Qualifying for Section 8: What You Need to Know

(DailyVibe.com) – Are you interested in applying for Section 8 housing? If you’d like to apply for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Housing Choice Voucher Program, often called Section 8, you have to meet certain qualifications to get the rental assistance you need. What do you need to qualify? Consider these top necessities before applying for Section 8

Demonstrate a Clean Rental History

If you’ve been evicted in the last three years, you’re likely ineligible for Section 8. That’s because the program insists that applicants agree to pay security deposit and rents on time, stick to the lease terms, eschew illegal activities, and ensure the public housing authority may conduct mandatory property inspections. When reviewing the applicant, the public housing authority will contact past landlords as references.

Meet Income Requirements

You must qualify as low income to meet the Section 8 guidelines. What does that look like? You make 50 percent or below the median income for the metropolitan area or county where you’re hoping to live. As a program rule, three-quarters of a public housing authority’s Section 8 distributed funds must go to applicants who make 30 percent or lower than the median income in the area.

Have Proper Immigration Status

To receive Section 8 housing, you need to be one of the following:

  • United States citizen
  • Legal immigrant with a green card
  • The program may also prioritize you if you are a victim of sex trafficking, a refugee or asylum-seeker, a parolee, or a conditional entrant.

If your household has members that can’t prove immigration status or citizenship, you may get a “mixed family” designation, which cuts the amount of benefits you can receive.

Have a Clear Criminal Record

Certain types of convictions can prevent you from receiving Section 8 benefits. This generally applies to convicted sex offenders and those who have been convicted of manufacturing methamphetamine in a low-income area or facility. Domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking convictions can also prevent you from gaining this type of housing, as the housing authority wants all residents to live in a safe and secure area.

Demonstrate Your Family Needs

Certain family needs will put you ahead of others on the Section 8 housing waiting list. Those needs include:

  • Families with kids
  • Families with a member who has a cognitive or physical disability
    Families including a household member over the age of 62
  • Households who have experienced displacement due to a natural disaster
  • Families who are currently unhoused or living in substandard, unsafe housing

While families are generally prioritized, single people can also apply for Section 8. Many unhoused and/or disabled residents of Section 8 housing are single. If you’re accepted into the program, you have to notify the public housing authority. If you get a roommate or if there is a change in your household income. This is because the income or roommate situation affects how much assistance you may be able to receive.

Be Able to Find a Rental Within a Specified time Period

When you’re granted public housing agency approval to get Section 8 housing, you’re able to search for a unit that fits your needs and has a landlord who will accept the Section 8 voucher. The housing also needs to meet HUD standards of “safe and sanitary.” Finding a landlord who accepts Section 8 can be tough, but it’s helpful to remind them that the majority of your rent under the voucher program is guaranteed by the federal government. Once approved, find housing as quickly as you can to retain your benefits.

If you qualify for Section 8 housing, it’s worth applying! Everyone deserves a secure, safe, clean place to live.

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