Finding a way to make rent each month can be a worrisome task for many households. Overall the last several years renters have seen their rates climb at a rapid rate. As a result, many households had a tough time making ends meet. Households that don’t make a lot of income can find themselves in a difficult spot financially.
Luckily, there are ways to get your housing costs down if you need it. One option is to seek government assistance. There are various programs that can provide qualifying households help with their rent! The Housing Choice Voucher Program has been making efforts to combat housing insecurity and homelessness for more than 40 years. If you believe that you can benefit from spending less on rent each month, you can consider applying for Section 8!
The Purpose Behind the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8)
Qualifying low-income individuals and families can benefit from rent assistance through the Housing Choice Voucher Program. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds this program. Commonly called Section 8, public housing authorities (PHAs) administer the program on a local level. The purpose behind the program is to help recipients gain access to safe and decent housing at a rate they can afford. Furthermore, the program allows recipients more freedom in where they are able to live. This is because voucher recipients search for their own rental property on the private market. The only catch is that the property owner needs to be willing to accept vouchers as payment. In addition to that, the property needs to pass an inspection done by the PHA.
How Do Vouchers Work?
Once a qualifying household is awarded a Section 8 voucher, they need to search for a rental to live in. There can be some obstacles that come up during the hunt for a rental unit. This is because there are landlords that do not accept vouchers for rent payment. Therefore, properties that qualify for Section 8 are limited. Even so, recipients are not restricted to a certain area. This is important because it allows families the potential benefit of being able to move to a better neighborhood. In fact, there is research that displays the positive effects of living in higher-opportunity areas can have on a family. For example, parents may have additional job opportunities open to them. Meanwhile, children can benefit from a healthier school environment within better public school systems.
The amount that qualifying households can get from their voucher is dependent on a few factors. Details about an applicant’s personal situation are considered. These include their gross monthly income and family size. In addition to that, the average cost of rent in a particular area can affect a recipient’s voucher amount. The PHAs handle the vouchers directly by paying them straight to the landlord of the property. Finally, the amount of rent that is not covered by Section 8 is left up to the voucher holder to pay.
Highlighting the Advantages and Challenges of Section 8
If you’re interested in receiving rental assistance, Section 8 can be an exciting opportunity for you! However, it’s important to be aware that there are potential challenges you may face. If you know what to expect, you can be better prepared to handle obstacles that come your way!
When it comes to seeking assistance through Section 8, you may face obstacles such as:
- Complicated application process: Applying to Section 8 can be a difficult process to navigate. In addition to that, it can be time consuming because there is quite a bit of paperwork required.
- Limited availability of affordable rentals accepting vouchers: Many landlords are hesitant to participate in the program. As a result, finding an affordable rental unit that accepts vouchers can be challenging.
- Not enough funding/long waiting periods: Section 8 can only provide a limited amount of funding each year. Unfortunately there are more families in need than the program can provide for. As a result, approved applicants are often subject to a long wait before they get a voucher.
Now that you understand some of the challenges involved with Section 8, let’s highlight some of the benefits! You may find that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. This is because the challenges mainly affect the time it takes to get assistance. Whereas, the benefits come as soon as you’re able to get assistance. Therefore, if you’re willing to jump through some hoops in the beginning, you can enjoy the reward later!
Some of the advantages to Section 8 include:
- Promotes housing stability: Section 8 significantly improves a recipient’s ability to be housing secure. Qualifying households can get access to decent and affordable housing thanks to vouchers.
- Flexibility to choose where to live: Recipient’s are not limited to specific government housing. Therefore, they have greater choice of where they live and what type of rental they would like to live in.
- Positive financial impact: Voucher holders can spend less on their housing expenses. Therefore, they have greater flexibility to spend more funds on other basic needs such as food and healthcare.
How to Become a Homeowner Using Vouchers
Qualifying current voucher holders can utilize their rental assistance to better their future! How is this possible? The Homeownership Voucher Program provides a unique opportunity to certain households. This program allows certain Section 8 recipients to use their voucher for home owning expenses instead of rent. A voucher may be able to cover monthly costs such as mortgage payments, property taxes, etc. Transitioning from renting to owning a home can have a positive impact on a family’s future. For example, owning property can potentially build equity over time. The increased equity can then contribute to the family’s financial stability later on.
When considering the Homeownership Voucher program, it’s important to know that it is not offered everywhere. Furthermore, the funding is limited, so only certain households can qualify. Eligibility criteria for this program includes income and credit requirements. In addition to that, applicants are often required to complete homeownership counseling programs.
Wrapping it Up
Overall, the Housing Choice Voucher Program can effectively help qualifying households handle their housing costs. The main benefit to Section 8 is that voucher holders are able to choose where to live. Families can decide what type of a rental unit they can live in. Not only that, the voucher may be enough to allow them to move into a better neighborhood. Higher-opportunity areas are associated with better school systems and increased access to essential services.
The eligibility criteria for Section 8 varies. This is because the program is administered by local Public Housing Authorities (PHAs). How much assistance a voucher can provide is dependent on the specific applicant. In addition, the housing market can influence the amount of a voucher. If you are interested in benefiting from Section 8, you can get started by reaching out to a PHA near you. Be aware that if you are accepted into the program, you likely won’t get assistance right away. However, if you’re able to receive a voucher, you will be glad that you took the chance when you did!