Quick Tips For California Section 8 Housing Applicants
Section 8 housing, now known as the Housing Choice Voucher Program, can help you find affordable housing in your community.Through Section 8 housing, you will search for and find your own housing arrangements once you are deemed to be eligiblefor the program. If you are eligible to participate in the program, you will receive vouchers to assist you in paying yourmonthly bills. Section 8 housing differs from public housing in that you will find a privately owned apartment, townhouseor house to rent, rather than moving into government-funded and -managed property.
Many Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) in California face long waiting lists due to a lack of funding and housing opportunities.Because of those waiting lists, it is of vital importance that you apply for assistance as early as you can if you needit. The more quickly you submit a completed application, the earlier you might be able to access that necessary housingassistance.
Verify Your Eligibility
Knowing the eligibility requirements for Section 8 housing can help you to determine whether or not your specific circumstanceswill allow you to receive assistance. Eligibility is primarily based on your income so that low-income individuals and familiescan be first to get the help they need. Your income will be set against the determined median income level in your localarea, so make sure to calculate your total household income first. The number of people in your household will also be usedin these calculations to determine how much, if any, housing assistance you will be eligible to receive.
Additional eligibility requirements include your citizenship or immigration status, your household composition, and yourwork and income details. Your household composition means the number of people who live with you, who they are and whetheror not they can work and contribute income to the household.
Apply For Assistance
After you have verified your eligibility for Section 8 Housing, apply as soon as possible to avoid a long wait period. Also,note that there is a large amount of information you will need to review regarding what documents you will need and whatdocumentation needs to be verified to be successfully enrolled in the program. This simple list will aid you in applyingfor Section 8 Housing in California:
- Proof of legal presence: You need to provide a Social Security Number or an alien registration number for everymember of the household. This will prove your U.S. citizenship or your lawful presence as an immigrant.
- Income verification: To provide proof of your monthly earnings, you will need pay stubs and/or tax returns. Ifyou or anyone in your household receives child support or other forms of supplemental income, proof of those benefits mustalso be provided and verified for accuracy. Additionally, every person in your household who is currently working mustprovide income information.
- Proof of California residency: You must be a California resident to receive Section 8 benefits in CA. A bill, suchas a utility statement or bank statement indicating your permanent address, can be used as verification of residence. ACalifornia driver’s license can also serve as proof.
- Proof of family structure: You may need to verify how each adult and child is related in your household. Documentsto have available include marriage certificates and birth certificates for children. This may or may not be required foryour application. However, the more information you have available, the easier it will be to complete your application.Having identification and income details for each person in your household at the ready will facilitate your application.
Applying for Section 8 Housing can be a stressful process. Stay calm and understand that your application will take timeto be processed. It is very common to be put on a waiting list, but if you’re eligible, you will receive housing as soonas it is possible.
Looking For Housing
The benefit of the Housing Choice Voucher Program is that you can identify housing that works best for your needs and foryour family. However, finding that housing can sometimes cause additional stress as you search for a place to meet thoseneeds that will also accept your housing vouchers. Follow these tips to ensure you find the right place for you:
- Look online. Online rental searches can save you time and effort so you do not have to visit each and every potentialhome. Make sure you confirm with the landlord or homeowner that vouchers are accepted before moving forward.
- Look in newspapers. Classified ads often list available home rentals so you can peruse those options and callto learn more details.
- Look in person. Pay attention to signage in your local community. Many rentals will display a sign indicating availability,so you could call the number on the sign or try to view the rental in person right away.
- Ask your network. Your friends and family might have connections or know of places that would be suitable, so askaround and let everyone know that you are looking for affordable housing to see what contacts might come up.
- Use HUD. The Department of Housing and Urban Development offers an affordable housing search online to identifyavailable housing options in your county or region.
- Use your PHA. Contact your local Public Housing Authority for assistance in locating potential rental options;they might have connections to rental units that frequently work with vouchers. They can also assign you a housing counselorto address your personal situation and help you find appropriate housing.
As you look at potential rentals, remember that your housing vouchers will pay a specific amount each month. If your monthlyrent or bills exceed that amount, you will be responsible for paying the balance. When deciding where to live, be cautiouswith your expenses so you can ensure the rental is affordable with your vouchers calculated into the total expenses.
Once you identify potential rental units, you need to inspect them in person to ensure they meet your needs and will meetthe standards set by your local PHA. A representative will also inspect the unit to check that it meets health and safetystandards before you will be allowed to sign a lease. When you look at an apartment, townhouse or house in person, be sureto look at the general condition of the home as well as inspecting it more closely for safety standards. You want to makesure the unit is clean and in good condition and that electricity, water and gas hook-ups are all up to standards.
Your local PHA representative will further inspect the unit you want to rent. Then, if you are approved, you will be ableto sign a lease. Remember that this is a legally binding document, so you do not want to sign until you have completed allthe necessary steps as required by your local PHA.