If you're struggling to pay your rent, you may qualify for assistance through the Housing Choice Voucher Program, commonly known as Section 8. Section 8 vouchers assist qualified applicants by subsidizing a portion of their rent. Public housing agencies administer the voucher program locally with federal funding provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD. Public housing agencies calculate income requirements for applicants. Once you are approved, your income often determines how long you must spend on a waiting list before receiving a voucher.
Income Requirements Vary by Location
Incomes and housing costs vary throughout the country. Calculating income requirements for Section 8 vouchers depends on local conditions. The Department of Housing and Urban Development performs regular studies to determine median household incomes in different regions. Public housing agencies use information from these studies to evaluate the eligibility of applicants and determine the amount of assistance they will receive.
Below 50 Percent of Local Median
Public housing agencies collect information about the applicant's income, family size, and assets, then compare the applicant to the regional population. Applicants making less than 50 percent of the local median household income may qualify for assistance; however, legislation requires public housing agencies to issue at least 75 percent of their vouchers to households making less than 30 percent of the local median household income.
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Need for Assistance
Public housing agencies may not have sufficient funding to issue vouchers to every approved applicant. Public housing agencies usually place applicants on waiting lists until funding becomes available, but public housing agencies may close their waiting lists if demand for vouchers substantially exceeds funding. Public housing agencies may establish preferences for selecting applicants from their waiting list based on their need for assistance and provide them with vouchers ahead of other applicants.
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