Section 8 is a federal and state public assistance program that’s intended to lift millions of families and households from poverty levels while ensuring low-income families have access to safe, sanitary, and affordable housing. Additionally, the program is designed to reduce the financial burden of other public assistance programs.
Also known as the Housing Choice Voucher Program, Section 8 is administered on local levels by Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) that follow guidelines set by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Families that qualify for benefits can receive rental assistance that is paid directly to landlords on behalf of the participating family. The family is then responsible for the difference between the rental cost and the Section 8 housing payment.
When it comes to Section 8 houses for rent, it’s worth knowing that Section 8 can be used towards a multitude of rentals, including single-family homes, apartments, and townhomes.
Additionally, senior citizens in need of Section 8 assisted living opportunities can receive rental assistance when living in an authorized assisted living apartment. However, the program will not help cover the cost of additional fees, such as the cost of daily meals or assistance with day-to-day tasks.
Finally, the Section 8 home buying program helps low-income families become homeowners by using benefits towards the cost of a home’s purchase and mortgage payments. If you are interested in the PHA homeownership program, you will need to contact your local PHA to inquire if these benefits are available.
Before submitting a Section 8 application, take the time to learn more about the eligibility requirements that your household must meet to receive benefits:
Your Household’s Size and Income: Section 8 is a low-income assistance program. Therefore, households must meet income-based eligibility requirements to qualify for rental assistance. Income limits are based on the PHA’s local community.
To qualify, your household cannot generally exceed 50 percent of an area’s median income level for the household’s size. However, each PHA must legally provide at least 75 percent of its housing vouchers to extremely low-income households that have incomes that do not exceed 30 percent of an area’s median income level.
Your Household Makeup: To receive Section 8 housing benefits, your household must include at least one qualifying dependent minor child, disabled person, or senior citizen.
Your Household’s Citizenship Status: Section 8 benefits are only provided to United States citizens and those holding qualifying immigration statuses.
Your Household’s Eviction History: Your household may not be able to receive benefits if your household has been evicted within the last three years due to criminal or drug-related activity.
You can submit a Section 8 application at your local Public Housing Authority office. Additionally, some PHAs allow you to submit an application online or by mail. After you apply, the PHA will verify your household’s eligibility. If eligible for benefits, you will either receive assistance right away or you will be placed on a Section 8 waiting list.
Section 8 waiting lists are notoriously long in some areas, unless you meet local priority statuses, such as households that have extremely low income. Additionally, you may be able to receive aid sooner if you apply for help through multiple PHAs.