Will Government Shutdown Impact Your Section 8 Application?
In the 21st century, safe and sanitary housing has become a preserve of the financially stable. To this end, the American government formulated a plan to assist its citizens.
The housing choice voucher program helps American citizens living under the federal poverty line, people with disabilities, and seniors afford decent housing in the private sector. This program was severely affected in Section 8 shutdown when Congress could not agree on the stopgap measures for funding.
The Section 8 voucher program allows families to choose where they want to live, such as an apartment, single-family home, or townhouse. The local PHA (public housing authority) subsidizes their rent, and sometimes the family may even qualify to buy a home with a voucher.
The process of getting a Section 8 voucher is long and arduous, with extremely long waitlists. DoNotPay is an AI-powered app that can assist you in the time-consuming application process.
Who Is Eligible for Section 8?
- The family size.
- Your income limit: Your income should be less than 50% of the area's average income.
- Your citizenship: You must meet the citizenship requirements, and undocumented immigrants cannot qualify.
- Previous evictions: If you were evicted from a Section 8 housing program for illegal activities, you do not qualify for assistance for three years from your eviction date.
How to Apply for Section 8
|Locate Your local PHA.||Go online and look for your local PHA. This website has categories for each local PHA by state, city, and zip code. You can find all the relevant contact information here.|
|Check Your Eligibility.||The PHA helps you to determine your eligibility for Section 8 assistance. They check eligibility based on your family's size and gross annual income. Your income should fall under 50% of the area's average income limit to qualify. Only legitimate US citizens and some non-citizens with legal immigration status qualify for Section 8.|
|Get an Application for the Program.||You do not pay for the application forms for the Section 8 program. Depending on which PHA you apply for, you can get the forms online, in person at the PHA office, or via mail.|
|Submit the Application.||The application asks for the name, birth date, Social Security number, and the gross annual income of all the applicable family members. Other requirements include email and mailing addresses, criminal history and housing history, valid phone numbers, etc.|
|Find Out Your Waiting Status.||The PHA may reject your application or place you on a waiting list. Sometimes your application may face rejection because of the high number of applicants vis a vis the low number of houses. Your application may also face rejection if it wasn't among the chosen ones in a random lottery. The PHA should explain the circumstances, and you can request a review.|
|Confirm Your Placement on the Waitlist.||A waitlist can take years before your turn comes. It takes a few months to process and another few months for the application processing. After processing, the PHA should confirm your placement on the waitlist via logging into their online portal or mail.|
|Looking for a Qualified Unit.||Under the Section 8 Voucher program, you will pay rent 30% of your monthly income. The voucher covers the other 70%. You must look for housing that fits the requirements of the Section 8 program and must pass a physical inspection. The PHA pays the landlord directly.|
This process is extremely long and tedious. You have to keep in touch with the local PHA to check for changes. The shutdown affected millions of people on the Section 8 program, but there is a way to make the process easier.
How DoNotPay Can Help in the Section 8 Shutdown
DoNotPay helps to navigate the complex red tapes and government bureaucracies. The government shutdown meant that people who were top of the waitlist could not access housing. It goes against federal law to demand rent from a Section 8 voucher recipient because of PHA's shortcomings. This meant that during the shutdown, it would be illegal to evict a tenant for the delay or non-payment of funds from the PHA.
The government shutdown lasted 35 days, and when it reopened, the timeline was shaky. If this ever happens again, DoNotPay is at hand to help.
If you are looking to navigate the complexities of the Section 8 vouchers after the shutdown, DoNotPay can help
- 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?
DoNotPay can help spare you the hassle of following up with government mechanisms. It's also:
- Fast: You do not need to spend hours queueing in government offices or waiting on hold when making phone calls.
- Easy: leave the filling of forms to us with a few clicks of the mouse.
- Successful: we shall make the best and most convincing case for you. If you have extenuating circumstances that need expedited processing, we shall help you draft a letter and attach your proof of need.
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