How To Qualify for a Section 8 Voucher

In times of unexpected financial hardship, such as job loss or disability, paying rent can become a daunting challenge. Fortunately, there’s a federal program called Section 8 that provides assistance to eligible families and individuals in paying for housing. Let’s break down what Section 8 is, who qualifies for it, and how to apply in simple terms.

Understanding Section 8 Housing

Section 8 is a government program administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) aimed at helping low-income families and individuals afford housing. Instead of being confined to specific subsidized housing projects, Section 8 recipients have the flexibility to choose their own housing, including single-family homes, townhouses, or apartments.

How Section 8 Vouchers Work

Through Section 8, eligible individuals and families receive housing-choice vouchers issued by Public Housing Agencies (PHAs). These vouchers essentially act as a discount on rent, with the PHA paying a portion of the rent directly to the landlord on behalf of the recipient. The recipient then pays the difference between the actual rent and the subsidized amount.

Determining Assistance Amount

The amount of assistance provided by Section 8 varies depending on factors such as the local housing market and the recipient’s income. Recipients typically pay around 30% of their monthly adjusted gross income towards rent and utilities, with the remainder covered by the voucher. However, this percentage can increase if the rent exceeds the payment standard set by the PHA.

Who Qualifies for Section 8?

To qualify for Section 8, individuals and families must meet certain criteria:

  1. Income Limits: Applicants must fall within specified income limits based on their area and household size. Priority is often given to those with extremely low incomes.
  2. Citizenship Status: Section 8 is generally available to U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens.
  3. Family Status: HUD defines a family as individuals with children, elderly members, disabled individuals, or those displaced from their homes.
  4. Eviction History: Positive rental history is typically required, with disqualifications for certain criminal activities or evictions.

How to Apply for Section 8

To apply for Section 8, individuals should contact their local Public Housing Agency. The application process involves completing forms, providing necessary documentation (such as IDs and income proof), and potentially joining a waiting list until vouchers become available.


Section 8 housing offers vital support to low-income individuals and families struggling to afford housing costs. By understanding the eligibility criteria and application process, those in need can access the assistance they require to secure safe and affordable housing.


1.How can I get Section 8 housing immediately?

You can inquire about emergency housing assistance from your local Public Housing Agency, which may provide vouchers for those facing homelessness or domestic violence situations.

2.How do I learn what number I am on the Section 8 waiting list?

Contact your Public Housing Agency to inquire about your waiting list position or check online if such options are available.

3.What happens to my Section 8 when my child turns 18?

Your Section 8 benefits may be affected depending on whether your child continues to live with you or contributes to household income. Consult with your PHA for specific guidance

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