What You Should Know About Qualifying for Subsidized Housing

In recent years, the cost of living in many major metropolitan areas has increased dramatically. Many individuals are forced to spend more than half of their income on rental housing. Subsidized housing provides affordable housing options to individuals who are struggling to afford rent. If you’re considering applying for subsidized housing, here are some things that you should know about the process of applying for a subsidy.

Qualifying for a Housing Choice Voucher Program Subsidy

Many of the most common rental subsidies are referred to as “Section 8,” but the official name of the program is now the Housing Choice Voucher Program. Subsidies can be project-based, meaning that they are attached to a specific property. They can also be tenant-based, meaning that they travel with the tenant and can be used to apply to private rental properties. In order to qualify for the program, an individual must have a low-income. A local Housing Authority will calculate an individuals’ income using their pay stub history, an employer verification form, a social security determination letter, or other acceptable forms of income documentation. A Housing Authority can also look at other HUD screening criteria through a comprehensive database that will include extensive income documentation.

Finding Acceptable Housing for a Tenant-Based Voucher

When you receive a tenant-based voucher, you will generally have approximately sixty days to find suitable housing. It must fall within the scope of HUD’s pre-established fair market rent. Every year, HUD published a schedule of fair market rents for every county in the country. If the unit that you wish to rent is greater than HUD’s fair market rent within the county in which it is located, then you may not use a voucher for it.

Contending With Waiting Lists

The demand for housing vouchers is always considerable, and many Housing Authority’s wait lists have been closed for several years. Once you’ve applied, it can take years for your application to move near the head of the list. It’s important that you respond to any correspondence sent to you by a Housing Authority and keep your contact information updated. Organizations that manage housing with project-based vouchers administer waiting lists that are separate from those maintained by the Housing Authority.

If you’d like to learn more about the availability of subsidized housing in your area, contact your local Housing Authority for more information. Ultimately, a housing voucher can make renting an apartment much more manageable.