The Section 8 program is a federal government program designed to help families who are considered “low-income” find affordable and safe housing. The program provides housing vouchers to eligible families which will cover a portion of their rent. The income standards for the program are set by the individual public housing authority (PHA). They are based on three significant factors, the district the family is applying for, the household earnings and the size of the family.
The process usually takes several months, but some families can get approved faster if they fall into the select preferences. These preferences include being a homeless family or a family who has young children. Once approved, the families are free to look for Section 8 housing.
However, choosing an appropriate place to live can be just as confusing as the application process. You may find yourself asking- what type of housing is available or how quickly can I move in? These are all common questions that can be answered by reading below.
What Type Of Housing Is Available?
There are two types of rental options. The program offers Section 8 apartments and Section 8 houses. Both options are privately-owned and developed for lower- income families. To live in an apartment, the landlord must accept Section 8 vouchers as a way of payment. You may find an apartment complex that offers mix-use. Mix- use means the building landlord offers units that can be paid with a voucher and other units that cannot be paid with the voucher.
The same policies apply to house rentals. There are specifically developed Section 8 neighborhoods where housing options are available. But there are also private owners of homes that aren’t located in the designated Section 8 housing track who accept Section 8 vouchers.
Residents are free to choose their place to live as long as the landlord is willing to accept Section 8 vouchers and can pass the safety standard.
How Do I Find A Section 8 Approved Home?
How Do I Find A LandLord That Accepts Section 8?
After making your way to the top of a waitlist with a Public Housing Authority (PHA) you will be asked to attend a briefing. At this time point in the application process you should be able to ask your local PHA about any accredited landlords that accept section 8 in your area. Many PHA offices will have units that they manage or have a list of landlords that accept section 8 housing choice vouchers. Search here for a list of of PHA offices in your area. Locate the nearest PHA in the area you wish to live in and take the following steps:
- Contact the local PHA. Call, email or visit website. If website is not listed, google search the name of the PHA, most will have a website with instructions.
- Fill out Section 8 application and follow the instructions listed by the PHA for the Section 8 application. Typically you will be put on a a waitlist and contacted once you have reached the top of the list.
- Attend housing briefing in person. During the briefing ask about available Section 8 housing options in the area.
- locate your local housing authority website, most will list the available Section 8 properties online.
- One trick that you can also use to find low-income properties and landlords, is try to Zillow and specify a section 8 keyword search and select the “income restricted” option in the search filters.
When Can I Move In Once I’m Approved For Section 8?
Once an applicant is eligible and approved for a Housing Choice Voucher, the local public housing authority (PHA) will inspect the chosen home for approval. The family can move in once the PHA approves that the property meets all of the Section 8 guidelines. The process usually takes about four weeks after approval to be able to move in. Read here to learn more about the Section 8 a
The inspection will be evaluated by the safety and cleanliness of the property. If the unit fails to pass the safety standards, the family and landlord will be notified as to why it didn’t pass and given the opportunity to make the repairs. Once the repairs are made the family may appeal the decision.