The Basics of Section 8 Housing
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If you and your family are struggling with rent, or having a hard time finding a safe, clean place to live, there’s hope. The U.S. government offers a number of programs intended to provide assistance to those who need it. You and your family could be eligible for assistance right now and not even know it.
Administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Section 8 grants housing aid and assistance to eligible low-income families across America. The program is designed to help those in need by covering a percentage of their housing costs. It ensures that millions of low-income families, elderly and disabled Americans can find secure, sanitary housing. Ready to discover the voucher right for you?
What is The Best Kind of Section 8 Voucher?
A variety of Section 8 housing choice voucher types are administered by local public housing authorities (PHA’s). Two of the most common are the project-based and tenant-based vouchers.
☑️ When a tenant-based voucher is issued, you can move into housing with financial assistance in place. Should you decide to move, the financial assistance is carried over and continues at your new residence.
☑️ Project-based vouchers are only valid for a specific place and for a set period of time. However, just because you were issued a project-based voucher doesn’t mean you aren’t eligible to receive a tenant-based voucher.
Wait! There’s Even More Voucher Types That Not Everybody Knows About!
Homeownership Vouchers – These are designed to help low-income families purchase a home of their own.
Conversion Vouchers – These offer substitute housing to families and individuals affected by demolition, disposition or the mandatory conversion of public housing units.
Vouchers for People with Disabilities – This voucher provides assistance to low-income families caring for members with disabilities.
Family Unification Vouchers – These are designed specifically to help keep families together, should a lack of affordable housing lead to the separation of parents and their children.
HUD-VASH Vouchers – Helps provide housing assistance to low-income veterans.
One of the most important pre-registration steps is figuring out what form of assistance applies to your specific case. If you have questions, contact your local PHA (public housing authority). They are there to serve you!
Determining Your Eligibility
Determining your eligibility is the first critical step to finding out whether or not you and your family should apply for housing assistance. The local PHA determines eligibility, using gross income and family sizes as the primary determining factors. Section 8 eligibility varies from state to state, but most requirements revolve around a certain set of factors, including family income, median income in your area, your current rent, assets and the breakdown of your family. Here is a checklist to make sure to review:
✔️ You must be a US citizen or legal immigrant with eligible status.
✔️ You must earn, as a family, less than 50% of the median income for the county in which you choose to reside. Most applicants tend to earn closer to 30% percent of the median income. Make sure to note that most PHAs must provide three quarters (75%) of its vouchers to families that fall into this income bracket
✔️ You must meet all other criteria based on assets and family make-up
Prove Your Case – Don’t Skip! This Is Extremely Important Before Applying
If only it were as easy as meeting the requirements and getting accepted. Unfortunately it isn’t. You are responsible for proving your case. Here are the most important steps to take to ensure a successful review:
Salary and Rental Information – You must have pay stubs from your employer and pay stubs for any additional working family member. You also must provide a written statement from your property owner that confirms your current rent. Both documents are required when applying for any voucher.
CHECK YOUR CREDIT SCORE – Landlords and other property owners WILL absolutely check your credit score before you can take possession of any Section 8 apartment or house. It is vital that you check your score before this and clear up any issues. Don’t allow yourself to be taken by surprise and be disappointed by the results. Get your free credit score and credit report now and take any necessary actions to improve it before it’s too late.
GET YOUR BACKGROUND CHECKED – Just as with your credit score, it’s important to have a perfect understanding of the information available on your background. As preparatory measure, we recommend you to get your background checked now. Information is power and once you know what’s there, you can take steps to fix it before an application for assistance is denied. Click here to check your background today!
Know What Kind of Voucher You Need – HUD provides support to individuals and families that rent and individuals and families that already own their own home. You must complete a tenant voucher if you are a renter or a property voucher if you own your residence. In certain cases, you may even be able to use a Section 8 voucher to purchase a small home or to offset mortgage payments. Know the voucher you need before starting your application.
For an even more detailed review breakdown of requirements, click here for our Section 8 Eligibility Guide.