Whichever the case may be, we’ve written this article to give you all the necessary information you need about emergency housing.
There are several options available for those who need emergency housing. The HUD sponsors emergency housing programs for people defined as homeless according to federal standards, and these programs are easily available online, including HUD’s website.
There are also several charity programs offering housing assistance.
All you have to do is follow the HUD portal link above, click on the link for your state, then go to the ‘I Want To’ section and select ‘Find Homeless Resources.
There you will see a list of emergency housing resources available in your area. It’s always best to apply in person at the agency.
How do You Qualify for Emergency Section 8?
To qualify for emergency section 8, you have to meet the basic requirements, which include having a low income below 80% of the area median income, being a citizen or legal immigrant, and having a clean background check.
Then, you must have a special circumstance.
Situations regarded as special circumstances include those who are:
- Physically abused in their home
- Single parents who pay more than 50% of their income as rent
- Disabled people
- Senior citizens
- Homeless or about to be homeless
- Victims of natural disasters
- People who are about to be displaced from current public housing
What is the Quickest Way to Get Section 8?
To be placed on the priority list, you have to meet at least one of the special circumstances previously mentioned.
The more special conditions you have, the greater your chances are of being moved to the top of the list.
Other than having a number of critical cases, there is no other way to get section 8 quickly, as the vouchers are only distributed as they are made available, the wait can be long especially given demand on housing assistance in 2020due to the impact of COIV-19 Pandemic.
Generally, you must be able to provide proof of your disability or special condition.
Even with a special case, we found that it is vital to stay in contact with your PHA about your application. We found that staying in touch can help you avoid years on the waitlist.
Also be sure to have access to your email, mail and phone, you don’t want to miss any attempts the PHA may make to contact you.
Please note, anyone who asks you to pay some amount of money to get a section voucher quickly is likely trying to scam you.
Emergency Housing Near Me
You can find out about emergency housing near you by contacting the closest local public housing authority. You can easily find the contact information of PHA in any locality here.
You could also ask a social worker for emergency housing options or find out about local charities close to you.
Permanent Housing for Homeless Families
Permanent housing programs such as section 8 are available to assist homeless families in getting affordable long term housing. We also have the Permanent Supportive Housing Program for homeless and disabled families.
The Permanent Supportive Housing Program provides case management support services in addition to housing, to build independence and tenancy skills and to connect the residents with health care, treatment, and employment services.
Reasonable Accommodation Housing Letter
Individuals with disabilities are granted reasonable accommodation to enable them to experience an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling. The request for reasonable accommodation is often made through a letter.
HUD has provided a sample reasonable accommodation letter here, to help you craft a proper one.
Emergency housing programs have been put in place across all the states to help individuals and families who need urgent housing. The programs may be government or charity based.
You could ask around for programs that offer emergency housing assistance or search online platforms like HUD’s portal for emergency housing close to you.
Frequently Asked Questions about HUD’s Section 8 Housing
Does my income qualify for Section 8?
The HUD section 8 housing voucher program is for low-income families, i.e., with incomes well below the median income for the area.
The federal government calculates these median incomes for the entire country. The national median income for the year 2021 is $79,900.
If your family’s income (not your individual income) is less than half of the national median income of $79,990 you may be eligible for HUD’s section 8 housing voucher program and meet the income limit conditions.
You can compare your gross family income (all earnings before you pay your taxes) to the low, very-low and extremely-low income limits. To know the income limits for your area and to estimate the category of your family’s income limit use the links below.
Use the link below click on FY2021 IL Documentation and in the next page choose the state and county of your residence or choose the metropolitan area from the list.
Income Limits for Area 2021
If you click on FY2021 MFI Documentation you can find the median family income for your county or metropolitan area.
Median Family Income for Area 2021
The federal government’s calculation of the fair market rent (rent that is at what the government considers current market rates) for your county or metropolitan area is available at the link below. For metropolitan areas zip codes are used to be more accurate.
Fair Market Rent for Area 2021
Where can I apply for emergency Section 8?
While Section 8 is federal, it is administered by the public housing authority (PHA) closest to you and priority is given to residents of the given area.
However, once the housing voucher is provided you are free to move to any other location. The benefits will continue as long as the correct procedure is followed in terminating the tenancy contract with your current landlord and finding a new suitable house as per the terms of the housing voucher program.
If you apply in a county or metropolitan area where you do not live and if you are provided with a housing choice voucher you must move to the county or metropolitan area and live there for at least 12 months. After this period, you are free to move and continue receiving the vouchers.
In general, HUD rental assistance programs provide 2 kinds of housing choice vouchers to choose from as described below:
A tenant is free to choose the housing suitable to them that meets the PHA guidelines for voucher ability.
The voucher is specific to a housing unit or housing project and if the family moves, the voucher will no longer be applicable. The family will have to apply for a tenant-based voucher if they would want to continue receiving support.
Who can I talk to about emergency Section 8?
If you wish to talk to someone or require assistance for your emergency Section 8 application process, call the toll-free service number. It is likely that they will direct you to the PHA nearest to you.
HUD’s Help Desk
Hours of Operation 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST
Monday – Friday, except for Federal Holidays
(800) 955-2232 (Toll-Free)
Required information from an applicant when contacting rental assistance offices:
- Email Address
- Phone Number
- Organization Name
- Clear Description of Question or Issue
How can I sign up for emergency Section 8?
To learn how to sign up you will need to find the nearest PHA. Before you approach and begin your application with the housing authorities, please ensure that you meet the conditions of eligibility and have the necessary documentation.
Apply for tenant housing choice vouchers if you rent or property housing choice vouchers for mortgage payments if you own. It’s important to understand that greater need in an area doesn’t necessarily increase the availability of rental units on section 8, and other charitable organizations may have to fill the gap. So look for programs from community agencies that address local housing needs as well.
Criteria for eligibility/program requirements
- US Citizen or have eligible immigration status
- Income limits (category), earning an income is a mandatory requirement. This program is not suitable for families without income.
- Names of all Family Members
- Dates of Birth
- Social Security Numbers & documentation that verifies citizenship or eligible immigration status
- Gross income of earning family members
Other details required:
- Mailing Address
- eMail Address
- Phone numbers
- Housing history (including evictions)
- Criminal history (if any)
If you have a family member who has been evicted from public housing or removed from Section 8 program due to drug related criminal activity they are ineligible for at least 3 years from the date of eviction.
- Pay stub or verified salary information from employer
- Document confirming rent from property owner or your mortgage information
- Identification documents
- A family with or without children
- A family with elder members, members over the age of 62
- A family with members with disability
- A displaced family (involuntarily displaced)
- A remaining member of a tenant family
- A single person
Where can I find my nearest PHA?
To find a list of Public Housing Authorities for your state follow the link below and choose your state, then download the PDF list for your state and search in the document for your specific county or the counties nearest to you.
Or, use the map to find your nearest public housing agencies:
Applications can be online, mail-in or at the housing authority in person. Don’t shy away from asking questions and if you are unsure about any information required in the application clarify the details to aid you as you submit your application.
You must complete all required details, please consult with the PHA representative if you feel unsure about any particular detail. It is better to have all the details correct before submission than to have the application rejected due to incorrect or insufficient information.
What do I need to know about wait lists for Section 8?
Here are some important facts you must know about the housing choice voucher waiting lists. This differs from one PHA to another and is based on the priorities of the PHA’s program in the community.
The status of the wait list can be confirmed with the PHA either online or through inquiry based on application details. Rejections of applications will be informed by email, mail or other appropriate means adopted by the PHA.
- Long waiting list can sometimes take longer than 3 years before being provided with a housing choice voucher and subsidy
- PHA priorities are based on the needs of the regional communities
- Some PHA’s use a lottery system and sometimes programs are closed due to unavailability of funding or housing units. These closures are periodic and will eventually reopen. It is advised in this case that applying to nearby counties or metropolitan areas may improve your odds of having your application approved.
- An involuntary homelessness situation is always prioritized, particularly for families with elderly members and persons with disabilities
- Families living in sub-standard apartments are prioritized as are families paying rent over 50% of their family income for an apartment
Is it possible to speed up the process of getting Section 8?
Yes, under certain specific circumstances. The mechanism for getting Section 8 on an emergency basis is also called a priority list, and is assessed based on a point scale of the most urgent needs as determined by the particular PHA. The below conditions are considered for emergency Section 8 applications.
In certain circumstances, family services or FEMA would provide temporary shelter prior to the processing of emergency Section 8. Anyone who applies for emergency housing choice vouchers must meet all the conditions required for section 8 approval as well.
Emergency Section 8 applicants receive priority for emergency housing vouchers if they are:
- Senior Citizens
- Persons with Disabilities
- Women Fleeing Domestic Violence or abuse
- Persons fleeing a disaster (as recognized by FEMA)
- Anyone displaced from public housing