Given the escalating cost of living in many places, it can be difficult to find a home that is safe, cozy, and reasonable. Section 8 housing vouchers, which give people access to safe and affordable housing, have become a vital lifeline for millions of Americans. However, a lot of people don’t understand how these vouchers work, let alone how to benefit from them. Hopefully, this article can shed some much-needed light on this helpful assistance opportunity.
Housing Voucher Overview: What to Know
The Section 8 housing voucher program, officially known as the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, was created to help households in need. The goal of this program is to help people afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market. Millions of people have received aid through this program which makes it easy to access better living conditions! Even though this is a federal program through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the management happens at the local level. That’s because Section 8 is administered by local Public Housing Agencies (PHAs).
Recipients of this program will be able to use the housing vouchers they receive from the program towards rent at qualifying properties. In order for properties to qualify, a lot of factors come into play. One of the biggest factors is making sure the property passes housing quality standards (HQS) of the program. Once a suitable rental property is found and the landlord agrees to accept the housing voucher, the PHA will pay a portion of the rent directly to the landlord. The tenant is then responsible for paying the remaining portion of the rent, which typically amounts to 30% of their adjusted gross income.
Who Qualifies for Housing Vouchers?
The specific limits that households will face when it comes to eligibility requirements will vary depending on the area. That’s because the dollar doesn’t stretch the same way throughout the country. So, to qualify for the program, a household’s income must not be over 50% of the median income for the area where an applicant lives. However, PHAs are required to prioritize providing assistance to those with the lowest incomes. They make sure to implement this by providing at least 75% of vouchers to applicants with incomes below 30% of the area median income. In addition to income requirements, applicants must also meet citizenship requirements and pass a background check to ensure that they are not a danger to other residents.
How to Apply for Housing Vouchers?
Thankfully the process for handling the application is easy to understand! The steps include:
- Getting in touch with your local PHA
- Filling out and submitting an application
- If approved, likely getting placed onto a waitlist
- Finding an eligible property to move into
- Moving in
One of the biggest perks to this program is the fact that the application is free. That means applicants don’t have to stress about wasting any money to apply. This can make the whole process just that much easier to deal with.
If you struggle to keep a roof over your head, you’re not alone. So many households struggle when it comes to handling housing costs. When in this situation, it can feel helpless. Thankfully, that may not be the case! That’s because there are assistance opportunities out there like Section 8. The Section 8 housing voucher program is a valuable resource for low-income individuals and families seeking safe, affordable housing. By understanding the eligibility criteria, application process, and the benefits of the program, you can make an informed decision about whether Section 8 is the right solution for your housing needs. If you need more information or want to get started, the best place to turn to is your local PHA. They can point you in the right direction!