What Is Section 8?

Section 8 is also referred to as the housing choice voucher program. It helps an individual and their family who have a low income so that it can be much easier for them to afford it. Section 8 provides a hygienic and secured house. For those who are focused on budget and are not able to afford much, section 8 housing can be the best choice. In this article, I will tell you how to apply for section 8 housing.

Section 8 Housing Programs

Section 8 housing programs

There are 4 types of section 8 housing voucher:

  • Tenant-based housing choice voucher 
  • Hcv homeownership voucher
  • Project-based voucher
  • Project-based rental assistance 

It is also important to take a look at if Section 8 housing program is appropriate for your rentals or not.

NOTE: A section 8 voucher is a voucher you need while renting a section 8 property. 

1. Tenant-Based Housing Choice Voucher

Now, is this tenant-based voucher or voucher-based upon tenant?

Tenant-based housing choice is the most common type of voucher. With this voucher, a tenant can find the house of their preference and the best part is there are no laws or demands by the government that the landlord has to look upon while choosing a tenant. 

Another advantage is that if a family chooses to move, they can take the voucher with them. But, it is important to notify PHA ( Public Housing Agency ) as they have to terminate the lease of the rental agreement. 

2. HCV Homeownership Voucher

The homeownership voucher gives families an opportunity to utilize their voucher to rent homes that are assisted by the HCV program. However, it is important to note down that the HCV program is not given by most of the PHA’s. 

You need to have some qualifications if the homeownership voucher is offered by the PHA. The program offers help to prospective homebuyers in repaying a mortgage loan for up to 15 years. 

3. Project-Based Voucher

The project-based voucher is where a landlord makes a contract with a housing agency to rent the house to families with low income. Even the rent amount is determined by the authority which is accepted by the landlord too. 

Here, you do not have to provide a location in order to pay the rent. Although project-based vouchers are exclusive to residential units rather than renters, once a family has lived in Section 8 housing in Oklahoma for one year and is in good standing with the housing authority, a PHA will often convert a project-based voucher to a tenant-based voucher.

4. Project-Based Rental Assistance

Project-based rental assistance allows tenants to pay rent that is based upon their income level. If used well then, project-based rental assistance can be a source of long-term affordability. HUD’s Project-Based Section 8 initiative provides private multifamily housing owners with a long-term project-based rental assistance arrangement to keep their units affordable.

Eligibility for Section 8

Eligibility for Section 8

1. Family Status

You must meet HUD’s requirements on what they really mean by family. You need to contact the PHA of your local area to find out about the qualifications for section 8. 

There are few conditions you need to meet on family status for being eligible for section 8.

  • Do you have children or not.
  • At least one person over the age of 62.
  • One or more individuals in the house with a disability.
  • Displacement by government action or destruction caused by a natural disaster.

2. Your Income Level

Section 8 is usually meant for people with low income. The good news for people with very low income is that to meet this requirement their annual income must be below a certain amount. 

The income level here is also broken down into 3 sections. Let me show it to you 

Extreme Low Income 30% of the area’s median income 
Very Low Income50% of the area’s median income 
Low Income 80% of the area’s median income 

3. Status of Your Citizenship

Even though Section 8 has been beneficial to a lot of people, it’s said to know that it’s only eligible for American citizens and those who have qualified immigration status. If you belong to one of these two categories there are some procedures that you have to follow. 

If you are an American citizen then the PHA will make you do the following things:

  • Sign a statement that states that all of your family members are American citizens.
  • Request a U.S. passport, social security card, or other documents to check each person’s citizenship status.

If you have a qualified immigration status then the PHA will make you do the following things:

  • Make you sign a statement specifying that you meet the criteria for immigration.
  • You must send INS documentation proving your immigration status.
  • Check your details with the Internal Revenue Service.
  • Check if you have signed a consent form allowing them to use the information they’ve gathered.

4. Eviction History

Like other rental procedures Section, 8 also has some requirements in terms of eviction. You should have a bad eviction history due to some criminal activities. Your eviction history will also determine if you are eligible for section 8 or not. If you have a bad eviction history there is no chance of you getting the property in section 8 unless it’s reasonable and convincing. 

How to Apply for Section 8 Housing?

Let me provide you with the steps and procedures you need to follow to apply for section 8.

1. Visit Your Local PHA

Even if the documents have been looked upon by the Department of Housing by the US and HUD’s it still needs to be administered by your local public housing agency. Your PHA will check if you meet every criterion to meet the needs of getting a section 8 housing or not. 

2. Prove That You Are Eligible

Your local PHA will check if you are eligible for the section 8 housing program or not. The PHA will check your family status where you have to meet certain conditions regarding the members of the family. Your income level will also be checked here. The income level will be categorized into 3 sections as mentioned above before.

3. Section 8 Application

Application for Section 8 housing choice vouchers are also available on websites and can be fill up online. Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher applications are completely free and will be available by mail, or at the local housing authority’s office, depending on the PHA. 

The application would usually request the following information from all household members: 

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Social security number
  • Gross income

Mailing addresses, email addresses, housing records, criminal history, phone numbers, and other information may be required. When submitting the document, make sure to follow all of the instructions to ensure that it is processed correctly.

4. Waiting List

After filling up the application, you will be on the waiting list. Here the PHA is checking every qualification you have provided them. After the waiting list is done, you will be informed whether you have been accepted or rejected.

 You need to also confirm your waiting list placement. Many waiting lists can take a lot of time. But once the application is confirmed the authorities of housing will contact you.

 5. Find Your Housing

Tenants will have to pay 30% of their income as rent. The rest of the things will be covered by the voucher itself. People must seek out housing that accepts Section 8 vouchers and complies with program standards, which include a physical inspection. PHAs will cover the bills directly to the landlord until an accommodation is reserved. 

6. PHA’s Preference or Cutback

Local PHAs may have requirements for individuals who qualify for assistance ahead of others such as the elderly citizens with disabilities, those who are homeless and local residents. If you are on a PHA’s preferred applicant list, make sure you let them know. If you don’t, the waiting time will be extended.

The Roles of Tenant, Landlord,  Housing Agency, and HUD

The Roles and oligations

Once the local PHA approves a family, there will be some obligations and responsibilities under the section 8 program.

1. Role of HUD

HUD also pays the PHA a charge to cover program administration expenses. HUD encourages PHAs to apply for grants for additional housing vouchers when additional funds become available to assist new families. 

After that, applications are checked and finances are awarded to the PHAs that are chosen on a competitive basis.HUD oversees the program’s administration by the PHA to ensure that all program rules are followed.

2. Obligations of Tenants

The family that has been approved has to sign an agreement with the landlord of a minimum of 1 year. In some cases, tenants are asked to pay the security deposit too. When a family moves into a new house, they must contribute to the lease and program conditions, pay their share of rent on time, and notify the PHA of any changes in income or family structure.

3. Obligations of Landlord

The role of landlords towards their tenants is to provide safe and comfortable housing at a good rate. As long as the homeowner earns housing assistance benefits, the residential unit must pass the program’s housing efficiency requirements and be kept up to those standards. In addition, the landlord is responsible for providing the facilities agreed to in the contract with the tenant and the PHA contract.

4. Obligations of Housing Authorities

The PHA offers rental assistance to a family in order for the family to find appropriate housing, and the PHA enters into an arrangement with the landlord to make housing assistance payments on the family’s behalf. Tenant health and safety are protected by following the State Sanitary Codeand federal laws and regulations.

The PHA has the right to cancel assistance payments if the landlord fails to fulfill the owner’s obligations under the contract. The PHA would need to re-evaluate the family’s income and structure.

Click here: Section 8 Rental in Oklahoma to find the section 8 rentals in Oklahoma.

Potential FAQs

What will not make you qualified in Section 8?

You can be disqualified by Section 8 if you’ve been accused of a variety of violent offences, as well as fraud and drug trafficking.

What does Section 8 application include?

Date of birth
Social security number
Gross income

How long does it take to get Section 8 voucher?

Approximately two weeks prior to your scheduled Section 8 rental briefing.

Is it possible to use my Section 8 voucher to purchase a home?

Yes, you can use a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher to help pay for your lease, but the housing authority that administers the voucher must be a member of HUD’s Homeownership Voucher Program.

How can I get Section 8 quickly?

Call a local public housing authority in your town or county to apply for an emergency section 8 voucher and to try to be given priority to avoid a waiting list.

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