What exactly is Section 8?
It is a government-sponsored program that reimburses qualifying low-income families for a portion of their monthly rent.
Low-income families are accountable for paying 30% of their monthly income to the program. The remaining 70% is paid to the family’s landlord via a housing voucher by the Housing Choice Voucher Program.
What organization oversees the Section 8 Program?
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development was in charge of the initiative (HUD).
Currently, the program helps about 4.8 million families in the United States with their rent.
What is the difference between the Housing Choice Voucher Program and Section 8?
There isn’t any distinction between the two. The Housing Choice Voucher Program, or Section 8, is also known as the Housing Choice Voucher Program. Do not be misled by the title Housing Choice Voucher Program, which can be seen on most housing authority websites.
What distinguishes Section 8 from Public Housing?
Section 8 provides more flexibility than public housing, in a nutshell.
Section 8 provides a voucher to qualifying families that they can use with any private landlord that accepts the housing choice voucher. These vouchers are accepted by both apartment complexes and single-family homes.
You have less freedom to pick where you live when you live in public housing. A local public housing agency is usually in charge of public housing. You don’t have the freedom to remain wherever you want when you qualify for public housing. Instead, you must select a dwelling unit from the housing authority’s network.
Do You Qualify For Section 8?
Before you waste any time or money traveling around this enormous metropolis, find out if you qualify for the program.
We’ll go through four elements that influence eligibility in this section. Those elements are:
- Basic Eligibility Requirements
- Your Household Income Level
- Preferences for Section 8
- Disqualifying Factors
Eligibility Requirements for Section 8
The first section’s requirements are straightforward: you must be an adult and a US citizen.
The following are the exact eligibility requirements:
- You must be at least 18 years old to
- Either a US citizen or a non-citizen with valid immigration status in the United
- Families and single persons are both eligible.
If you’re unsure what “eligible immigration status” means, these are the requirements:
- Lawful Permanent Resident
- Registry Immigrant
- Conditional Entrant
- A person granted 1986 amnesty status
- A resident of the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau or Guam
- A victim or relative of a victim of trafficking
Section 8 Income Requirements
Your household must earn less than a certain amount of money to be eligible for the program.
The Section 8 income criteria are less than 50% of the Area Median Income (AMI).
Don’t worry if you don’t understand what Area Median Income means; we’ll explain it later.
Simply put, the Area Median Income is the average or median income of all households in the territory.
Use HudUser to determine the Location Median Income in your area. This website will provide you with the most recent Area Median Incomes for each state in the United States.
Let’s look at a real-life example of Area Median Income now that you know what it is and where to locate it.
Take, for example, Houston.
In 2018, the Houston, Sugar Land, and Galveston area had an AMI of $74,900 per year, according to HudUser.
To be eligible for Section 8 in Houston, you must earn less than $26,250 as a single adult.
Here are some examples of income (or AMI) increasing as your household size grows.
Section 8 predilections
Preferences simply mean that vouchers are distributed first to those who are regarded members of the preference population. After the people in those priority demographics have received their vouchers, the rest of the population will begin to receive theirs.
Here are some examples of possible preference populations:
- Young Adults
- People with disabilities
- Local Residents
- Families who were displaced (Harvey survivors)
Don’t be dismayed if you notice that there are preferences for a waitlist. These aren’t conditions. It simply implies that people who match these criteria will receive vouchers before others.
Section 8 Disqualifications
We’ll go over the situations that will preclude you from earning a coupon in this section.
The following are non-negotiable reasons why you would be kicked out of the program:
- If you or someone in your family has been evicted from Section 8 housing in the last five years.
- A housing authority terminated rental support for someone in the
- If a member of your family owes a housing authority
Each of the aforementioned reasons is non-negotiable and will disqualify you or your family from participating in the program.
Is it possible to qualify for Section 8 if I have a criminal record?
The quick answer is yes; however, if you have a criminal past, receiving a voucher will be more difficult.
Individuals with criminal backgrounds may be eligible for vouchers through the HCV Program on a case-by-case basis. The subtleties of this will be discussed in this section.
What impact does a criminal record have on your Section 8 housing application?
The scenarios listed below will have an impact on your Section 8 application.
- You have a better chance of earning a Section 8 housing voucher if you were arrested but never convicted than if you were convicted.
- Individuals who have been convicted of a violent or drug-related crime will find it difficult to qualify for a voucher. Individuals who have been convicted of a sex offense at least once in their lives will be disqualified for Section 8
- In general, the further back in time your arrest or conviction occurred, the better your chances of qualifying. You will most likely be denied a voucher if you have been convicted within the last year.
Being genuine is the best practice. Ask someone from the housing authority if you have any questions about the application you’re filling out. Although no one will ever know you lied on your application, if you are detected, you will face far more severe consequences than having your application denied. If you lie on a HUD application, you could face legal consequences.