All You Need to Know About the Section 8 Housing Voucher Program
As housing gets more and more expensive every year, many low-income families and individuals have to spend well over 50 percent of their income on rent. This is a burden that puts them in a very precarious financial situation, with not much left over for groceries, utilities, or any emergencies.
One of the ways the Department of Housing and Urban Development tries to address this issue is with Section 8, a unique form of public housing. The Section 8 program helps low-income tenants rent from private landlords with monthly vouchers that subsidize up to 70 percent of the cost.
For those that qualify, Section 8 vouchers are a unique opportunity to lower their monthly expenses without having to live in a traditional public housing complex. Read on to learn more about, and how DoNotPay can help you do it a lot more easily.
What Is the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program?
Section 8 is a national program run by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and maintained by local Public Housing Authorities in each county. The eligibility rules can vary slightly for different areas, but the vouchers are generally designed for tenants that are low-income, elderly, or disabled.
What Are the Requirements for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program?
Standard Requirements for Section 8 Vouchers (For the applicant):
- Be 18 + years old
- Provide proof of income for every member of the household, including salaries and any benefits
- A total household income that falls under 50 percent of the average for your county
- Be a US citizen or have a legal immigration status
The determination of your income level itself is actually complicated. The income limits that HUD sets are broken down into three categories, extremely low income, very low income, and low income. The actual income levels differ based on the area because they are calculated as a percentage of the area's median income level.
|Extremely Low Income
|30 percent of the area’s median income level
|Very Low Income
|50 percent of the area’s median income level
|80 percent of the area’s median income level
Potential Disqualifications for Section 8 Vouchers (For Anyone in Your Household)
- Being evicted from Section 8 housing in the past
- Owing rent to a landlord in the Section 8 program
- Being convicted of a drug-related crime, especially if it took place in or near Section 8 housing
- Being convicted of a violent crime
- Having status as a sex offender
It's also worth noting that Section 8 isn't only a resource for low-income families. There are also many individual tenants , especially if they are elderly or disabled.
How Can I Get a Section 8 Voucher?
If you need rental assistance and think you might be eligible to get a Section 8 voucher, begin the process by heading to the Department of Housing and Urban Development's website. There's a specific page where you can find contact information for the Public Housing Authority in your local area. Reach out to them to fill out the Section 8 pre-application, which asks for information like:
- Name of the head of household
- Current address
- Size of your household
- The ethnic background of the head of household
- Information about every source of income for your household
You will also be asked about membership in any of the vulnerable groups that Section 8 is designed to serve, like being disabled or a Veteran.
The PHA uses this pre-application to evaluate whether you qualify for a Section 8 voucher and should continue advancing in the process. If you do, the next step would be providing more in-depth information about everyone in your household and then being placed on the waitlist.
Apply for a Section 8 Voucher With the Help of DoNotpay
For those that are struggling to pay for housing while also keeping up with other bills, the Section 8 voucher program can be a real lifeline. While the Section 8 application process involves several steps, you can get the ball rolling quickly and easily using DoNotPay's rental assistance tool.
The world's first AI Consumer Champion uses artificial intelligence to make the Section 8 voucher application process as simple as possible, and you can do it all from your smartphone or laptop.
Best of all, you won't have to hunt down the contact information for your local Public Housing Authority or struggle to try to fill out the application correctly! The tool makes sure you include all the relevant information, formats the application for you, and then submits your case to the right PHA for review.
How to Apply for Section 8 Vouchers With DoNotpay
If you want to apply for Section 8 Vouchers 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.
Is There an Easier Way to Apply for Section 8?
DoNotPay's rental assistance tool was created to take all the guesswork out of starting your application with the Section 8 housing program and getting much-needed assistance with paying rent. Think of it as having your own AI Consumer Champion making sure all the paperwork is filed correctly and gets sent to the right place, while all you have to do is answer a few questions.
DoNotPay's rental assistance tool is the fast, easy, and legally-sound way to fill out your Section 8 paperwork on your smartphone or laptop.
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