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Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers: Empowering Families with Affordable Housing

Back in 1974, the US Congress imposed this law along with the Housing and Community Development Act. Section 8 is defined as the housing voucher program, which primarily aims to help and assist low-income families who are struggling to maintain their rental fees and other housing payments.

How Section 8 Works

There is no doubt that having a nice, comfy, and livable shelter is one of the essential needs of every individual and every family. Due to the increasing expenses in terms of housing in the United States, section 8 of the housing voucher program was imposed.

This program helps recipients by paying a larger portion of rent fees, while the lesser portion is to be paid by the tenant. This is a huge burden removed from the shoulders of payers, especially those who lack adequate income to sustain their daily living. Just like other government benefits, section 8 is available in various states in the US, but not all states are constantly active in this program.

There are times that states close their application periods for a variety of reasons, but in spite of this, section 8 indeed helped many families alleviate their constant struggles in maintaining a roof above their heads.

In fact, a report stated that in late 2019, 5.2 million families were able to avail of this housing assistance program. This may only be a small percentage compared to the overall percentage of people who need assistance, but every help given counts toward achieving a country with little to no homeless people.

Each state or city has its own rules for imposing this program, but in this article, I am going to discuss several cities and states.

Section 8 in San Diego

The San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) is the one responsible for implementing the Section 8 housing voucher program in the city of San Diego.

An individual or a family who wants to avail of this program should meet the following qualifications to be eligible:

  • Should be a resident of San Diego or have a current work there;
  • An annual income not higher than 80 percent of San Diego’s Area Median Income;
  • Can be an elderly age not lower than 62 years old;
  • Can be a military veteran;
  • Can be a person with a disability; and
  • If you are homeless or struggling to financially maintain an abode.

The housing voucher program in San Diego is funded by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). You can choose various affordable rental houses throughout the city which can be assisted by section 8.

Section 8 in Austin

The Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA) is the one responsible for the implementation of the program in Austin City, Texas. To know the Housing Voucher Progam in this area, here are the essential details:

  1. The tenants pay only about 30 to 40 percent of their rental fees and the rest will be covered by the program;
  2. The percentage of the tenant’s payment depends on the monthly income s/he receives;
  3. The voucher program, the tenants, and the landlords should have good communication and cooperation in the implementation of the program; and
  4. The recipients of the program can choose housing rentals available in the city of Austin so long as the landlords have coordinated with the program.

Unfortunately, the city is not currently accepting applications for the waitlist. However, if you do plan to apply for other HACA housing or rental assistance you can visit the official website and choose a program that is right for you.

Section 8 in Santa Rosa

The Voucher program in this city is managed by the Santa Rosa Housing Authority. Just like in Austin, qualified recipients will only pay 30 to 40 percent of their monthly rental fees. The payable amount might vary from person to person since it depends on the income amount of the recipient and the number of people in a household.

The qualification that the city prioritizes is the limit of the annual gross income which starts with $40,750 for one person to $76,800 for eight persons. Currently, the Santa Rosa Housing Authority is accepting applications for their waitlist which started on 21st September 2021 and will end on 31st October of the same year. If you plan to apply, here are the steps:

  • Visit the Santa Rosa city website and tick the housing voucher program.
  • Enter your username and password. If you don’t have an account yet, tick the register option at the bottom of the site;
  • Create a profile account and proceed to the application;
  • After filling up the necessary information, simply submit your application; then
  • Occasionally check your account or the Santa Rosa website to be updated.
Section 8 in Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Section 8 Housing Voucher Program waiting list coordinates with 102 Public Housing Authorities in organizing the applications. Since 2003, the department has been accepting applications for section 8.

You are qualified for the program so long as you have a gross family income starting from $40,250 for one person to $75,900 for 8 persons and live or work in Massachusetts. If you are interested, you can apply through either of the following:

  • Through online. If you don’t have an account yet just tick the signup option;
  • By downloading and printing an application form and submitting it to a housing authority working for the program; or
  • Ask for assistance from a housing authority.

Please be reminded that you must only submit one application form.

Centralized Waiting List

Some housing authorities use the centralized list to organize the state-wide application in Massachusetts. In fact, the largest provider of Section 8 housing vouchers is known as Metro Housing Boston.

If you happen to live in Massachusetts you can check if your application in the waitlist. Although not all cities or counties can access the centralized waiting list, you can inquire your local housing authority for a link or site where you can access your application.

Additionally, other states also have their own rules and websites provided to access Section 8 applications. Aside from the places mentioned in this article, there are more cities, counties, and states in the US that implement this program. Thus, It is best to ask for assistance from your local housing authority to be updated on the process of your application for the Section 8 housing voucher program.

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