How to Apply for Housing Assistance (Section 8 Vouchers)

What are Housing Choice or Section 8 Vouchers?

Housing Choice Vouchers or Section 8 vouchers are for helping very low income families, the disabled and the elderly who cannot afford decent, safe and sanitary housing - normally in the private market.

The program is locally administered by public housing agencies (PHAs). All prospective houses or apartments must pass the PHA’s health and safety standards.

The program can answer for the lesser amount of either the standard payment minus 30% of the applicant’s monthly adjusted income, or the gross rent for the house or apartment minus 30% of the monthly adjusted income.

Why should I get them?

If you qualify and apply, you will be able to choose your own apartment or house. As long as the house or unit meets your local PHA’s guidelines, you are the one who chooses where you will live, within limits. Even better, depending on the guidelines of your PHA or state laws for voucher use, you can even use the vouchers to buy a proper home for your family.

The amount that the program pays for in your rent depends on your PHA and state local guidelines. The payment is coursed directly to your landlord by the PHA.

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Things You Should Know Before Renting an Apartment

If you’re ready to rent an apartment with your newly approved Section 8 vouchers, here are some things you must consider beforehand. You don’t want to find yourself moving into a new space and figuring out that it wasn’t really the ideal home you were looking for. Don’t let yourself get tied down to a crummy apartment before it’s too late.

Can you honestly afford it?

One rule of thumb when it comes to picking a place to live in is, first, determining how much is the monthly rent and how much do you make per year. If your annual salary is at least 40 times the amount you have to pay per month, then you probably can afford it. If not, then maybe it’s a good idea to choose a different home.

Can you decorate it without penalties?

Some landlords don’t allow tenants to redecorate their living spaces. Make sure that your potential landlord is fine with you changing the wallpapers, hanging pictures on the walls, or painting the kitchen in a certain color. You don’t want to risk losing your security deposit because you didn’t ask when you first moved in.

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