How Do You Qualify for Section 8 Apartments

By: Abdullah Haroon

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NYC is an expensive place to live in. The majority of New Yorkers spend half of their monthly earnings on rent, and those who earn less than median earnings struggle to pay their household expenses if they can afford to rent a place at all.

The federal government offers affordable housing programs to help people whose earnings may disqualify them for the average NYC apartment. Such programs include affordable housing lotteries and Section 8 apartments.

Section 8 apartments: What is the deal about them?

What is Section 8 Housing?

Section 8 is a program run by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to help low-income residents who wouldn’t be able to afford to house otherwise. As is the case with affordable housing, there are income requirements for Section 8.

Section 8 was initiated by President Lyndon B. Johnson as a federal program to provide maximum relief for those living below the poverty line. The vision behind Section 8 is to put housing well within reach of every US citizen. The Section 8 program is also known as the Federal Housing Choice Vouchers Program which is also run by HUD.

What is Section 8 housing?

Qualifying for Section 8 Apartments:

The local Public Housing Authority (PHA) determines who qualifies for the Section 8 program. They evaluate household data against the program’s qualifying criteria. The data evaluated is primarily total annual income and the number of immediate family members.

To find out whether or not you qualify for the Section 8 program, you would need to first contact your local PHA. Additional qualifying criteria include citizenship status, eviction history, and family status.

Qualifying for Section 8 apartments

Section 8 Housing Requirement:

Income remains the major qualifying factor for Section 8 housing. The tenant must pay 30% of the rent when participating in the Section 8 program; the remaining 70% is paid by the program.

Finding a Section 8 Apartment:

Once approved for a Section 8 housing voucher, participants have 90 days to find a qualifying Section 8 apartment. An inspection of the unit is completed before the tenant can move in.

Finding a Section 8 Apartment

Go Online:

Use the internet to find Section 8 apartments near you. Try searching for ‘apartments that accept Section 8’ in the search bar and review the results.

Seek Help from Non-Profit Organizations:

Many non-profit organizations devote their existence to helping families find affordable housing. Consider contacting them and completing their screening process for assistance with finding a qualifying Section 8 apartment. One such organization is

Do Your Homework:

It is always best to do some research beforehand to narrow down what you want, how much you can afford, and where you want your next apartment to be. It’s also a good idea to get an idea about the utility costs in different areas of town to ensure they’re within your budget, even if you are in the Section 8 program.

Applying for Section 8 Housing:

The local PHA is the governing agency when it comes to whose Section 8 applications are approved. You will need to provide all required documents to the PHA for review and consideration.

In order to qualify for a Section 8 voucher, you must fall within the required income bracket. You may apply for housing anywhere in the United States. Also bear in mind that your approval may not automatically mean you get an apartment; you’re likely to end up on a waiting list for a qualifying Section 8 apartment.

Be Patient:

Even though you meet the criteria and apply for it, you may have to wait a while before you can move into a new place. There are usually more people who apply for Section 8 than there are available Section 8 apartments. Patience is key as the process progresses.