the individuals in the family is over the age of 62. A family where one of the family members has a disability or the family that had been displaced due to government action or a natural disaster is also eligible for assistance. In addition, the voucher covers someone who remains in the unit after his or her assisted family leaves the unit or a single person who does not meet any of the above criteria.
HUD also sets income limits beyond which one cannot qualify for the voucher. These income requirements are in three categories that include low income, very low income, and extremely low income. The income limits are also classified as per the size of the family. The income limits are measured against the median income levels of a particular area. The extremely low category covers those earning 30 percent of the area’s median income, very low-income category cover those earning 50 percent of the area’s median income and the low-income class covers those earning about 80 percent of the area’s median income.
The vouchers are only granted to American citizens or those who have eligible immigration status. As for the American citizens, all the family members must be American citizens. The PHA may request certain documents as a proof of citizenship. For those who have eligible immigration status, the PHA signs a declaration that the applicant has eligible immigration status and may verify the information with INS. Where a family consists of eligible and ineligible members, the assistance is offered as per the number of eligible members.
Section 8 vouchers are not offered to anyone who may have been evicted by a landlord due to criminal or drug-related issues. The program also leaves out people found to have produced drugs in assisted housing units.
This is a brief overview of the Section 8 housing program. There are several resources on the internet where one can get additional information. Some of the resources include the following:
- Single Mothers Help: This website offers assistance to single mothers and low income families on housing, education and career development. It provides a quick overview of eligibility requirements for single mothers who would like to apply for section 8 housing assistance.
- Affordable Housing Online: This website has been around for nearly two decades and provides detailed information on affordable housing opportunities, assisted housing, and low-income apartments. It also contains a complete federal housing assistance database covering all major towns across America. The linked article offers eligibility advice to would be applicants.
- The Balancesmb: This online resource provides information to both landlords and tenants on housing and investment. The linked article provides a detailed overview of the requirements that one must fulfill to be eligible for Section 8 housing assistance.