Applying for a Section 8 housing voucher can be a lengthy process. Here’s what you’ll need to do once your application is finished.
Getting rental assistance from the government’s Housing Choice Voucher program can make it much easier to meet your monthly budget.
If you qualify, part of your rent will be paid by a local Public Housing Agency (PHA) directly to the landlord of a Section 8 home.
While it’s not the quickest way to get help with the rent, a housing voucher can be the best way to ensure your family stays off the streets and in safe, affordable housing. In short, it’s a long-term solution for low-income families, which makes applying for Section 8 a worthwhile process.
If there is one drawback to Section 8 housing, it’s the demand for it. Housing vouchers are limited, while the need for them can be quite high, no matter where you live.
What do high voucher demand and low supply equal? A long, sometimes tiring Section 8 application process that doesn’t end once you apply.
While you can contact your local PHA right now to find out how to start the voucher application process, let’s look at the steps that come after you apply.
What to Do Once Your Housing Choice Voucher Application Is Complete
1. Wait for approval.
This is the first time you’ll have to wait when applying for Section 8, and it can take weeks or months for your application to be approved. You can accelerate this process by applying online, which often gets processed faster than paper applications.
If a review of your Section 8 application finds that you meet all of the eligibility requirements for a housing voucher, you will have to wait once again, this time on a waiting list.
2. See if you made the waiting list.
While getting a housing voucher to help with the rent is the end goal of applying for Section 8, you’ll find that making the waiting list will be your first goal. Once on the waiting list, you’ll be in line for a housing voucher.
You can find out your waiting list status by either checking online or receiving an official letter in the mail. PHAs vary in how they notify applicants, so be sure to ask what their procedure is.
How do you make the waiting list? That depends on your PHA. Some will determine placement on a first-come, first-served basis. Others, meanwhile, will draw a random lottery to see who the lucky voucher recipients are.
It’s important to know that meeting all of the Section 8 eligibility requirements does not guarantee you’ll make the waiting list. Once again, demand and availability play a significant part here. If you do get rejected, ask your PHA for the reason why.
3. See how long you’ll have to wait.
Perhaps the worst part of the entire Section 8 application process is sitting on the waiting list. Some lists can take several years to process, so you may have to be extra patient to get your voucher.
Ask your PHA where you sit on the list or for an estimated waiting time.
4. Keep checking your status.
It’s crucial to continuously check your waiting list status to see where you stand and if any more information is needed. If you don’t respond when asked to, you could lose your spot.
5. Attend your in-person interview.
The final step before getting your housing voucher is to have an interview to see that you still meet all of the eligibility requirements. Keep an eye out for the notice to interview, so you don’t miss it.