What to do
After Completing your
Section 8 Application
Waiting isn’t the only thing to do after being put on the waiting list. You can do a few things to help the process along, such as:
Check your mail and emails for notifications from housing authorities – the PHA sends reminder messages to people sometimes to know if you’re still interested in the program. This is why it is very important that, if you don’t have an email or mail address, you ask someone that can contact you quickly. You must respond to each of these reminder messages or your application will be terminated.
Be available for housing reviews – If you aren’t available for a housing review your application will be denied. You might be asked to provide documents again, such as proof of income, photo ID’s and birth certificates for the adult members of your household. The date may be rescheduled if the PHA committed an error, like an incorrect address or if you weren’t able due to a disability, but you will be required to submit proof.
Use accurate information – It is of the utmost importance that all the information you provide is accurate. Make sure all of your contact information is up to date.
Apply for waitlists in multiple areas and types of housing – by doing this, you have more opportunities to get a voucher. Getting to the top of the list can take months or even years, so don’t hesitate to apply to other waitlists.
People with certain conditions are given priority for housing vouchers. You might receive priority if you are:
Near- elderly or elderly
Displaced from your home
Victim of domestic violence
Living in a substandard building
Where to Find Section 8 Housing
As long as the property you’re interested in meets the program’s standards and accepts Section 8 housing vouchers, you are allowed to rent the property of your choice. A Section 8 unit must meet the following requirements:
Rent charged must not be beyond the payment standards. (Contact your PHA for the payment standards of your area)
All units must be inspected and approved by the PHA
Must accept Section 8 vouchers (There are areas where the landlord has the option to accept or refuse your voucher)
Can a Landlord Decide to Not Accept Section 8 Vouchers?
Unfortunately, landlords are allowed to turn down a Section 8 voucher since federal laws usually don’t outlaw bias based on income source. Fortunately, some state laws DO prohibit discrimination based on income source, which means that in these states, the landlord can be penalized. You should look at your state’s rental laws before you start your search for a rental property. You have a right to file a complaint if your landlord turned you down because of your voucher if you live in a state where this is prohibited. For more information on how to file a complaint, contact your local PHA.
What Happens When Your Application Reaches the Top of the Waitlist?
You will be notified when you reach the top of the list you will be contacted by the PHA, requesting an eligibility review. You will be given an overview of how the Section 8 Housing Voucher program works and will be provided with a packet that will contain all the information about your housing voucher such as your vouchers validity period, how much rent you will be required to pay, where to find housing and your obligations while under the housing voucher program.
Make sure to arrive early to the eligibility review, with all the documents you need. They may only require the head of household to attend, but they might require other household members to attend as well. This depends on the PHA.
Using Your Housing Choice Voucher
Housing choice vouchers can be used on any type of housing in the open market, such as apartments, single-family homes townhomes and many others. Usually, the PHA may limit your choice to areas they cover. There are places where your housing voucher can’t be used, such as:
College or school dormitories
Public or private institution units
Units that are occupied by their owner
Units that already have subsidies such as Section 202 or Section 811
You Can Find Section 8 Housing the Following Ways:
Searching online – You can search your Public Housing Authority’s website to see if they have unit listings. You can also use the HUD’s Resource Locator tool or the US Department of Agriculture listings. Other platforms such as Zillow, Trulia and Affordable Housing Online also have directories for affordable housing units. Make sure to keep your eye out for listings that say “HCV Welcome” or “HCV accepted”. (HCV stands for Housing Choice Voucher) You may be required to submit an online form or contact the property owner yourself.
Ask the housing authority about available Section 8 properties – You can ask your PHA if they have a list of available properties that accept Section 8, making the process easier for you
Contact landlords directly – You can search in the newspaper or around town and simply contact the landlord directly. This way you get to ask the landlord questions related to the property personally and ask if they accept Section 8 housing vouchers.