Getting a Section 8 voucher is a huge step towards saving money, as it can pay a big chunk of your rent. Once you get a Housing Choice Voucher, here’s what you’ll need to do with it.
If you need help right away, some programs may direct deposit a short-term loan into your bank account.
One of the easiest and quickest ways to pay less rent is to get a roommate. In doing so, you can split the rent payment and divide the financial responsibilities, so everything isn’t riding on your shoulders.
Unfortunately, roommates come with several drawbacks. First, they greatly reduce your privacy. Second, they may be loud or messy while refusing to obey house rules. And third, roommates don’t exactly fit in great when you’re living with family.
What’s a better option to pay less rent? Getting a Housing Choice Voucher from the government’s Section 8 program. Once you have it, the voucher will take care of the majority of your rent payment, which will give you some peace of mind plus added wiggle room in your budget.
To learn more about applying for Section 8 and to begin the process, click here and find your nearest Public Housing Agency (PHA). It could take a while to get approved for a housing voucher, depending on your location. But once you’re good to go, here’s a breakdown of what to expect:
Finding a Home With Your Section 8 Voucher
Time is of the essence with your voucher. This form of housing assistance is in extremely high demand, and you’ll have to use yours before it’s given away to someone else.
As soon as your PHA grants your Housing Choice Voucher, dedicate as much time as possible to finding a home that fits Section 8’s standards. If you don’t do this before your voucher expires, you’ll lose the assistance and need to reapply.
If you’re having difficulty finding a home, ask your PHA for an extension before the voucher’s expiration date. It’ll give you extra time to find what you’re looking for.
To avoid wasting time, only look for homes within the area designated by your PHA. Ask them about the rent as well. You will need to look for homes that are “affordable.” Not only that, they will have to be safe and in good condition, or they won’t pass the necessary Section 8 inspection.
What’s one way to use your voucher immediately? Using it to help pay the rent where you currently live, which is also known as “leasing in space.” Ask your PHA if this is an option if you’d like to stay where you are, but pay less for rent with your voucher’s help.
Know that you can transfer your voucher if you move, but you’ll typically have to wait until your initial lease is up. Also, don’t feel limited in your search to just apartments. Provided the property meets Section 8 requirements, you could even move into a single-family home.
Don’t assume that your Housing Choice Voucher will pay for all costs. It will pay a portion of your rent, but you’ll be responsible for any application/screening fees from landlords, as well as security deposits.