How to Determine if You Qualify for a Housing Choice Voucher?

Housing Choice Vouchers – Do YOU Qualify?

( – It can be difficult for many Americans to afford the cost of housing. The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) defines a “cost-burdened” household as spending over 30% of its income on housing. HUD, or the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, has various offices that offer assistance programs, especially housing. The Office of Housing is one of the essential HUD offices, and its job is to oversee the Federal Housing Administration. This program is commonly referred to as HUD or Section 8 housing.

Understanding the Housing Choice Voucher Program

The Housing Choice Voucher Program is the most extensive federal government rental assistance program. Administered by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), this program allows struggling individuals and families to find rental housing that meets their needs and HUD’s standards in their area. The government then provides a subsidy to help the participant afford rent.

These funds are allotted to participants via local Public Housing Agencies (PHA), and different states will have additional eligibility requirements. However, common things considered are a household’s gross annual income and family size and composition. Per The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Developments requirements, PHAs must ensure that at least 75 percent of their participants are at less than 30 percent of the area median income. This program is generally limited to U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Temporary or undocumented immigrants are not eligible.

How Does It Work?

The following are common steps to obtain Section 8 benefits.

Application Process

Participants will apply for the program through their local Public Housing Agency (PHA). If you need help finding your local office, HUD provides an online search tool for locating a PHA, allowing you to find your local office quickly and easily. Far too often, the number of participants seeking public housing exceeds the resources the PHA has available for the area. Therefore, it is not unusual for individuals to be placed on a waitlist. Waitlist priority is given first to those homeless or living in substandard housing, then to those paying more than 50 percent of their income for rent, and finally to those involuntarily displaced.

Finding Housing

Once an individual or family participant is selected to receive Section 8 assistance, they are encouraged to consider several housing choices to find the best housing for their needs. The PHA will calculate the amount of rental assistance available, generally ensuring that the remaining rent will be no more than 30 percent of the participant’s income.

Qualifying housing choices include trailer homes, apartments, duplexes, townhouses, and single-family homes. Qualifying locations are not limited to government housing projects; sometimes, participants can even use the funding to purchase a modest home.

For the participant to rent through the program, the property’s landlord must agree to accept subsidized payments for the housing. Since part of the program is to provide safe housing, the PHA will require participants to inspect their housing to ensure it meets the program’s standards. Once the participant enters a lease with the landlord, they will be required to pay the security deposit and monthly payments for utility services on their own. Additionally, the tenant will be required to adhere to all lease terms or be at risk of losing their benefits.

How the Subsidy is Paid

The PHA and the landlord will enter into a housing assistance payment contract that runs for the same duration of the tenant’s lease. The PHA will provide monthly subsidy payments to the landlord, and the tenant will be responsible for paying any remaining amount.

What are the Section 8 Eligibility Requirements?

Specific Section 8 eligibility will vary by state, but most local PHA’s look at the four different aspects:

  • Family Status
  • Citizenship Status
  • Income Level
  • Eviction History

For additional information on the eligibility requirements or the application process, contact the local PHA.

It can be challenging to handle paying for the cost of housing. That is why HUD offers the Housing Choice Voucher Program, also known as Section 8. This program is one of the most popular choices for people in need. Remember, it is only available to people who meet the qualifications. The qualifications can vary by state, but most include these four requirements: family status, citizenship status, income level, and eviction history. If you have questions about whether you qualify, contact your local PHA.

Copyright 2022,