Section 8 housing is a federal housing assistance program that helps low-income families obtain safe, sanitary and affordable housing. Also known as the Housing Choice Voucher Program, the program provides qualifying families with rental assistance payments that are paid directly to landlords on behalf of the participating family.
In this guide, you’ll learn more about the eligibility requirements you’ll need to meet to qualify for assistance, how to submit a Section 8 application, and what you’ll need to know about the Section 8 waiting list.
To obtain Section 8 housing assistance, you and your family must first meet the program’s eligibility requirements. The program’s eligibility criteria include requirements centered around:
- Household makeup
- Citizenship status
- Eviction history
Section 8 housing is a low-income assistance program. However, income guidelines are based on the median income levels for the area you wish to live in for your household’s size. Section 8 income levels are broken down into three parts:
Extremely Low Income: Your family’s income level is considered extremely low if your income is 30 percent of the area’s median income level.
Very Low Income: Your family’s income level is considered very low if your income is 50 percent of the area’s median income level.
Low Income: Your family’s income level is considered low if your income is 80 percent of the area’s median income level.
While your household only needs to meet the program’s low-income guidelines, the HUD grant priority assistance to households with very low and extremely low income. As a result, low-income families may need to wait longer to receive benefits.
While anyone can submit a Section 8 application, your household will only qualify for benefits if you meet household makeup requirements. To qualify for benefits, your household must meet at least one of the following conditions:
- You have dependent children living within your home
- At least one member of your household is over the age of 62
- At least one member of your household is disabled
Additionally, It’s worth noting that Section 8 for veterans is only available if the veteran’s household meets one of the above criteria.
Section 8 housing can only provide assistance to households that have at least one person within the household who is a United States citizen or has an eligible immigrant status. Additionally, some Public Housing Authorities will require you to verify the citizenship or immigration status of each household member before benefits can be provided. Lastly, the Section 8 housing program can reserve the right to reject applications of households that have had recent evictions, particularly concerning drug-related or criminal activities.