The Section 8 application process can be a long one. Before you take the leap to secure a Housing Choice Voucher, here are some things you’ll need to know.
If you need help right away, some programs may direct deposit a short-term loan into your bank account.
If you’ve heard of Section 8 before, it’s not by mistake, as it’s probably the most popular housing assistance program out there. What makes Section 8 so popular? It’s Housing Choice Vouchers that pay a significant portion of your rent directly to your landlord.
With Section 8, the rent becomes affordable. You won’t have to worry as much about paying your landlord, as your rent portion will be much smaller. And, as its name suggests, a Housing Choice Voucher even gives you the benefit of picking where you want to live. In other words, you can choose between single-family homes, apartments, and townhomes that are privately owned, as opposed to being limited to public housing buildings.
While the thoughts of paying less for rent may have you chomping at the bit to apply for Section 8, there are some things you must know first. Most of them deal with eligibility, and they define what could keep you from getting approved for Section 8. Let’s have a look:
Before you apply for a Housing Choice Voucher, know the following:
1. Your overall household income.
It would be great if everyone were eligible for Section 8 housing assistance, but that’s not the case. Simply put, there’s not enough funding to go around to help everyone pay less rent. As such, Section 8 is reserved for low-income households who need it the most.
To qualify for Section 8, you will have to meet specific income requirements. This means that you cannot make more than a certain income and qualify. Household income includes how much you make, as well as other people who you intend to live with in your potential Section 8 home.
2. The immigration status of everyone in your household.
Immigration status can be a bit tricky when it comes to Section 8 assistance. To get the max benefit, everyone in the household will need to have legal documentation to live in the U.S. However, only one person in the home must fit that description to apply.
If approved, your voucher will be based on the number of people with legal immigration status in the home.
3. The criminal history of everyone in the household.
Getting a Section 8 voucher with a criminal history can be difficult, but not impossible. You can still get approved, even if you have a felony or you’re on parole. However, it will depend on your PHA, as each does its own background checks and has different rules.
Certain crimes can eliminate you from Section 8 contention. One is being convicted of producing methamphetamine in federal housing. Another is being on the lifelong sex offender registry. Lastly, you can be rejected for Section 8 if you’ve been evicted within the last 36 months for drug issues.
4. Where you want to live.
If it looks like you pass the first three eligibility requirements, you’re one step closer to applying for Section 8. Next, you’ll need to figure out where you want to live and then find the nearest Public Housing Agency to apply. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to live in that area yet to apply there.