You’ve probably heard of the Section 8 Assistance Program, but you’ve never looked into it. Well, you can read through this article to get the main idea of how you can get help. All you have to do is scroll through, without letting your mind wander. (Lunch can wait until you finish reading this article.)
Section 8 Assistance Program is an initiative taken up by the U.S. Department Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The Section 8 Assistance program seeks to give housing choice vouchers to those who are eligible based on the different requirements. This includes: citizenship, eviction history, income level, and family status.
You should appreciate any help, but you will not be able to receive assistance unless you fall into these categories. (Do not fret, the Section 8 Assistance program is not the only program out there.)
How Section 8 Assistance Works (And Work For You)
Section 8 Assistance comes in the form of vouchers that are issued by the HUD. But, your local Public Housing Agency (PHA) is responsible for distributing them. This means that if you are currently having housing trouble, then the Section 8 program will provide you with financial assistance for you to get by. You and your family will be responsible for locating an appropriate housing unit of your choice. However, the owner has to agree to follow the terms of the program and rent under the Housing Choice Voucher Program. (Humanity is good and people are nice. Have faith and start looking for a helping hand.)
The Public Housing Agency of your State will partially pay the landlord directly, on behalf of the low-income family that is participating in the Program. The family needs to only pay the difference between the actual charged rent from the landlord and the funds subsidized by the Program. (It isn’t free, but at least, it’s on sale. No one can say no to a good bargain.)
Criteria for Section 8 Assistance Program
In order to be eligible to receive Section 8 Assistance, you will need to meet all the criteria. Instead of browsing through endless tabs on the Housing and Urban Development Department website, we have it for you right here. So, we are going to show you how the HUD assess criteria applicants.. This way you can understand more about the process and take advantage of this wonderful benefit. (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development )
The four different criteria that you should be eligible for are: your citizenship, eviction history, income level, and family status.
Immigration and Citizenship Status
US citizens or those who have the status as legal immigrants in the United States are eligible to receive assistance. If you are not a citizen of the United States, that is not an issue. You could still apply and you still may qualify for Section 8 vouchers. (There is always an exception to the rule and that could be you.)
You can still apply, if you are one of the following:
- Lawful permanent residents (i.e., green card holders);
- Registry immigrants;
- Victims of human trafficking,
- Refugees/asylum seekers;
- Conditional entrants;
This means that you do not necessarily have to be an American citizen. The Housing and Urban Development Department is kind enough to help those who need it.
Regarding evictions, you will not be eligible for Section 8 Assistance, if you faced eviction for certain reasons. This includes if you were evicted for illegal activity or criminal charges, relating to illegal narcotics. Also, you are ineligible, if you were charged before for the production of the methamphetamines in a low-income, project-assisted housing property/facility. It’s important to note that your application will definitely not be considered if you are a registered sex offender. However, any other reason for eviction is eligible. (Everyone deserves a second chance, but the Section 8 program does not want trouble.)
Family Status Requirement
Family status is one of the main factors that will determine whether you would qualify for Section 8 Assistance or not. The Housing and Urban Development determines these requirements. However, the local Public Housing Authority also plays a role in determining these requirements. The following considerations determine your family status.
- Does the applicant have children/dependents?
- Does any family member have a disability (mental or physical)?
- Has the applicant experienced forced displacement (through federally recognized natural disasters or an evacuation, due to government action)?
- Does the applicant have children?
These considerations will help identify the amount of financial assistance you might need. If you are financially struggling and you have major responsibility to your name, then the Section 8 Assistance program will take that into consideration. (Also, good for you. You are handling life very well, even if you think you are failing.)
Income Level Requirement
Income level is one of the most important factors that determine whether you qualify for Section 8 Assistance. It also defines how much financial assistance you will receive. As a program, Section 8 Assistance is geared towards low-income communities. This means that eligibility and the amount of relief that you receive is determined based on whether that individual’s income level falls below a certain amount. (If you have managed to find yourself in a really tight spot, then the Section 8 Program will be more than willing to help.)
In this system, applicants are classified into three main groups, based on income for assessment purposes. The classification includes “low income”, “very low income”, and “extremely low Income”. You will find that “low income” is eighty percent of the area’s median income level. As for “very low income, it means that it is fifty percent of the area’s median income level. The final level, “extremely low income”, is thirty percent of the area’s median income level. (U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development)
It goes without saying that priority is given to those that all fall into the “extremely low income” category; they are the ones who are the most in need. Income in relation to family size is also a variable that is taken into consideration during the assessment process. This is assuming that a single family can have anywhere between one and eight members.
As an example, typically families of average size (e.g A family of four) that classify as “extremely low-income” would make around $15,000 annually, whereas an eight-member family that makes only $30,000 would also fall into the same category because of the family’s size. The income level classification and the family size criteria go hand-in-hand.
To understand the calculations behind the system, you can use the HUD website’s online tool to see where you fall. The HUD’s online tool will identify how much you can receive, based on your income level classification and your family size. (If you have a vague idea of your potential Section 8 Assistance, then you can plan accordingly.)
Tips for the Application
During the application phase, you might be anxious and uneasy. It is understandable that you would want to be accepted. This is why we are offering tips for your application and basic pick-me-ups that we hope will help you out. (Think of these tips as key cards before a big test; short and straight to the point.)
What To Include In Your Application
The ideal list of documents that are included in your application may vary from state to state. However, there are standard items that will be incorporated in your file, if you are applying for Section 8 assistance or any other housing program.
The standard items are as follows:
- Society Security Number (That was expected, though.)
- Evidence of citizenship/immigration papers (You should definitely include your proof of residence with your evidence)
- Birth certificates
- Proof of income (This could include pay stubs that range from three to six months.)
- Credit scores
- Tax documents
- Bank statements
- List of social welfare benefits you get (SSI, food stamps, etc.)
- List of places you’ve lived in for the previous five years.
You will need to provide these standard requirements for the application. But, you do not have to worry day and night about it. There are no right answers, just basic information to know your situation better. (The Section 8 program just wants to understand who you are and what you are going through.)
Once You Are on the Waiting List
Once you have applied, you will be on the waiting list. It is absolutely normal for you that you are waitlisted; you will not get accepted right away. You could correlate the process with applying to college. Either way, the waiting period is inevitable. However, there are things that you can do, rather than twiddle your thumbs.
Here is how you can get the most out of your time:
- Apply to as many waiting lists as possible. (You can never be on too many waiting lists.)
- Make sure your current mailing address is dependable. (You would not want to receive an email that informs you of your acceptance. But, find out six months later because it was stuck in your junk mail.)
- Do not fall for scams asking you to pay money to move up the waiting lists. (This will definitely not help you move up; it will move you nowhere.)
- If you have a doctor’s note which indicates you have a disability or a medical condition, this can help. If your medical condition is getting worse because of where you are living, they can speed up the process of answering your request. (The Housing and Urban Development Department is nice that way.)
We understand that the world has been hard on you; the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development understands that. Section 8 Assistance Program is a housing voucher program that helps low-income families. The U.S. Department Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is the main sponsor of the Section 8 Assistance Program. However, you will find that the local Public Housing Agency is responsible for its distribution.
In order to be eligible for the Section 8 Program, you will need to fall under four specific criteria. The four criteria are: citizenship, income level, family status, and eviction history. You do not have to be a citizen of the United States to be eligible for the Section 8 Assistance. (However, you will need to define your citizenship and\or immigration status.)
The second condition is your income level requirement, which is the income level you make. The median level of where you live will determine your income level. There are three income level categories: low income level, very low income level, and extremely low income level. Another condition is your family status, which depends on your family size and the condition of your family. You will find a correlation between the income level and family size, determining the amount of financial assistance you will receive.
The fourth and final condition to be eligible for the Section 8 Program is your eviction history. If you have produced or are related to any eviction activity that concerns drug activity, then you will not be eligible. Also, if you are a registered sex offender, then you will not be eligible for a Section 8 Assistance voucher.
When you are applying for a Section 8 Program, then you will automatically find yourself on a waiting list. This is a common procedure, so there is nothing you should worry about. The waiting period happens with everyone. There is basic information that you will need to provide in your application. This is the Housing and Urban Development’s method of finding more about who you are and your situation.
No matter what happens, you will always find that help is on its way.
U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development. “Housing Choice Voucher :Chapter 5.” n.d. HUD.gov. 26 06 2021 <https://www.hud.gov/sites/documents/DOC_35615.PDF>.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development . Section 8 Assistance Program. n.d. 26 06 2021 <https://www.hud.gov/topics/housing_choice_voucher_program_section_8>.