The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher is a federally subsidized program designed to help low-income families find affordable, safe housing. The program provides landlords with vouchers for rent payments each month, based on the property the tenant selects. Vouchers are distributed to eligible individuals based on qualifying ratios and an assessment of individual needs.
However, the need for housing vouchers outweighs available benefits. This can mean extended waiting lists and delays for families who need assistance. Recipients of Section 8 vouchers who temporarily lose benefits can have a difficult road ahead when trying to reclaim them.
Use the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) website (see Resources) to locate a local public housing agency (PHA), or contact the PHA that was handling your case before you lost benefits for vouchers. You should be prepared to explain your situation and your current needs.
Apply for benefits with the PHA as if it were your first time doing so. The PHA will most likely require a full reapplication to reconsider your family for benefits. Should you meet qualifying guidelines for Section 8 housing vouchers to resume, benefits may be immediately reinstated or you may be placed on a waiting list. Immediate eligibility will rest largely on the reason you lost benefits as well as how long you have been without benefits and whether you are homeless. If you are not eligible for immediate reinstatement of housing choice vouchers, it is wise to explore other options.
Discuss other temporary housing solutions with the PHA counselor assigned to you. Though many tenants prefer to use housing vouchers, HUD offers other subsidy programs that can assist needy families seeking shelter. In addition, local workforce commission offices and disability offices can counsel individuals on other state or locally run programs for housing, and evaluate your eligibility for these programs.
Be persistent when reapplying for Section 8 benefits or other subsidies. Most counselors have lengthy lists of needy families requiring help, which can mean some can fall through the cracks of the system. Contact your representative and counselors at least once a week to check on the progress of your file. Continue being vigilant until benefits are restored.
You may not be eligible for Section 8 housing a second time.