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Am I Eligible for Housing Choice Vouchers?

Taking into account your total annual gross income and the size of your family, the PHA will determine your eligibility for the Housing Choice Vouchers rent assistance program, also known as Section 8 Housing.

There are restrictions in terms of your status in the United States and you need to check with the PHA as to which non-citizens or immigrants are eligible. If you are a citizen of the United States your eligibility will be income related.

The PHA calculates eligibility based on the median income for the area where you have chosen to live and a family can apply for the voucher provided their income is not more than 50 per cent of such median income. It is statutory that 75 per cent of a PHA’s total vouchers must be given to applicants who have incomes of 30 per cent or under the median income which is set by the HUD and varies depending on the location. The PHA that is located in the area of your choice can provide information about these limits specific to the area together with entitlement based on the size of your family.

When processing your application, the PHA will gather data about any assets you may have, your total gross income and the size of your family. This verification process will involve them contacting your bank, your employers and any other agencies that you may have dealt with. They will then calculate how much housing assistance they are able to pay you.

If your application is approved by the PHA your name will be added to a list of families that are waiting to obtain payments if the PHA is unable to fund your assistance immediately. When your name reaches the top of the list you will be contacted and your housing voucher issued.

Making an Application for a Housing Choice Voucher

You must make your application for this type of rent assistance through the PHA that is local to the area you have chosen to live. A list of PHA locations is available for download in our members’ area.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) does not have infinite resources for housing and rent assistance and demand usually exceeds the amount of finance available so be prepared for a lengthy wait. In certain circumstances you may not be able to get on the PHA waiting list if there are so many applicants that there will be no financial assistance available for a very long time.

Preference may be given to local families that apply for a Housing Choice Voucher especially in the following circumstances:

a) Families that have been displaced involuntarily

b) Families that are living in very poor housing conditions or are homeless

c) Families that are paying in excess of 50 per cent of their gross annual income in rent.

Any family that falls into the aforementioned categories will ordinarily be moved up the list at the discretion of the PHA which may give priority to the rent assistance and housing requirements of its local community before considering anyone else.

See our article – What are Housing Choice Vouchers?



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