Section 8 Housing
Finding low income housing can be a difficult task. It is necessary that you have as much information as possible. This article will tell you a little bit about the program, how it works, if you are eligible for section 8 housing, how to apply and where to find more information on section 8 apartments and single family homes.
The Housing Choice Voucher Program, commonly referred to as Section 8, a reference to the section of U.S. Housing Act of 1937 that created the subsidy program, has helped low-income families pay the rent since the Great Depression and is widely considered to be one of the most successful affordable housing programs.
Authorized in 1974 by Congress, the Section 8 housing program provides low income apartments through rental subsidies for eligible low income families. This program is an effective way for the government to provide clean, safe, affordable homes and apartments for rent to families and individuals in need.
Section 8 Eligibility
The Section 8 housing program is administered by each city’s Public Housing Authority (PHA), which determines who is eligible. Local PHA contact information can be found on the HUD site here. A list of Section 8 Housing options are available to browse by PHA here.
Local PHA’s compare the total annual gross income and family size to the median income for the metropolitan area in which they operate. Typically, families whose income does not exceed 50 percent of the median income for the area are eligible. Also, a PHA must grant 75 percent of its vouchers to applicants whose incomes are less than 30 percent of the median income. Check with your local PHA to find your area’s specific income limits.
The application process will examine each applicant’s income, assets and family characteristics. Verifications with local banks and employers will be completed to determine Section 8 eligibility.
Section 8 Housing Vouchers
If the PHA determines that an applicant is eligible for low income housing they will be granted a voucher which can be used at apartment buildings and home rental properties that participate in the Section 8 housing program. To find participating apartments and houses, use MyNewPlace apartment search and select the ‘affordable’ icon on the amenities drop down toolbar. This will display apartment buildings that offer low income housing.
The PHA, since it has limited resources, sets parameters. The goal of the housing program is to allow for the participating families to rent an affordable apartment, which is defined as a rental that is 30 percent of monthly income. The PHA therefore determines a payment standard, which is the amount of a moderately priced home or apartment for rent in the local housing market.
Section 8 participants can use their housing voucher to rent an apartment that is around this payment standard. Though PHAs allow for families to choose apartments or homes for rent that exceed the payment standard, they would be responsible for paying any additional amount. By law, the PHA limits the percentage of income that can be paid towards rent to 40 percent of income, however.
Section 8 Waiting Lists
Long waiting lists are common in many areas as the demand for affordable apartments usually greatly outpaces the resources available to HUD and PHAs. Some PHAs have actually closed their waiting lists. Each PHA is different, so it is essential to do some research before you start looking for an apartment for rent.
PHAs do, however establish priorities for certain applicant families such as those that are homeless or living in squalid conditions, paying more than 50 percent of its income towards rent or have been involuntarily displaced. The PHA is has the latitude to establish priorities according to the demands of the local market.
It is important, not only to have information about the Section 8 housing program as well as the local PHA, but about your own budget. The MyNewPlace Apartment Rental Guide can help you Calculate Your Apartment Budget to ensure that you have an accurate picture of your financial situation.