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Section 8 housing programs: Get help to pay rent or mortgage

Author: Jessica Bennet
Community Mentor
Ask Jessica
Posted on: 10th Nov, 2006 01:27pm
If you're a low income renter or homeowner who needs financial assistance to pay rent or monthly mortgage installments, the Section 8 housing programs are what you may need. This article explains how the Section 8 housing programs work, what are the eligibility criteria and what amount of funds are available.

What is Section 8 Housing Rental Program?

The Section 8 Housing Rental Voucher Program is available to low income families, disabled persons and elders who can't afford to pay for safe and decent housing. Under this program, families are expected to pay 30% of the rent while the Section 8 Rental Voucher Program pays the rest up to the payment standard set by the local Public Housing Authority (PHA) where one applies for the Voucher. This payment standard is almost 80-100% of the fair market rent. If you choose a rental unit with higher fair market rent, then you'll have to pay additional rent charges in excess of the fair market value, besides paying the 30% rent on your own.

What is the eligibility for Section 8 Housing Rental Voucher?

Section 8 housing requirements are given below:
  • Your earnings must be less than 50% of the Area Median Income.
  • The rental unit should meet the Section 8 quality standards.

How do I apply for Section 8 Housing Rental Voucher?

First of all, contact your nearest Public Housing Authority and fix an appointment. Bring along the required documents - paystubs, statements of financial benefits you receive, etc. The PHA will be able to tell whether you qualify for Section 8 housing assistance. Then fill out the application for Section 8 housing rental assistance. Request the PHA to provide you with a list of rental properties in your area. Look out for properties which fall under Section 8 Housing Rental Program. Contact the landlords of those properties and arrange for a walk-through.

What is the Section 8 Homeownership Voucher?

This is a Section 8 housing assistance program offered to those who need financial help to meet up with their monthly mortgage payments or other homeownership expenses. However, not all PHAs participate in this program. You can get a list of the participating PHAs from the HUD website.

Section 8 Homeownership Voucher covers the following expenses:
  • Monthly mortgage payment with property tax and insurance premiums.
  • Mortgage insurance premiums payable each month.
  • PHA allowance for utility bills, repairs, maintenance costs, etc.

There can be other coverages, which you can confirm by contacting your local PHA.

How much money is available for homeownership expenses?

If your homeownership expenses are equal to or less than the payment standard (maximum amount payable by the PHA) set by the PHA in your area, you'll have to pay 30% of the adjusted monthly income towards your expenses while the rest will be available under the Section 8 homeownership program.

However, if your homeownership expenses exceed the payment standard in your area, you'll have to pay the extra funds. If your expenses are too high, chances are that the PHA may not approve you for the program.

Who all are eligible for the homeownership voucher?

Given below are the criteria for getting homeownership assistance.
  • Already received Section 8 rental voucher: First-time buyers (those who haven't had ownership interest in any residential property for the past 3 years) or co-operative members can qualify for Section 8 homeownership program. But this is possible only after they've received Section 8 vouchers (for rental assistance) from a PHA which participates in the Section 8 homeownership program.

  • Income requirement: Other than disabled persons, adult family members likely to own the home, must have annual income not less than the federal minimum hourly wage multiplied by 2000. The qualified annual income of adult members (likely to own the home) in disabled families shouldn't be less than the monthly Federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for an individual staying alone, multiplied by 12.

  • Employment: Other than disabled and elderly families, one or more adults in families looking for Section 8 housing assistance, should be currently employed and should have been on a full-time job for at least 1 year before taking advantage of the homeownership program.

  • Property standards: The property to be purchased should meet the standards and pass an initial housing quality standard inspection carried out by the PHA. It should also pass through a separate home inspection prior to the PHA approving the home purchase.

  • Counseling: The family applying for assistance should attend a homeownership counseling session organized by the PHA.

Apart from the factors given above, one needs to satisfy other criteria set by the PHA, in order to qualify for the Section 8 Homeownership Voucher.

What is Section 8 waiting list?

If there are a number of applicants for section 8 housing vouchers, the PHA keeps some of the individuals under a waiting list. At times, the PHA may even close the waiting list and stop accepting applications. In such a situation, you can wait till the list opens again. Or else, you may apply in another jurisdiction where the waiting list is kept open. However, you may have to reside in that jurisdiction for at least 1 year.

How long do I need to wait once I'm on the waiting list?

Once you're on the waiting list, the time period you need to wait varies from one PHA to another. Contact your PHA and get an estimate of how long you'll have to wait. The waiting period can vary from several months to years.

If you're already on Section 8 housing rental assistance, you have the chance to switch over to homeownership assistance in case you intend to buy a home. Check if you satisfy the qualifying criteria for the homeownership program. Just locate your nearest
Public Housing Authority
and find out whether you qualify for the program or how long you'll need to wait if you're on the waiting list already.
Posted on: 10th Nov, 2006 01:27 pm
kindly give some information about the section 8 voucher program
i am living in a apartment issued by the housing authority in tx.i was wondering if i had to sign up to get a section 8 voucher to move in a house?
Posted on: 02nd Mar, 2009 01:23 pm
Hi semy,

I did not understand what you wanted to say by:
"apartment issued by the housing authority in tx"

Are you receiving any kind of benefit from the housing authority of Texas? If you could explain the situation, then it would be easier for me to answer your query. As far as applying for section 8 housing program is concerned, you will have to contact the housing authority of your area.

Take Care.
Posted on: 03rd Mar, 2009 02:04 am
After my name has been reached on the waiting list adn I turn in all my papework how long before I know if I am approved for Section 8 housing choice voucher
Posted on: 16th Jun, 2009 01:02 pm
Can i get section 8.can section 8 help pay mymortgage. I need help with my mortgage. :( :(
Posted on: 14th Dec, 2009 05:52 pm
Hi Gloria,

The Section 8 cannot help you with your mortgage payments. It provides assistance to middle and low income families to help them rent a safe and decent home. It does not help you repay your existing mortgage. Are you not being able to afford the mortgage payments? You can then request your lender for a loan modification.
Posted on: 15th Dec, 2009 05:20 am
I am receiving sec. 8 payments for the apartment that I live in. I live in Charlottesville Va..I am disabled , limited as to what i can do, but able to take care of myself with out outside help.Would it be possible for me to purchase a low income home and have my sec. 8 payments applied to the mortgage. I have never owned a home of my on.
Posted on: 19th Mar, 2010 10:42 pm
To Joe,

The section 8 housing assistance you are getting could be used to make your monthly mortgage payments. So, you can buy a home of your own. The income and employment requirements are less stringent for people like you. You can contact your local Public Housing Authority regarding this. However, you will be required to arrange your own financing for the purchase of the home. The section 8 assistance will help you make the monthly mortgage payments, it will not help you with the purchase of the home.
Posted on: 23rd Mar, 2010 03:06 am
im currently under section 8 housing in garden city kansas at the apple garden apartments and my rent keeps going up its currently at 400 a month i am a single mother of 2 soon to be 3 kids how is my landlord figuring my rent? i honestly dont think 400 is a fair amount i can barely afford it, and when i handed her my bank statement showing i am negative 100 on a six month average how does she last minute put my rent at 400 i want to know what factors figure my rent. not to mention i dont receive cash assistance or child support. how does she figure my rent
Posted on: 12th Aug, 2010 06:44 pm
Your landlord will be the best person to let you know how your rents are figured. You should contact her and check out how and why your rents are increasing every month. She will be able to give you the details.
Posted on: 12th Aug, 2010 10:37 pm
Whappens when your voucher expirers
Posted on: 17th Aug, 2010 10:20 am
Hi Guest,

I guess you're speaking about Section 8 vouchers. If you want to extend the voucher, then you'll have to apply before the voucher expires. It'll depend upon the housing authority whether or not they would give you a one or two 30 days extension.

Posted on: 18th Aug, 2010 01:22 am
I live in Redford, MI. I am a current homeowner and need assistance with my mortgage. I am currently on SSDI. I receive $1740 a month on SSDI. Does my area participate in the program and if so, who do I need to contact? Is there a possiblility I mite be eligible to participate? Dennis Salada
Posted on: 23rd Aug, 2010 07:52 pm
Hi djsalada!

Welcome to forums!

You will have to contact your lender if you wish to receive any kind of help regarding your mortgage. If you're unable to pay the mortgage, you can apply for a loan modification with your lender. The lender will go through your financial situation and let you know whether or not you would get a mortgage modification.


Posted on: 24th Aug, 2010 01:25 am
my income is 957.00 a month how much should my section8 voucher pay for rent in daytona beach fl
Posted on: 02nd Sep, 2010 01:36 pm
Hi louis,

As far as I know, the voucher will pay anything above 30% of your adjusted monthly income up to an established limit.

Posted on: 02nd Sep, 2010 10:45 pm
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