How to qualify for Section 8

The Housing Choice Voucher Program, also called Section 8, provides housing assistance, in the form of vouchers, to low-income families. These vouchers are used to help the family pay for housing.

Vouchers are administered by local public housing agencies (PHAs) based on household income and family size, and recipients are free to choose any housing that meets program requirements. In this article, we are going to explain in a simple way how to qualify for Section 8 and receive assistance from the program.

How do I know if I can qualify for Section 8?

How to qualify for section 8

To determine if you can qualify for Section 8 and thus receive assistance from the program, housing agencies look at three factors.

Family state

A family can be made up of one or more adults, with or without children. Also, in the program there is a special rule that states that young full-time students without dependents cannot receive assistance.

Income level

In most cases, your income must be less than 50% of the area median income. In some places the income limit may be higher, up to 80% of area median income.

Migratory state

You need to qualify for the Section 8 at least one family member must be a US citizen or have a certain type of lawful immigration status. You can apply for program assistance if some members of your family do not meet this requirement, however, you will not receive the full subsidy and will have to pay more in rent.

You also have to provide these documents

In order to verify that the information about your case is credible and determines that you may qualify for Section 8, the housing agency will ask you to provide certain documents, such as:

  • Birth certificates of all family members;
  • Social security cards for all family members;
  • Driver’s license;
  • Government issued photo ID;
  • Passport (if you are not a United States citizen);
  • immigration papers;
  • Signed verification of immigration status;
  • Social Security verification letter and proof of benefits;
  • Proof of income (pay stubs, W2, tax returns)
  • Bank statements;
  • Documentation of public assistance benefits;
  • Information about any assets you own.

Can I qualify for Section 8 if I am under 18?

Some housing authorities require that a person be 18 years of age, have a custodial parent if under 18, or be legally emancipated by a court to qualify for public or subsidized housing. In some states, those under the age of 18 cannot be held to the terms of their leases, which is why housing authorities have an age requirement.

Some applicants for state and federal public or subsidized housing have challenged these practices, alleging violations of anti-discrimination and other laws. Some of these challenges have been successful and some have not. Even if it is legal for a housing authority to deny housing to a minor, it may be illegal if this policy was not put in writing by the housing authority before they made their decision.

If you want to contest a denial based on age, it may mean asking the housing authority for their tenant selection plan or Admission and Continued Occupancy Plan. If the plan does not require, in writing, that the applicant be at least 18 years old, you have a good case to contest the denial. When appealing the decision, you should try to present as much evidence as possible that you will be able to fulfill your obligations under the lease, such as paying rent, keeping the apartment in a safe and sanitary condition, and not disturbing the neighbors..

If I have a criminal or substance abuse history, am I entitled to public or subsidized housing?

Yes. However, being eligible to be placed in a waiting list it is different from being “suitable” to live in a dwelling. Once a housing agency determines that you may qualify for Section 8, they will review your housing, criminal, and credit history to see if you are a good tenant. In this sense, You could be denied assistance from the program, but the exact reasons for the denial will depend entirely on the nature of the record.

If I am a victim of domestic violence, will I have any special protections when applying for Section 8?

Yes one federal law offers important protection to victims of domestic violence who apply for certain federally assisted housing.

The law states that being a victim of domestic violence, romantic violence, or stalking cannot be a reason to be denied federal public housing, a Section 8 voucher, or private housing based on a Section 8 housing project. multi-family

For example, a housing authority cannot deny assistance because a previous landlord said that your partner broke the windows and destroyed the property, since acts like these are considered domestic violence. If you think you have been denied Section 8 help for these reasons, you can challenge the decision.

Domestic violence includes, but is not limited to, a misdemeanor or felony committed by:

  • A current or former spouse of the victim;
  • A person with whom the victim shares a child in common;
  • A person who lives or has lived with the victim as a spouse; or
  • Anyone when the action is against an adult or youth who is protected by state law.

The romantic violence is committed by a person who has or had a relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. Harassment is repeatedly following, chasing, or engaging in behavior that is intended to intimidate or harm another person or to place a person under surveillance.

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