In most parts of the country, there are low-income housing offered at the city and state level, and then there is section 8 housing offered through the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). While the actual applications for each government agency is going to differ, the basic process for applying for low-income housing is relatively the same. You will need the same information for all agencies, and the wait is usually just as long no matter which level of government you work with. For this discussion, we will focus on the section 8 housing from HUD.
What You Are Applying For
When you apply for section 8 housing through HUD, what you are applying for is a voucher that will pay the difference between the rent being charged and what the family is able to pay. Every area has its own maximum allowable rent as established by HUD, and your ability to pay that rent is determined by several factors including your income and number of people in your family. If the maximum allowable rent for your area is $500.00 per month and HUD determines that your family can pay $250.00 of that rent, then your voucher that you present to your landlord would be worth $250.00.
To qualify for low-income housing your income must be 80, 50 or 30 percent of the median income for your region. The types of housing units you can choose from will depend on your income, and there is limited housing available in all areas. The good thing is that not all section 8 housing is apartments. You might be able to rent an entire home if you qualify for that part of the program.
The application process starts with providing proof of your income either through IRS federal tax returns or your pay stubs. You should know that once you are accepted into the HUD low-income housing program that your income is monitored annually to make sure that you do not exceed the allowed income requirements. If you get a big raise at work, then you might no longer qualify for low-income housing.
The HUD chart for qualifying for low-income housing is based on your annual income, your income compared to the area’s median income, the number of people in your family, where in your area you want to live and proof that you and everyone in your family are American citizens. All of this information is put onto the standard application that you must fill out to become part of the program.
While the application process for low-income housing is relatively simple, the actual act of getting approved can take a very long time. There is a waiting list of people who want to get approved for vouchers in the areas where they want to live. Once you are approved, your name is added to that list and you will not get the call until a property opens up that meets your low-income application criteria.