The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program is a federal program that helps those in need to subsidize their rent. It began in 1974 as a method of rent assistance to help ensure that low-income individuals and families could obtain decent housing even if they couldn’t afford the entire rent amount.
While it is a beneficial program, one of the longstanding problems with it is the waiting period to obtain the voucher. While this list allows the prioritization of those awaiting rent assistance, many people aren’t aware that they may be able to get their vouchers much sooner than they usually would. We’re going to take a look at not only how section 8 works, overall, but how you can apply for an emergency section 8 voucher.
The basic process for getting a section 8 housing choice voucher is to first meet the income requirements and, second, to apply for placement in the program. If you meet the pre-established income requirements and are approved, you then search for an apartment or house that accepts the voucher.
While this may be challenging in some areas, the government will begin sending rent payments directly to the property manager or landlord once the potential home is found. The section 8 voucher will often cover 60% to 70% of the rent amount, leaving the tenant responsible for the rest.
When you need to get into housing fast, and a long waiting list isn’t practical, use these tips to help you speed to the top of the list or get an emergency section 8 voucher immediately.
- Get in Touch With the Housing Authority
- Know What the Current Paperwork Requirements Are
- Gather Your Documentation
- Find Out If You Qualify For Any Special HUD Programs
- Get a Doctor's Note
1. Get in Touch With the Housing Authority
No matter how you go about it, this is the first step. You need to contact the housing authority and get entered into the program. You can do this via phone or the internet.
2. Know What the Current Paperwork Requirements Are
To be eligible for emergency housing, you will need to produce several different documents to prove you are in emergency need. Before you can get these documents together, you need to find out what is needed for your area and your specific housing needs.
3. Gather Your Documentation
Once you know what documents you’ll need, get them together and make copies for your records. In some cases where you may need a certified birth certificate or social security documentation, be sure you allow time to order and receive these documents from the proper authorities.
4. Find Out If You Qualify For Any Special HUD Programs
Depending on your current living situation, you may be eligible for special programs offered by the housing authority. Sometimes there are special programs for people with no income, people who are currently homeless, or those with specific housing or accessibility needs.
5. Get a Doctor’s Note
One of the biggest factors in moving you up the list and potentially getting you an emergency voucher for your area is being in medical need. In cases where a member of the household has a medical condition that may be worsened by their current living conditions, such as asthma or a permanent disability, get a note from the primary care physician and present that to the housing authority. It could be the key to getting you into housing quickly.
The very first step to applying is to contact the public housing authority and let them know you’re interested and would like to participate in the program. The main problem is that far more people are seeking vouchers than the number of available vouchers. This leads to the most well-known issues with the section 8 voucher program, the dreaded waiting list.
To apply, you will need a reliable email address, so if you don’t already have one make sure you get a free personal email address from a provider like Gmail. Once you have started the signup process, you will have the option to receive alerts when either the waitlist opens up or when it becomes your turn to receive a voucher.
When applying, you will need to apply for a specific area, so be flexible and apply for as many areas as is practical for you. While you’re waiting your turn, be sure you provide a dependable mailing address so that you are sure to receive any notices that are sent to you. Once you have a voucher, you will need to stay there for at least one year before you can move and retain your voucher.
For those that need it, section 8 can be a lifesaver even if it doesn’t cover the entire amount of your rent. However, the waiting period can be maddening and may not fit your needs for immediate housing.
By following the steps we’ve listed here, you stand the best chance of being granted a section 8 emergency housing choice voucher. Make sure you can prove that you qualify and be sure to outline any conditions that make you fit to be placed higher on the list, and you’ll be moving into your new home before you know it.