When people think of a good living situation, a lot of different images can come to mind. For some, they dream of just having a roof over their head in housing that is safe, sanitary, and decent. Thankfully, that dream may be able to become a reality for some households. That’s because Section 8 housing is an opportunity that helps those in need by providing vouchers. The vouchers that recipients get can go towards making housing costs affordable for properties in the private market. How is this possible? Who can benefit? These questions, and more, will be answered in this article!
Eligibility for Housing Vouchers
Households that are swimming in money are not going to be the recipients of this program. That’s because the goal of Section 8 (also known as the Housing Choice Voucher [HCV] program) is to aid low income households. What does low income mean? Well in order to qualify, a household must not make more than 50% of their area’s median income level (AMI). Besides financial requirements, other requirements can come into play like an applicant’s citizenship status.
How Do Vouchers Work?
Thankfully, understanding how housing vouchers work is pretty straightforward. First, the applicant will need to reach out to their local Public Housing Agency (PHA). This is where people can get more information or actually submit an application. If approved by the PHA, the ball is in the recipient’s court (usually after spending some time on a waitlist). The recipient will need to find a property that is eligible for the program. One key factor in property eligibility is passing an inspection that the local PHA conducts. If everything looks good, then the recipient can move in!
Once moved in, the local PHA will pay the landlord on behalf of the recipient through the housing voucher. The recipient will handle any remaining difference that’s leftover. Thankfully, this number is usually no more than 30% of the recipient’s adjusted gross income per month. The benefit of this support is that it allows people to maintain affordable housing costs based on the definition provided by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). By their definition, households should spend no more than 30% of their gross income towards housing expenses.
What to Know About the Housing Inspection?
When it comes to the housing inspection that properties need to pass, it’s not just done for nothing. The point of these inspections is to ensure the quality of the property that the recipient will move into. There are housing quality standards that a property must meet. These standards look at factors like:
- Sanitary facilities
- Food preparation
- Thermal environment
- Structure and materials
- Interior air quality
- Water supply
- Lead-based paint
What to Keep in Mind When Applying
For those that want to benefit from this opportunity, the next step will be applying at their local PHA. To get their contact information, people can look online or use available tools provided by HUD. After reaching out to the local PHA, applicants can submit their application for approval. It’s important to keep in mind that applications require documentation to verify the reported information. Any hiccups in documentation can lead to an unnecessary delay in a process that’s already going to take a long time!
When it comes to getting affordable housing, it’s important for households to know what’s out there. One way they are able to access housing is through programs like Section 8 (also known as the Housing Choice Voucher program). This housing support opportunity can help low income households through providing vouchers that help with rent costs. For anyone who wants more details, they will need to talk to their local PHA. This is the agency that actually manages the program by locality!