These days, finding affordable housing for your family can be quite difficult. Why? Due to the rising cost of living, as well as expensive housing developments replacing those that were once reasonable, it is now more challenging to find inexpensive housing for families. Many families often find themselves without adequate housing, which in this day and age is completely unfair.
Thankfully, there are several options for those looking for affordable housing. For individuals, co-living has become a very popular trend. For families, including single parent families, government funded programs like Section 8 are in place to aid families who are affected by the high cost of living. Programs such as Section 8 offer financial relief to families and can help alleviate increasing economic pressure.
What is Section 8?
Section 8, also known as the Housing Choice Voucher program, was created by the Housing and Community Development Act of 1978. This program was designed to provide assistance to eligible families who have low or moderate income and helps provides rent assistance on the private market. In addition to providing affordable housing options, Section 8 also works as a rent subsidy, allowing families to contribute towards their monthly rent without costing the family too much.
What Are The Eligibility Requirements for Section 8?
Since Section 8 is a government funded program, there are certain requirements that must be met for those who are applying for this assistance. Although eligibility requirements can vary by state, the requirements are quite similar. Eligibility requirements for Section 8 can change on a yearly basis, and these changes are made by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The Department of HUD oversees home ownership, low-income housing assistance, and other matters relating to housing.
- Family Status
Applicants must meet the definition of family that has been set to qualify. Family could be defined as a person or group of persons:
- With or without children
- Where at least person is over the age of 62
- Where one or more of the family members has a disability
- That have been displaced from their former home
- Income Requirement
Due to Section 8 being a program that was implemented to aid people who have lower incomes, there are certain income requirements that have to be met to see if someone could qualify for this assistance. The Department of Housing and Urban Development sets income limits on a yearly basis as the cost of living is constantly changing.
- Citizenship Status
Section 8 will only be granted to those who are American Citizens or have an eligible immigrant status.
- Eviction History
Section 8 will not be granted to those who have been evicted from their homes within the last three years for drug-related criminal activity or who has been evicted for producing methamphetamine in an assisted housing project.
How Do I Apply for Section 8?
If Section 8 seems like something that you and your family could benefit from, there are a few steps that need to be followed to receive the assistance.
Step One: Find out if your local Public Housing Agency (PHA) is currently accepting applications for Section 8. Since there is usually a high amount of applications received by the PHA, there is a waiting list. Once they receive a certain number of applications, they stop taking applications.
Step Two: Fill out the application and provide all required information. Once your application has been received, and your eligibility for the program has been determined, you may be placed on the waitlist.
Step Three: You will be contacted by your local PHA once your name is next on the waiting list. You’ll be called in for an interview as well as asked to provide documentation in regards to you and your family’s income.
It should be noted that since so many families apply for Section 8 housing response times can vary by your local Public Housing Agency as there is often a waiting list.
How Do I Benefit From Receiving Section 8?
There are many benefits if you receive public housing assistance like Section 8. Times are difficult, and the cost of living continues to rise. Families, including single parent families, are finding it harder to find affordable housing; and as homelessness in the United States is on the rise, the Department of Housing and Urban Development have implemented programs to aid those seeking housing. Receiving rent assistance can help alleviate the economic pressure that comes with renting or owning.
As of 2016, over 2.2 million households were enrolled in Section 8. These households are made up of over 5 million individuals, including children and senior citizens. Section 8 and other public housing assistance programs have helped millions of families find affordable places to live.
Are There Any Downsides to Applying for Section 8?
While Section 8 is a great program that has helped millions of Americans find affordable housing, there is one major downside that should be taken into consideration when applying. Due to the high amount of applications received by each local PHA, the wait time to hear the status of your application can take weeks or even months. In some extreme cases, people have found themselves on waiting lists for years. However, there is a reason why there is such an extensive wait time. Because of the ever increasing demand for housing, fewer landlords and property owners are opening their properties to Section 8 recipients. Therefore less housing is available. Currently, there is over 2 million household on the waitlist, and the entire process takes about two years. However, there are ways to expedite the application process.
Although the cost of living continues to rise, it’s comforting to know that you have options when looking for affordable housing. Section 8 was designed to aid families, including single parent households, find and rent affordable housing units. This program which currently serves over 2 million American families has helped alleviate housing costs. Still, there is room for improvement when it comes to aiding the millions of other families that are currently waiting for assistance.