A lot of households are cost-burdened due to how much they put towards housing. When households find themselves in this situation, it can be hard to get out, especially without support. Thankfully, doing it without support doesn’t necessarily need to be the case. That’s because there are housing assistance opportunities out there. One program in particular is the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. Also known as Section 8, this program can provide vouchers for recipients to use towards rent that’s affordable on housing that is safe and sanitary.
How Do Housing Vouchers Work?
It’s important to know how this program works in order to best understand how you could benefit! If an applicant is eligible, they will be provided housing vouchers. Once they have their voucher, the recipient will need to find a property to move into. These properties are in the private market and must accept the vouchers as a form of payment. Besides that, the property needs to qualify by passing Housing Quality Standards (HQS).
From there, the housing vouchers provided by this program can be used by participants to pay their rent at approved residences. This payment is done on behalf of the recipient’s local Public Housing Agency (PHA). Recipients are then tasked with paying any difference leftover. Usually, this is no more than 30% of their adjusted gross income. This can make housing costs much more affordable for those in need!
Who Gets These Vouchers?
Not just any person off the street can get these vouchers. That’s because the aim of the program is to help those dealing with financial hardships. Which is why applicants need to meet criteria like income requirements. Besides meeting financial criteria, other factors that go into eligibility include citizenship status, a background check, and so on. It’s important to keep in mind that the specific limits will be different based on the area.
It’s important to also keep in mind that this program focuses on those in the most amount of need. At a base level, recipients must not make more than 50% of their area’s median income (AMI). On top of that, the program legally requires that 75% of vouchers are provided to those who have incomes that are less than 30% of the AMI.
How to Get These Vouchers
If you are feeling like you could benefit from the support of this program, it’s important to know how to get them. The process is straightforward and can be handled with your local PHA. Since they are the ones to manage the program, they can help you get started with the application. They can also provide more information if you have any more questions!
Once you reach out to the local PHA and submit an application, you have to wait for a decision. If you are determined as eligible to receive benefits, you will most likely be placed onto a waitlist. That’s because there is more demand than supply which leads to shortages in available properties! Thankfully, the application is free. So even if it takes some time to handle the application process, it doesn’t cost a dime. Which means no wasted money even if you aren’t approved.
So many people have a hard time properly managing their housing costs. If a household finds themselves overpaying on rent, it can be hard to manage other expenses. Luckily, through programs like the HCV program, recipients can get support. Through the housing vouchers that this program provides, recipients can get a more affordable rent in the private market. However, it’s important to remember that not any property qualifies. Only properties that meet certain requirements will be eligible to participate in the program. If you need any more information or want to begin the process, your next step should be reaching out to your local PHA!