How Do You Qualify for Section 8 Apartments?
The Federal Housing Choice Vouchers Program, most commonly referred to as Section 8, is a federal program maintained by the Department of Housing and Urban Development that provides vouchers for monthly rental assistance to renters in need.
Local municipal bodies known as the Public Housing Authority determine the amounts of vouchers given on a case-by-case basis. Vouchers are only applicable to certain complexes that have been verified and inspected by the local Public Housing Authority.
The program is intended for the elderly, disabled and those who are living in poverty. Because of this, there are specific guidelines laid out by the Federal government to determine if you would qualify for section 8 apartments.
Are You Eligible?
Because Housing Choice Vouchers are administered locally, there is not any single defined national standard for selecting section 8 apartments voucher recipients. Instead, eligibility is based on local median income levels and housing costs.
However, there are some overarching guidelines that can help determine eligibility.
For example, the local Public Housing Authority must grant at least 75 percent of its available section 8 apartments vouchers to families who do not exceed 30 percent of the median income for the area. Additionally, recipient families cannot remain eligible if they exceed 50 percent of the median income for the area.
Other eligibility requirements pertain to previous rental history, citizenship status and criminal record history. Those guidelines include:
- Having not been evicted from a rental property for a drug-related offense within the past three years
- Having never been convicted of producing methamphetamine in an assisted housing project
- Being a U.S. citizen or having an eligible immigrant status
Using Section 8 Apartments Voucher Benefits
The Housing Choice Vouchers Program puts the benefit recipient family in charge of their own living arrangements. The local Public Housing Authority determines a payment standard based on family size and arrangement by taking into account local rental rates for moderately-priced rental properties.
The family can choose any safe, habitable rental property – even if the rental rate is higher than the payment standard set by the Public Housing Authority. The family will simply be responsible for paying the additional rent.
The program even allows for families to move if necessary for a growing family, a job relocation or any other reason. The move can take place within the same locale but families that receive Section 8 benefits can also move anywhere within the U.S.