How to Qualify for Section 8 Housing

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The Department of Housing and Urban Development provides low-income families the opportunity to apply for a voucher they can use for government-funded apartments. There are several factors outlined in the department’s handbook that explain how applicants will have to meet the HUD screening criteria. You should know about the three criteria people must meet to qualify for the Section 8 program.

Income History

Depending on the state and jurisdiction, applicants are subject to one of either three income levels. Those with the lowest income have priority over other applicants. Generally, an individual who makes less than $30,000 annually can qualify for either level, the lowest rate being $12,000. The criteria also takes household size into account. For a four-person family, the highest limit is approximately $45,000. People don’t solely receive income from their job, however. Background checks also calculate pension, unemployment, social security and other sources.

Criminal History

Several housing programs have extensive criminal history policies for HUD applicants. Generally, convicted sex offenders and users of methamphetamine are prevented from qualifying and applicants with a criminal past linked to drugs and violence are often not considered. Government officials who supervise the Section 8 selection process seek to promote health and wellness. They also understand that a person’s criminal past can increase the threat they bring to public safety.

Eviction History

Similarly, the department looks at eviction history. Housing programs can deny applicants from qualifying if they or a household member have been evicted in the past five years. Should an applicant fail to pay monthly rates from their voucher to a landlord, they’re likely to face eviction and won’t be able to apply for Section 8 or other federal housing programs.

Being denied public housing benefits can feel devastating to people who struggle to find a place they need to establish themselves. However, the government is more likely to trust applicants who show a history of impeccable moral conduct compared to applicants who may unexpectedly pose a threat to other neighboring tenants.