How to Secure Section 8 Vouchers for College Students Fast
The college years are hardly the same for every student. Some college students enjoy full-ride scholarships, low-cost or free dorm living, and more money on their meal cards than they can spend. Other college students face the challenges of homelessness and hunger throughout their journeys. For these individuals, schoolwork is done around a series of part-time jobs, time spent in food bank lines, and long hours of worrying about the essentials.
Section 8 seems like the ideal program for someone who's just getting their start in life. The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program pays a hefty portion of a qualified person's rent, so long as they remain under the income limits for their household size. But are there opportunities for ?
Applying for Section 8 is challenging no matter how old you are, who you live with, or where you currently reside. Section 8 government housing programs are consistently ranked among the most high-demand forms of public assistance in the nation. Countless individuals and families submit their appeals for Section 8 vouchers each year, and many more are waiting with bated breath for local waitlists to open.
The good news is that you can rely on DoNotPay to help you get the low-income housing you need. With DoNotPay, college students can track Section 8 waitlists, compile the required application documents, and get answers to all of their housing-related questions.
Who's Qualified for Section 8?
Section 8 rental assistance programs are generally geared towards helping low-income individuals and families that pay more than 50 percent of their monthly earnings in rent. In nearly every location, Section 8 is administered and managed by the city or county housing authority.
However, this program is federally funded. Funding for this program is disbursed by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development and all basic eligibility criteria are decided at the federal level.
Among some of the most basic requirements for qualification are:
- Applicants must be at least 24 years old or older to be automatically considered non-dependent adults
- Applicants cannot be registered sex offenders
- Applicants must be legal residents of the United States
For college students, attending a higher university was once a major barrier to this program. At one time, it was not possible to apply for Section 8 if you were attending any institution of higher learning. For students, scholarships, grant monies, and other financial awards for academic achievement were mandatorily considered part of the student's income.
This remained true even when all or nearly all of these monies were used to pay for tuition rather than other living costs. Fortunately, however, this rule was amended by HUD in 2006. Now, college students of all ages can submit a housing Section 8 application form and receive program approval, so long as they meet all eligibility requirements.
Section 8 Eligibility Criteria for College Students
Income eligibility guidelines for Section 8 are set at the state, county, or city level given that applicants must earn below 30 percent of the median income for the areas in which they're applying. However, other remain fairly static. In addition to being legal residents of the U.S. and not being registered sex offenders, college applicants must be at least 24 years old and independently qualified for this program, or under 24 years old with parents who are income-eligible for Section 8 as well.
These rules apply to any college student who:
- Isn't a veteran of any branch of the U.S. military
- Is unmarried
- Does not have a dependent child
However, there are often college students under the age of 24 who are completely independent of their parents. These individuals receive no financial help from their parents in the form of:
- Tuition payments
- Rent assistance
- Food assistance
- Health, dental, or vision insurance
Independent college students are not claimed on tax returns by their parents, and they live solely on their earnings and other income. For independent college students under the age of 24, HUD will accept proof of independence or proof of absent parents. This is especially true for:
- Wards of the court
- College students who grew up in foster care
- College students who are unaccompanied and at-risk of homelessness or already homeless
- Illegally emancipated college students.
How to Apply for a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher on Your Own
To apply for the Section 8 program in any area:
- Locate the housing authority that administers and manages the Section 8 program locally.
- Determine the waitlist status.
- Submit your pre-application regardless of waitlist status (if allowed).
- Wait for an announcement of an open waitlist and apply.
- Submit your personal and financial information (and the information of your parents if you are under 24).
- Show proof of independence if you are under 24 and do not receive financial assistance from your parents.
Federal Contact Information for the Housing Choice Voucher Program
The best contact for the Housing Choice Voucher program is your local housing authority. However, you may be able to get answers to general questions about Section 8 from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.
|United States Department of Housing and Urban Development|
|Address||United States Department of
Housing and Urban Development
451 7th Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20410
|Website||HUD Official website|
HUD can answer your questions about providing your financial independence as a college student under the age of 24. HUD representatives can also answer questions like:
- How do I apply for section 8 in-person or online?
- Is it possible to get section 8 immediately?
- Where do I go to fill out an application for Section 8?
- What's the best way to submit my housing application form?
Next Steps if You're Having a Hard Time Applying for Section 8 by Yourself
If you're required to submit financial information for your parents for Section 8 and are unable to obtain it, you may be able to find housing resources that don't require this information. One of the best resources for low-income college students is the state-sponsored community resource hotline. In every area, the phone number for this hotline is 2-1-1.
Community resource operators from 2-1-1 can give you the contact information for charitable organizations in your region and details on low-cost public housing for students. Calling 2-1-1 is also an excellent way to find needs-specific funding for your demographic. 2-1-1 operators can give you direct referrals to local social service agencies with low-income housing programs for young adults.
You can also:
- Contact HUD to request guidance on proving your independence
- Work with your local housing authority to prove your status as an independent adult
- Consult with an on-campus counselor to get guidance in overcoming application difficulties
Submit Your Section 8 Application With the Help of DoNotPay
Submitting your Section 8 application as a student is a cinch with DoNotPay.
If you want to but don't know where to start, DoNotPay has you covered in 2 easy steps:
- Answer a few questions about your income, family size, veteran/disability status, which county you hope to live in, etc.
- DoNotPay will find the PHA in charge of that county and contact them with all of your eligibility information to determine if you can start applying. They'll get back to you directly via email with the next steps.
Why Use DoNotPay to Apply for Section 8?
Applying for Section 8 as a college student isn't easy. Even though you may be an independent adult, many funding opportunities and support programs want financial information from your parents. Moreover, most forms of housing assistance are waitlisted for years. By the time you find a program that you're qualified for on your own, you might already be a degreed professional with a substantial amount of income.
With DoNotPay, you can overcome these and many other challenges. DoNotPay makes it easy to compile and submit application documents for low-income housing assistance. It also keeps track of waitlist statuses for you. This way, you can spend more of your time and energy focusing on your coursework, and without missing out on valuable opportunities. Using DoNotPay is a great way to take advantage of Section 8 options college students have access to.
DoNotPay Works Across All Agencies in Minutes and With Just One Click
Did you know that you can submit Section 8 HUD housing applications in multiple areas at once? This is a great way to avoid spending months or even years on a single Section 8 waitlist. Although preference is often given to residents of each area, any application that you submit will still be honored when adequate funding becomes available.
Moreover, Section 8 vouchers are portable. After one year of being on a Section 8 program in any county, you can take your Housing Choice Voucher anywhere in the nation and enjoy the same benefits. Best of all, you can submit your Section 8 applications to multiple housing authorities across the nation with just one click. DoNotPay works seamlessly across all agencies and groups within minutes.
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