If your income makes it difficult to find adequate housing for your family, you may qualify for Section 8 support. Section is a program for low-income individuals that is managed through the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). It also helps people who may not be able to pass the landlord application process due to criminal records and other circumstances.

What is Section 8?

Section 8 was introduced as part of the 1974 US Housing Act. The federal government gives grants to states and local organizations to oversee the program and meet the needs of individuals. The goal of the program is to provide eligible individuals with safe, healthy, and affordable housing. You may be eligible for the entire rent or a portion, based on your income.

Who Qualifies for Section 8?

Eligibility for assistance under Section 8 is based on your gross household income. You also need to be a US citizen or have the appropriate immigration status. Income standards are based on the metropolitan area or county where you live.

Are There Housing Standards for Section 8?

Under Section 8, you find housing on your own, and the local organization makes arrangements directly with the landlord to pay the approved portion of the rent under Section 8. You are responsible for any remaining balance. Housing does need to meet certain standards. It must be a safe and healthy environment. The local organization managing Section 8 for your area should perform an inspection of the property to help you find the best place.

How Long Can I Use Section 8?

You can use Section 8 as long as you qualify for the program and meet the requirements. Many areas in the US have long waiting lists for Section 8, so you want to ensure that you keep the benefit once you are approved. Otherwise, it may be months or even years before you can get help again. Speak with the people at the local agency about your responsibilities and any questions or concerns you have through the process.

What If I Can’t Pay My Portion of the Rent?

Section 8 will not cover your portion of the rent. If you fall behind in your payment, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process. If you experience financial difficulty, speak with someone at the local agency. You may be able to get help from other community organizations, although this is not guaranteed.