Section 8 Housing Program is a federal assistance program administered by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Although the terms HUD and Section 8 or often used as the same thing, they are in fact different. HUD is the agency that runs the program Section 8 for low-income families. The confusion between the two terms is just one of the many confusions people face when trying to understand Section 8.
What is Section 8?
Section 8 is a government-designed program that aids low-income families by helping cover a portion of their rent. The federal government supplies housing vouchers to these families based on the annual gross income for the household. Although it is a national program, each branch is administered by a different state office, which means each office has a list of preferences for each household.
The value of the family’s housings voucher is based on the size, income and cost of living for the district they are applying for. Cost of living can differ from state to state, city to city. Someone living in New York may not be receiving the same amount as someone living in New Jersey.
How do you Qualify for Section 8?
Section 8 was designed for low-income families. To qualify, the families must be making an annual income below the median needs of the district they are applying for. If the applicants believe they are eligible, then they must first submit an application to the program. After the application is submitted, the Public Housing Authorities (PHA) will review the information. The whole process can take several months and requires extensive information regarding the household.
Standard information included in the background investigation:
- What is the household size? How many family members?
- Citizenship status. Are all applicants U.S. citizens or lawful immigrants?
- What are the financial assets for the household? This may include liquid assets, as well as banking (checking and savings accounts.)
- Family status. Are their disabled members in the family? Pregnant or elderly?
- If applicants have prior evictions the PHA employee may want to speak with previous landlords.
- Criminal Background of all members of household. To read more about criminal backgrounds and Section 8 here.
Once the application has been reviewed, the applicant will be given a number and placed on a waitlist. When the applicant reaches the top of the list, they will be brought in for an interview to go over eligibility. If the applicant fails to show up for the interview, they will forfeit their place in line.
Are there Income Limits for Section 8?
The program is designed for low-income families, which allows PHA’s to set limits for household eligibility. The limits can vary from one PHA to the next because they are based on the local median household income. PHA’s classify applicant’s importance by categorizing them by low-income, very low-income and extremely low-income.
- Low- income families typically earn no more than 80 percent of the median income level for their area.
- Very low-income generally earn no more than 50 percent.
- And extremely low-income will make no more than 30 percent of the median local income.
Family households whose income is 30 percent or less will receive 75 percent of the PHA vouchers, which is outlined in the HUD guidelines.
PHA’s try to ensure all applicants receive the help they need. The list of priority preferences listed above may vary from one PHA to the next, but in general, the focus is always aimed at the applicants deemed the most in need. Tor had more about section 8 Housing options in your area CLICK HERE