The Section 8 Voucher Program

The most well-known housing program in America is also the most sought after. The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program is managed by over 2,400 housing authorities all over the country. To make sure that one is offered in your area, contact the local housing authority.

Meeting the qualifications

For applicants, the following are the basic qualifications you must meet:

Preferences or restrictions

While everyone can apply for the assistance, there are some areas where there are a couple of restrictions or preferences. An example is moving the elderly or disabled at the top of the list. Your rental history and credit report will be taken into consideration as well. Make sure you find out what the restrictions or preferences are by contacting your local housing office.

Waiting list opening

Housing authorities will give an announcement when their waiting list is open. The announcement will also include how long it will remain open before closing again. So if you want to apply, make sure to act fast. You can get this information online and by contacting the housing office as well. And the most convenient way for most? Signing up for the email alerts by Affordable Housing Online.

Applying for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program

Usually available in the housing office for pick-up, by mail, or online, the application must be filled-up, and submitted according to the housing authority's instructions. Information usually needed include the following: name, Social Security Number, date of birth, and gross income of all the household members, including children, except when they are below 18 years of age. Remember that if you chose to do your application online, you must always check your email to ensure that you don't miss any message from the housing authority.

Applying for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program is free. Do not pay for any application fee.

How fast your application will be processed depends on the resources available to the housing authority. Wait time usually spans years, especially in more populated areas. The housing office usually sends letters or notifications to applicants on the waiting list to confirm if you still want to be included in it. Failure to follow the instructions given and failure to respond in the given time may result in termination of your application.

As with any important documents, keep records of your application and any other relevant information. This may include your position in the waiting list, log-in credentials, and confirmation number.

For information changes, make sure to notify the housing office right away so that your records can be updated.

The in-person eligibility interview

Reached the top of the waiting list? Finally! Once you are there, a final in-person interview is required. Who attends depends on the local housing authority you applied at. Be on time.

Using your voucher

Time to look for houses or apartments! Once you choose the unit, the housing authority will inspect it. It should meet certain qualifications like safety, and if there are any infestations, among others.

Want to move? You may request to do so, and after meeting the qualifications, you may then bring your housing voucher.

Every year, your household's income will be reexamined to confirm continued eligibility.