6 Ways to Quickly Get a Section 8 Voucher

June 5, 2024
6 Ways To Accelerate Section 8 Wait Times
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A Section 8 voucher can give you access to housing that’s clean, safe, and affordable. Here are some ways to get your voucher quicker.

The Section 8 program offers immense benefits to those who qualify. By paying most of your rent with a voucher, you can enjoy affordable housing and all of the perks that come with it. But there is one downside to Section 8, and that’s the waiting list.

While your goal is to get on the Section 8 waiting list, it can take over a year to reach your turn. You can combat this long wait time by applying to multiple waiting lists. You could also use the following circumstances to your advantage, as Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) give them priority over other applicants:

Homelessness

1. Homelessness

PHAs tend to move homeless people towards the front of Section 8 waiting lists due to their dire situations. You’ll need to check with your PHA to see how they define homelessness. If you live with friends and family, for instance, you may not be considered homeless.

2. Living in a Shelter

The Section 8 program’s central goal is to get families off of the streets or shelters and into their own homes. If you’re living in a shelter or some other form of emergency housing, don’t forget to tell your PHA. It could get you moved towards the front of the waitlist.

3. Having Extremely Low Income

Section 8 was created with low-income families in mind. To qualify for the program, you’ll need to make below a certain income. PHAs often have three tiers of income where they place applicants:

  • Low – The household makes 80% of the median income for the area.
  • Very low – The household makes 50% of the median income for the area.
  • Extremely low – The household makes 30% of the median income for the area.

Falling into that third income category can give you priority over others. In fact, over ¾ of Section 8 applicants that get approved for vouchers earn extremely low incomes. Be sure to tell your PHA if you fall in this group.

4. Age 62 or Older

Beyond helping low-income families gain access to safe, affordable housing, Section 8 also aims to help elderly citizens. By definition, “elderly” is 62 or older.

5. Having a Disability

Does anyone in your household have a disability? This could accelerate your Section 8 wait time, too, especially if your current housing isn’t sufficient.

For instance, if a family member has asthma and you live in a place with low air quality, that could help you get your voucher quicker. You’ll need to show medical documentation to prove this, but the extra work is worth it.

6. Being a Veteran

If someone in your household served in the military and was honorably discharged, their status as a veteran could help you receive your voucher faster.

Can you use more than one of these circumstances to move up the Section 8 waitlist? Of course, you can. The more that apply, the better since Section 8 uses a point system when determining priorities.

By leveraging these strategies and understanding the priority system, you can improve your chances of obtaining a Section 8 voucher more quickly and secure safe, affordable housing for you and your family.

Additional Resources:

For more information about the Section 8 program, visit HUD – Housing Choice Voucher Program.

To learn about housing needs and advocacy efforts, visit the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

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