Understanding Section 8

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Section 8: Affordable Low-Income Housing

Section 8 is a federal program that provides low-income families subsidized housing at private rental units. The housing program is the federal government's primary program for assisting very low-income families, seniors, and disabled individuals to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market. A section 8 voucher holder can generally pay no more than 30% of his/her monthly income towards rent, the housing authority covers the rest.

There is normally a waiting list to receive section 8 vouchers that are administered by your local Public Housing Authority (PHA). The wait can vary from a few months to several years.

The section 8 application process can be confusing and complicated, but DoNotPay can help.

Who is Eligible for Section 8 Housing?

Every state and local housing authority sets its own rules for section 8 eligibility. In general, households must meet certain conditions to qualify for section 8 housing, including having very low income, being unable to afford regular market-rate housing, and agreeing to a one-year lease.

Some localities set quotas limiting how many of vouchers they will give to families with children, while some set preferences for people with disabilities or local residents.

In order to qualify for section 8 housing, the total household income must fall well below the federal poverty guidelines.

What Are the Federal Poverty Guidelines in 2022?

For the year 2022, the following household income limits apply:

  • 1 person $13,590
  • 2 people $18,310
  • 3 people $23,030
  • 4 people $27,750
  • 5 people $32,470
  • 6 people $37,190
  • 7 people $41,910
  • 8 people $46,630
  • For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $4,720 for each additional person.

What Type of Housing Can You Use a Section 8 Voucher To Rent?

Section 8 voucher holders can rent a variety of types of housing, including single-family homes, townhouses, and apartments.

The housing must be decent, safe, and sanitary. And it must pass the program's inspection standards and be modest in size and design. Generally speaking, a two-bedroom apartment is considered appropriate for a single parent with one child, while a four-bedroom apartment would be suitable for a family of six or more people.

Can You Use a Section 8 Voucher for Assisted Living or Nursing Home Housing?No. Housing for assisted living or nursing home care is not covered under the section 8 voucher program.
Can Other People Live in the Section 8 Housing You Rent?The section 8 voucher holder is the only person who may live in subsidized housing. If there are other people living in the unit, then they must be included on your lease and you must pay them fair-market rent for their portion of the apartment.
How Long Is Your Section 8 Rental Period?When initially renting with a section 8 voucher, most housing authorities require participants in the program to sign a one-year lease.

However, recipients may be able to negotiate shorter tenancy periods with their local housing authority if they need assistance finding new housing that is available for voucher use.

How to Apply For the Section 8 Housing Assistance Program Yourself

The housing authority in each city operates its own section 8 program. The best way to apply for the voucher is to contact the local housing authority directly. You can find your local housing authority through the HUD Locator.

  1. Check the list of local housing authorities for your area.
  2. Call or visit each housing authority's website to see which agencies administer voucher programs in your state.
  3. Submit an application to the Housing Authority, along with verification of all household income and other eligibility requirements (eligibility requirements vary by location).
  4. Once you are approved, the Housing Authority will issue you a voucher. You will then contact private landlords to find an apartment that is willing to accept your voucher.

Getting Help Applying for Section 8 if You Are Unable to Do It by Yourself

Some people are unable to complete the application process for section 8 housing by themselves. Examples of people who would benefit from having help with their application include individuals who are illiterate, have a disability that prevents them from completing an application, or do not speak English well enough to fill out the forms on their own.

There are community organizations and charities that can provide free assistance with the section 8 application process. These organizations may be able to help you complete and submit your application.

Some examples of groups that offer this type of help include:

  • Your area's local aid society.
  • The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has information about how to get assistance through its free housing counseling program.
  • The National Council of La Raza offers Spanish-language applications for the section 8 program, or you can ask if they have an affiliate in your area that provides this service.

Apply for Section 8 With the Help of DoNotPay

If you want to apply for section 8 housing but don't know how to navigate the system, the process can seem intimidating. DoNotPay simplifies the section 8 application process and guides you every step of the way. DoNotPay helps you avoid making mistakes and fills out your application for you so that your chances of receiving section 8 housing are maximized.

How to Apply for Section 8 Housing with DoNotPay

If you want to apply for Section 8 Housing, but don't know where to start, DoNotPay has you covered in 2 easy steps:

  1. Answer a few questions about your income, family size, veteran/disability status, which county you hope to live in, etc. Image:
  2. 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. Image:

Why Use DoNotPay to Apply for Section 8 Housing?

With so many different rules and regulations for section 8 housing, it can be easy to make a mistake on your application. If you do, then you may not receive the benefits that you deserve or lose out on your opportunity to apply for section 8 housing by yourself. DoNotPay helps simplify the process and make sure that your application is completely filled out and submitted properly.

DoNotPay Works With All Housing Authorities With the Click of a Button

When you create an account with DoNotPay, it automatically works with all housing authorities. All you have to do is fill in your address and DoNotPay will identify the proper housing authority for your area.

DoNotPay's application is easy to fill out and only takes a few minutes. The program guides you through the process and gives you helpful hints along the way.

What Else Can DoNotPay Do?

DoNotPay can help with a variety of time-consuming issues, such as:

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