If you’re a student or a young professional from a low-income household and looking to help your family pay rent, you may qualify for Section 8 vouchers. It’s a government-funded assistance program that’s one of the most effective methods to provide housing for those who need it. So, suppose you’re hoping to join the program. In that case, this article will tell you everything you need to know about it, from the Section 8 vouchers, the requirements and qualifications, the application process, and where to find Section 8 housing.

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What is Section 8 Housing?

Section 8 is a program created and funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that helps residents pay for rent. More commonly called “Section 8,” it offers subsidies or government incentives in the form of vouchers by paying all or part of a tenant’s rent directly to a participating landlord. In general, the program’s goal is to provide affordable, safe, and sanitary housing to low-income, disabled, and elderly individuals and families.

  • How does it work?Through the public housing agency (PHA), the program pays a portion of the rent (with vouchers) of individuals or families who meet specific qualifications.
  • What are vouchers?Vouchers are portable subsidies that qualified participants can use to lower their monthly rent.
  • Who can apply for the program?The PHA is the one who decides who’s qualified for the voucher. They also follow specific criteria that you can read more about below.
  • Where can I find Section 8 housing?You still have to apply for a room or unit at a rental property. But not all properties accept Section 8 vouchers. Thankfully, you can find listings and HUD houses for rent at Roomi!

Inspection and Rights

Applying for a Section 8 voucher requires a lot of work, and being a property owner comes with its fair share of challenges. With tons of paperwork, properties under the program are also subject to government inspections. Inspections aren’t a bad thing; it’s part of the approval process before participating in the program.

There are many ways an inspection can go, usually depending on the area and PHA. But generally, the inspection will go smoothly if the property is regularly maintained. The HUD also has aproperty standard’s guidethat owners can refer to, just in case.

Related:Apartment Security Systems: Steps You Can Take As A Renter

Qualifications and Requirements

HUD is very particular when giving out Section 8 vouchers, so there are certain qualifications you have to meet to be part of the program and successfully find Section 8 housing. Your local public housing authority (PHA) will look at four things: your family size, total annual income, citizenship, and eviction history.

  • Family size and status.Each PHA has its definitions of a family, so it’s best to contact your local PHA to see the exact family qualifications.
  • Income requirements.The actual income levels vary depending on the area since it’s measured as a percentage of the area’s median income level. But in general, there are three income levels:
    • Extremely Low Income – 30% of the area’s median income level
    • Very Low Income – 50% of the area’s median income level
    • Low Income – 80% of the area’s median income level
  • Citizenship status.Only American citizens and those who haveeligible immigrant statuscan get Section 8 vouchers.
  • Eviction history requirement.If you’ve been evicted from a property within the last three years for any drug-related activity, you won’t be granted any Section 8 voucher.

Waiting List

With the high demand for Section 8 vouchers and the low availability of HUD houses, patience is a virtue when applying. The application and acceptance process takes a long time, and some even take years! Most of the time, applicants are put on a waitlist despite being qualified. The PHA decides everything, from who’s eligible to who gets added to the list, and they can even close the waitlist if it gets too full.

Related:10 Survival Tips For College Students Living In NYC

Pros and Cons of Section 8 housing

If you’re looking to find Section 8 housing, here’s a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of renting HUD houses.

Pros

  • Qualified participants will only pay around 30% of their adjusted monthly income to housing expenses.
  • You may find access to better homes through the program.
  • Your local PHA will assist you throughout the process.

Cons

  • Your Section 8 voucher support will end after 15 years, maybe even less if your mortgage terms are less than 20 years.
  • You may have to wait a long time before being granted a voucher due to the high demand for the program.

How to apply for Section 8 vouchers?

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To find Section 8 housing, you’d need to apply for vouchers. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you with the process.

  1. Know where you want to live. Since there are different local PHAs, it’s important to decide which area you’d like to rent in.
  2. Find your local public housing agency or HUD office.
  3. Confirm you meet all the qualifications to be eligible for a voucher.
  4. Complete your application and wait for the PHA to process your application.
  5. Once processed, you’ll either get rejected or be put on the waitlist. Remember that even though you’re eligible, there’s a high demand for vouchers.
  6. If you’re accepted, confirm that your name is on the waiting list either by mail or online.
  7. Finally, after receiving your voucher, find Section 8 housing that’s perfect for you and your family. Take note; you have 60 days to use your voucher!

The application process may take months, or even years, so make sure that your contact information is updated, your lines are kept open, and your attitude is positive!

Overall, finding Section 8 Housing is good for you!

Applying for the program and successfully finding Section 8 housing is a long and tedious process. But being able to call a place home and not worrying about the rental costs makes it all worth it in the end.

If you’re looking to find Section 8 housing, Roomi can help! It’s a room and roommate finder all-in-one that’s super easy and safe to use. You can navigate the app and website to find the most appropriate listing for you and your family. On top of that, Roomi has a secure in-app messaging feature to keep any conversations with potential landlords safe inside the app. Plus, we conduct background checks to provide a safe and secure community for our users. So, with that Section 8 voucher in hand, download the Roomi app now to find your dream home.

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Roomi is your one-stop option to list or find rooms, find roommates to settle into a new city easily. Download the app and sign up today!

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