The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides state financing for a rent subsidy program known as the Housing Choice Voucher Program, or Section 8. The program helps people who earn a low income to access decent housing from private property owners. For those who qualify, the financing pays some or all of the rent.
Wisconsin allocates HUD funds to individual cities and counties, which administer Section 8 programs in their communities. Applicants may apply for the voucher program through a HUD-approved nonprofit agency or charity or the local public housing authority, known as Public Housing Authority (PHA).
Find a Public Housing Agency
Below are some tips to help you find a Public Housing Agency in Wisconsin if you want Section 8 Housing.
- You need to visit or call your preferred Wisconsin PHAs. You can get recommendations from people within your social circle who have used them before. Alternatively, you could research them online to find a list of PHAs near you. You can also check the state’s PHA websites for Section 8 availability, wait times, and application protocol, which varies by location.
- Individual offices have variable office hours for walk-ins and appointments, as well as hotlines for obtaining applications.
- HUD maintains a list of PHA websites; the final column indicates whether the PHA administers Section 8, other low-rent programs, or both.
- PHAs also can supply a list of property management companies that accept Section 8 vouchers in your area.
Application and Documentation
You must complete a preliminary application and provide proof of information for the PHA to review and verify. The PHA determines your eligibility based on location, gross income, and household size. For starters, you must be a U.S. citizen or have eligible immigration status, according to HUD. In addition, you must be a resident of Wisconsin.
The application requires your household members’ names, ages, number, and Social Security numbers. The minimum section 8 age is 18 years for the applicant. You also must include wage amounts and asset information, such as your bank account balances. Applicants must certify that the application is accurate and sign it.
Also, remember that every member of your family may need to undergo criminal background checks to ensure you are eligible.
Your income must be equal to or lower than the set limits to qualify for section 8 Housing in Wisconsin. These limits are based on the area’s median income. So, you need to provide evidence of income, assets, and even place of residence to the PHA along with the Section 8 housing application.
You must show proof of address with official documents, such as your current lease, utility bill, a renter’s insurance policy, pay stubs, a Social Security insurance award letter, or family and child support court documents. In addition, you also must show your state ID or driver’s license with your current address on it.
Birth certificates and Social Security ID cards or naturalization papers are used to establish identity. Non-citizens may provide an alien registration card.
Waiting Lists and Tips
It’s worth noting that low-income housing with no waiting list probably does not exist. The demand tends to exceed the supply. So, you need to be patient.
And in cases where waiting lists are unusually long, agents can close them. And when they are closed, you will not be able to apply for housing through those agents. You must wait for the waiting lists to become open again.
So, serious is the issue that waiting periods of more than one year are common. It is not unusual to see multiple closed waiting lists across the state of Wisconsin. So, because PHAs usually have long waiting lists, you should apply at more than one.
However, certain circumstances may enable you to get preferential treatment. These include:
- Displacement due to a natural disaster
- Veteran status
- You are at least 62 years old
- You have a disability
- You have children
- When you are spending at least 50 percent of your income on rent
Remember, though, that your PHA decides whether you qualify for priority placement in the program.
- ProPublica: What You Need to Know About How Section 8 Really Works
- AffordableHousingOnline: What Is the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program?
- AffordableHousingOnline: Wisconsin Public Housing Agencies
- SectionEightApplication: Applying for section 8 in Wisconsin
- Eligibility: How Does Section 8 Work?
- KPCBEdge: What does Section 8 Look for in a Background Check?
- Section8Programs: Section 8 application Wisconsin - How can I apply for Section 8 and get on an open Section 8 waiting list in Wisconsin?
- AffordableHousingOnline: Section 8 Waiting Lists in Wisconsin
Karina C. Hernandez is a real estate agent in San Diego. She has covered housing and personal finance topics for multiple internet channels over the past 10 years. Karina has a B.A. in English from UCLA and has written for eHow, sfGate, the nest, Quicken, TurboTax, RE/Max, Zacks and Opposing Views.