What is Section 8 and the Section 8 Lottery?The Section 8 program is a rental assistance program. If you apply for Section 8, you'll only have to pay about thirty percent of your income towards rent. Applicants are usually through a lottery process. The Section 8 lottery is generally found to be the most fair and impartial way of dispersing Section 8 vouchers. Section 8 is short for, the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program. The Section 8 Rental Certificate, or Voucher program, increases affordable housing choices for very low-income households by allowing families to choose privately owned rental housing. Families apply to a local public housing authority (PHA) or administering governmental agency for a Section 8 certificate. The PHA pays the landlord the difference between 30 percent of the household's adjusted income and the unit's rent. Purpose: Several assistance programs exist under Section 8. The Section 8 voucher and certificate programs together help over 1.4 million households in the United States by paying landlords the difference between what the household can afford and the rent for the unit. The administering PHA inspects the housing units to make sure they comply with HUD quality standards. Landlords must agree to accept no more than fair market rent. Certificates are "tenant-based": The qualifying households may use them in any rental unit where the landlord agrees to participate in the program. The assistance provides affordable, decent, safe, and sanitary rental units to low-income families. Type of Assistance: The Section 8 rental assistance program issues certificates to income-qualified households. The PHA then pays the landlord the amount equal to the difference between the tenant portion of the rent (30 percent of adjusted income, 10 percent of gross income, or the portion of welfare assistance designated for housing ) and the contract rent, which must not exceed the HUD-established fair market rent for the area. HUD pays the PHA an administration fee to cover costs of running the program, including accepting and reviewing applications, recertifying eligibility, and inspecting the rental units.
How do I qualify for Section 8 and what do I need to apply?Document your income and housing costs. Have pay stubs from your employer verifying your salary, and either your mortgage information or something in writing from your property owner that confirms your current rent. You'll need these documents to apply for the Section 8 lottery application and obtain a voucher. Know what kind of voucher you need. HUD provides assistance to both renters and homeowners. Apply for section 8 online if you rent the premises where you’re living. Complete a property voucher application if you would like financial assistance with paying a mortgage for a condominium, townhouse or home that you own. In some cases, Section 8 vouchers can be used to purchase a modest home and make mortgage payments. Apply for vouchers. Contact your local PHA to begin the Section 8 application process. Find a list of PHAs here. Ask if it's possible to complete the forms online.
Get assistance with completing the necessary paperwork if you’re not fluent in English. Call your local public housing authority to find out their office hours so you can complete the paperwork in person. Find out whether someone will be available to translate or to help you complete the forms.
Be prepared for a long wait. In many cases, people who apply for Section 8 online are put on the waiting list. Your local PHA may have more applications than it can afford to approve vouchers for, and will therefore have a waiting list for applicants. In some cases, there are as many as 100,000 applicants for only 10,000 spots. It can take upwards of 3 to 6 years in these areas to be enrolled in Section 8 while on the waiting list. Be aware of prioritizing. PHAs develop local preferences for moving applications up or down the waiting list, and may give preference to families who are currently homeless or living in substandard housing, families who pay more than 50% of their income in rent, or families who are involuntarily displaced. Inquire at your local PHA office if you have any questions about how prioritizing is allotted. If the PHA in your area has more applicants than it can assist in the near future, it may temporarily close down. Although the closure is not permanent, it may be beneficial to look for Section 8 application in another county or metropolitan area if this happens.
Know your responsibilities if you do get accepted. If your local PHA does approve your application and provide you with a housing voucher, you'll need to make sure that your current or intended living situation fits HUD health and safety requirements as you apply for section 8. If you're renting, you'll be required to sign a year lease with a cooperating property owner, who will be obligated to both you and your local PHA to provide safe housing and reasonable rent. You'll also be required to make payments on time, maintain the unit in good condition, and comply with the terms of the lease. If you fail to pay the landlord on time, your Section 8 assistance could be revoked. Know how much your rent will be. Under Section 8 housing, you and your family will pay 30% of your monthly adjusted gross income on housing and utilities. Your voucher will cover the remainder of the cost. Your local PHA can help you calculate how much you need to budget for each month. The Section 8 and Subsidized Houisng Online Packet is merely a tool used to be kept apprised of open waiting lists and locate offices to apply for Food Stamps or Social Security Benefits.
Say, for example, your monthly income is $1,000. You'd pay $300, even if the rent of the unit is $1,000. The maximum voucher issued by the PHA is $2,200 per month.
Know that it may be illegal for a landlord to refuse you occupancy just because you're enrolled in Section 8. A landlord may legally refuse occupancy for failure to pass background checks, poor credit, and other determinations, but cannot refuse occupancy to you based solely on your Section 8 enrollment. If you think a landlord has refused occupancy to you based solely on your Section 8 application online enrollment, contact your local PHA. Know what role geography plays in Section 8 enrollment. Section 8 guidelines are different from location to location. But in general, residents who receive a tenant-based voucher for the current jurisdiction in which they live may use that voucher to live anywhere in the country. Residents who do not live in the same jurisdiction in which they applied must move to the jurisdiction that issues the voucher for at least 12 months; after 12 months, they are free to move.
Step 1: Complete your credit or debit card information.
Step 2: Register and join the Housing List Blog.
Step 3: Find links to new open Section 8 waiting lists online.
Note: We can not guarantee that your Housing Authority is accepting applications at this time, but we do update our Online Packet each week with this information.