How to Apply for Section 8 Housing
If you think you may be eligible to receive a Section 8 Housing Voucher, you should contact your local Public Housing Authority office and ask them their process for application, since each PHA has their own process. Following their instructions thoroughly is key for the application process. Below I will explain the different ways to apply.
If you are unable to fill out the application due to disability, age or any other justifiable reason, you may ask for a social worker to help you complete it. It is very important to know that Section 8 applications do not require any fees. (This is important so you may avoid being scammed!)
How to File an Online Section 8 Application
First, if you would like to file an application online and have verified this is an option with your local PHA, you must make sure you have a valid email address. This is crucial since you will be receiving updates about your application via email. You may also be required to open an account through an online portal. Remember to always keep your account log-in safe.
If you don’t have internet access, your PHA office may have a computer lab for applicants, but you may have to wait or ask for an appointment. You may also ask a friend of family member, or visit a library that has computer access.
How to File an In-Person Section 8 Application
If you would like to apply for Section 8 in person, you must visit your local Public Housing Authority office. Press HERE and select the state where the PHA office is located and you will get list of all the PHA’s in that state, their address and contact info. If you live far away from the PHA where you’re applying, this may not be the best option for you. If you’re expected in person, but aren’t able to attend due to the distance, or other justifiable reason, contact your PHA and explain your situation to them.
What to Do After Getting on a Waiting List?
After applying to Section 8 and being approved, you most likely will be put on a waiting list. This is due to the high volume of people that apply to Section 8, in comparison to the amount of housing vouchers available. Depending on the availability of funds, you may receive a housing voucher immediately. If your application is denied, you may ask for an appeal.
Reasons for Section 8 Denial
Section 8 may deny your application for a housing voucher for the following reasons:
If you or a member of your household owes money to a PHA
If you or a member of your household doesn’t meet the requirements for eligibility, such as citizenship status, area income limit, criminal history and the other previously mentioned requirements
If you or a member of your household have engaged in criminal acts, such as bribery or fraud, in connection to federal rent assistance. This includes lying on your application
If you or a member of your household has been previously evicted from government assisted housing within the last five years.
The reason your Section 8 housing voucher may be denied depends on the PHA that you submitted your application to. Sometimes, your PHA may consider mitigating circumstances, such as rehabilitation, when deciding whether or not to approve your application.
Contacting the PHA
If you’re interested in contacting your local PHA, or PHA of any state, the HUD has a tool that makes it very easy. To use this tool, press HERE and then simply choose your state and you will be shown a list of each PHA in your state, their address, phone number, fax, emails and webpage (if available).
How to File a Section 8 Application Via Mail
If you have the option to apply to Section 8 via mail, it is of upmost importance to have a mailing address that you have easy access to. If you don’t, you may ask someone you trust if you may use their address. You may also ask a local shelter or church if you may use their address. If you’re not using your address, make sure the address you use belongs to someone that is able to contact you easily.
How to Complete the Section 8 Application
It is very important that you follow your PHA’s instructions and on time to avoid getting your application terminated. When applying for Section 8 the applications forms may vary from area to area, but they all ask for basic information, such as:
Full names of every member of your household
Social Security numbers
Gross household income
Some PHA’s may also ask for additional information, such as:
Complete the forms following the instructions closely. If you fail to follow the instructions, your application may be returned to you so you may correct it or they may disqualify you immediately.
Can You Appeal a Section 8 Denial?
Yes! If you were denied housing assistance, you may make an appeal. If your application was denied, you should receive a denial letter explaining why your application was denied, along with proof. You have the right to request proof of why your application was denied if none was given. This letter will also tell you your time limit to make an appeal and if you may request an informal hearing. To help you prepare, you may request a copy of all the documents and files used in your case, along with legal documents that state the programs laws, before your informal hearing.
If you feel certain the reason you have been denied does not apply to you, you may send them a letter requesting an informal hearing or review, preferably hand written. If you would like to view an example of an letter requesting an informal hearing press HERE. After this, the PHA will set a date for your hearing and notify you.
During your informal hearing, you will be asked to provide proof that the reason you were denied no longer applies to you or that the reason for denial is false. You will be notified the results by letter. If the hearing was successful your application will be reconsidered, but if not then you may proceed to appeal in a federal or state court.