National Affordable Housing

How to Apply for Section 8 Housing

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All US citizens with a low household income have an opportunity to get assistance from the government by applying for Section 8 housing or housing choice vouchers. Just like any process that involves filling out application forms, the Section 8 housing application process is quite complicated. Still, knowing your rights and responsibilities as well as being aware of the qualification criteria and other terms, you will go through it with ease.

1. Understand how it works.

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The Section 8 program offers assistance vouchers to families with low income. There are specialized institutions (public housing authorities or PHAs) around the country where you can address for help with getting your voucher. The vouchers can be project-based and tenant-based:

  • A project-based voucher is issued for a particular unit and lasts for a certain time. Under this voucher, you get assistance as long as you live in the same unit, but once you decide to move, you will no longer be able to use the voucher.
  • A tenant-based voucher is issued for a particular tenant, meaning it will carry over to the next unit if the tenant decides to move. Under this voucher, you get continued assistance regardless of where you choose to settle.
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2. Understand how to qualify.

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For your application to be approved, you need to meet a few requirements, which may differ a bit depending on where you apply but still are pretty much the same:

  • Your household income must be below the median income in the city or county you are going to live in. Since the housing authorities give 75% of their vouchers to families who earn less than 30% of the median income, these families comprise the majority of the Section 8 recipients.
  • Your and every member of your family must either be US citizens or legal immigrants and have documents that can prove it.
  • You must meet some requirements as for family composition, assets, lifestyle, etc.
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3. Prepare all the necessary documents.

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One more thing you will need to qualify for Section 8 housing is a documented proof of your income information and housing costs. Therefore, you have to ask your employer to give you a pay stub verifying your salary as well as ask the owner of the property for documents confirming how much you will have to pay for the rental.

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