The Section 8 plan allows private homeowners to rent apartments and houses from qualified low-income renters at qualified market prices.
What is Section 8?
Section 8 of the Housing Option Voucher program is a form of government assistance for rentals.
In 2018, more than 5 million people across the country lived in houses that used vouchers to pay part or all of the rent.
When Congress enacted Section 8 of the Housing and Community Development Act in 1974, one of its objectives was to ensure that low-income groups could find “decent housing and a decent living environment” outside of public housing units.
Today, people who meet the income requirements can apply for coupons when discounts are available.
If approved, select and find an apartment or house with a voucher, the local housing authority will send the payment directly to the owner.
The payment covers all or part of the certificate holder’s rent. On average, each family pays 30% to 40% of the rent.
Should I apply for Section 8 warranty?
To obtain accommodation in Section 8, you will need to request a voucher. Before registering, you need to know the following information:
Where you want to live: Each local housing authority has different regulations for Section 8.
Determine where you want to live and then find the local housing authority responsible for these communities.
You can find a list of all housing authorities here. Remember: even if you don’t live in a city, you can ask the Housing Authority.
Can’t find the city you want? Try to find the district or state housing authority.
How much money you and your family can make: This plan is only for people who earn a certain amount in relation to the area. Check the income requirements of the housing authority.
Then visit the online tools of the Department of Housing and Urban Development to see if you and the people you live in fall into this category.
Immigration status of you and everyone you live with: at least one person in your family must have legal documents to live in the United States so that the family can apply for a voucher.
“Affordable Housing Online” non-profit organization provides details here.
Criminal records of you and everyone you live with: All housing authorities conduct background checks, but each person has different rules.
If you commit a crime or parole, you can get housing approval. Ask the specific housing authority by calling or sending an email to see if you are still eligible.
Important note: If you or someone in your family has a lifetime criminal record, has been convicted of producing methamphetamine in federal housing or has been evicted for drug-related reasons in the last three years, you cannot obtain coupons.
How do I apply for Section 8 housing voucher?
The first step in applying for housing, part 8, is to inform the Housing Authority that you are interested.
However, more people want credentials than are available.
Most of the time, you will be put on the waiting list. Enter the waiting list:
Get an email account
You will need an email account to register. To create a free account, sign up for a Gmail or Yahoo account.
You can register for the services, and these services will send an email when the accommodation authority opens the waiting list. Affordable Housing Online has a website where you can check which waiting lists have been opened.
The team also has a web page where you can subscribe to receive email alerts about the status of your interest. Some housing authorities have their own alert systems.
If you are absolutely sure that you want to live in only one block, look for the housing authority responsible for this area and ask directly.
As long as you can imagine living in the community for at least 12 months, you can register as many waiting lists as possible.
One year later, you can consider the change and still keep the coupon.
Use trusted email addresses
If you travel frequently or don’t have a place to live, provide the mailing address of a friend or family member to the housing management department, and they will notify you when the mail arrives.
You can also ask if the local church and shelter can use a mailing address.
If they answer “yes”, check with them once a week to see if they received any notice from the Housing Authority.
You can register without paying.
You do not have to pay to subscribe to the Section 8 waiting list and you can enter the waiting list without paying any fees. If you are asked to pay, it is probably a fraud.
The medical certificate can speed up the waiting time
If you or someone in your family has a disability or health problem, such as asthma, some housing authorities put you on a waiting list, but the situation gets worse because of where you live.
So, if you encounter these situations, ask your doctor to write a note to the Housing Authority explaining how the new home will help you improve your condition. Get and keep a copy of the notes.
How to request an apartment or house throughout Section 8
After finding an apartment or house that meets your needs, you should apply for the rent. Send your paperwork to the owner.
Make sure the paperwork has been completed and return it to the Housing Authority.
In this context, after receiving the coupon, you will receive this document, which includes a “rental approval request”.
Make sure the Housing Authority receives the “rental approval request” and your copy. Read the contract carefully.
If you do not understand, please ask. Real estate lawyers say that these leases can be complex, difficult to understand and can contain loopholes that put you at a disadvantage.
They suggest that you work with the housing authority, the housing advocate or the local lawyer to read the lease agreement before deciding to sign it.
Pay attention to check. Within a few days or weeks after signing the contract, the Housing Authority will set a deadline to inspect the site to ensure it is in good condition. After everything passes the inspection, you can enter.
Points you need to be aware of
The time limit. From the moment you receive your briefing, you will have at least 60 days (it can be 90 or 120 days, depending on the housing authority) to find housing. It is normal for people to have difficulty finding housing in this time period, especially if the person works many hours.
If you have problems finding housing during this period, you can apply for an extension of the housing authority. “Do it sooner or later,” said Erin Kemple, executive director of Connecticut Fair Housing Center.
The housing authority will give you an extension, as long as you can show them that you have made an effort to find housing. So, write down and take pictures of all the places you visited in your housing search and when you visited them (including the date and time).
Housing discrimination. In the more than 40 years that vouchers have existed, research shows that local zoning boards and property owners have made life difficult for people with vouchers in certain areas.
Some states have responded with laws to deal with this practice. As of December 2019, there were 14 states that passed laws prohibiting landlords from rejecting tenants based on their source of rental income, which includes Section 8 vouchers. If you come across a list of dwellings that says “No, Section 8” in one of those states, report it to the local housing authority and to legal aid or fair housing attorneys in your state.
If it appears that the only reason you are NOT allowed to apply for an apartment is because you have a voucher, be sure to document it and then inform the local housing authority of the incident.
The combined Section 8 program is the largest direct home care program for low-income families.
The total budget for fiscal 2013 was $27 billion, reflecting the main commitment of federal funds.
This commitment has achieved some success. More than three million families can obtain safe and decent housing through the program, but the cost is considered affordable.
However, these successes have brought a high price for the federal government.
Given the current level of budget deficit, Congress has begun to reassess whether the cost of the Section 8 plan (especially the voucher plan) is worth it.
Proposals to reform the plan abound, and if the current Section 8 plan has remained in its current form, been completely changed or completely canceled, these are issues facing Congress today.
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