The United States economy looks strong from a top-level perspective. However, millions of Americans are struggling to make ends meet.
The United States Census Bureau estimates that over 38 million Americans are low-income – roughly 1 out of every eight citizens falls below the poverty line (they earn less than $25,465 per year).
The good news is that many poor Americans qualify for public housing assistance. Read on to learn how to apply for Section 8 housing. Explore topics such as qualifications and how to secure public housing.
What Is the Section 8 Public Housing Program?
Before diving into the qualifications, it is essential to understand what the Section 8 housing program is all about. Section 8 is a public housing program administered by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
For eligible applicants, HUD issues housing choice vouchers. The voucher is essentially a government subsidy that pays a portion or all of the monthly rent. If rent exceeds the subsidy amount, the applicant is responsible for paying the remaining amount.
Do You Qualify for Section 8 Housing?
Now that you understand what Section 8 housing is, it is time to see whether you are eligible. According to HUD, there are four primary eligibility requirements.
Not everyone earns enough money to get approved for a mortgage. HUD will verify your income meets its eligibility thresholds before issuing a voucher. To receive the subsidy, your income must be less than 50% of the median income within the locality.
HUD does prioritize applicants with the lowest income. By law, it must allocate 75% of its vouchers to applicants that earn less than 30% of the locality’s median income. Those that earn more than 30% but less than 50% may end up on a waitlist.
HUD is looking to support those in need and looks for specific criteria. They are looking for applicants that are impoverished and have children. Single people can also apply and receive assistance.
The disabled and elderly also receive priority. Applicants displaced due to a natural disaster receive priority.
One thing that the HUD looks for is to make sure its participants are not involved in drug-related activity. The department will check to see if the applicant has a history of evictions.
Just because you have been evicted in the past does not make you ineligible. Instead, HUD will only deny applicants who have been evicted in the last three years for drug activity, including any convictions for producing methamphetamines in a public assistance unit.
Section 8 housing is only available for applicants that are here legally. This means that you are either a U.S. citizen or have valid immigration status. You will have to provide documentation that supports your citizenship or immigration status.
A Recap of How You Can Apply for Section 8
Section 8 is a great program designed to help impoverished Americans. You can apply for assistance at your local public housing agency (PHA).