Section 8 Housing Requirements Explained

Section 8 eligibility has a two-part process. The requirements for Section 8 housing will depend on the area, so that is an important detail to keep in mind. Specific groups will also differ in treatment when they apply for Section 8. These groups include the elderly, disabled and households with children.

The main requirement taken into consideration for Section 8 housing is income levels. Section 8 is administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Individual counties and states will have local public housing agencies (PHAs) that collect, review and provide Section 8 applications.

The PHA will review several factors to determine an eligible applicant. Requirements can include family composition, income limits and student status. The demand for housing assistance is so high that some PHAs have devised waiting lists for eligible applicants. Families who meet the requirements for Section 8 are awarded housing voucher to reduce their living costs. The PHA will screen applicants to decide whether they will be approved or denied. Read on to understand the standards that Section 8 eligibility is determined.

Learn About Qualifications for Section 8

Your Section 8 eligibility is decided by your local PHA. There are four aspects that the PHA will be reviewing in order to determine eligibility for benefits and be accepted into the Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP), more commonly known as Section 8. 

Make sure to visit the local PHA website to find out the specific requirements you must meet in your area and how you need to fill the application. The Section 8 housing eligibility factors include the following:

  • Family Qualifications – The household must meet what HUD defines as a “family”. The PHA must also adhere to the Fair Housing Act, which states that no applicant can be discriminated for their marital status, gender identity and sexual orientation. HUD defines a family as:
  • A single individual.
    • A group of individuals living together, including families that live with or without children.
    • An elderly family with an individual at least 62 years of age.
    • A near-elderly family (individuals older than 50 years of age but younger than 62).
    • A disabled family (one or more individuals with a disability).
    • A displaced family (one or more family were displaced through government action or past home was damaged or destroyed).
  • Income Limit – Local PHAs are responsible for setting these limits. Income limits are determined by family size. Applicants must update PHAs annually of their income. To meet Section 8 eligibility requirements, income levels must be low or very low.
    • Other details that are reviewed include if the individual has been under government-assistance housing before or used HCVP previously.
  • Student Status – Individuals who want Section 8 housing and are attending college or university full-time or part-time will have to meet another specific set of requirements. For instance, the applicant must not live with his or her parents and must also meet one of the following criteria:
    • At least 24 years of age
    • A veteran
    • An individual that is married
    • An individual with a child
    • An individual with a disability
  • Citizenship Status – This federal housing program is restricted to U.S. citizens and those will acceptable immigration status. If the applicant is eligible for citizenship, then they must provide acceptable proof of status.

How to Get Section 8 Immediately 

You can find a way on how to get emergency housing assistance if you are in a desperate housing situation. If you meet the specific criteria, then you can also avoid the waitlist. 

People who meet these criteria are individuals who are considered elderly, families with children or people with disabilities. There are separate Section 8 housing programs that specifically cater to these groups. These programs include the following:

  • The Section 202, Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program provides assistance to seniors who meet the low-income criteria. Funding for this program comes from local nonprofits and cooperatives that meet the federal criteria. Since its inception, Section 202 has expanded to affordable Section 8 housing availability.
  • The Section 811, Supportive Housing Person with Disabilities Program, as a subsection of HCVP, allows people with disabilities to live independently throughout the community by providing inexpensive housing.
  • The Fair Housing Act forbids the discriminate of families with children. A family can be defined as families with children younger than 18 years of age, pregnant women, adoptive children and foster parents.

These programs were made available in order to serve these specific groups. They were also created to meet needs depending on the severity of their circumstance. For instance, the displacement from other government housing or harsh property damage would be valid criteria for emergency housing. 

You can get emergency Section 8 housing vouchers, but you must confirm with your local PHA. Make sure with your local PHA that these programs are available in your area.

Learn About Government Shutdowns and Section 8 Qualifications

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is impacted by the Section 8 government shutdown. Capital advances and grants are funded by the federal government and, thus, directly affecting tenants with Section 8 housing. The government shutdown can affect individuals living in Section 8 housing in many ways. 

While a government shutdown continues, the goal for HUD with Section 8 housing is to sustain the payments for rental contracts to landlords with agreements such as Section 202 and Section 811. The program will do their best to help the elderly and disabled residents from getting evicted. 

The length of time the government shutdown lasts will dictate the amount of resources needed. Furthermore, the shutdown can affect internal employment and, thus, make it less accessible for Section 8 housing residents who need assistance.

The government shutdown directly affects capital funding. Landlords need this funding to reconstruct buildings and apartments, so they remain within Section 8’s standards of living requirements. Since the money is not reaching landlords, they cannot maintain the current infrastructure. This lack of maintenance puts low-income tenants at risk.