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Section 8 application online - Become a Section 8 landlord

What is a Section 8 application for?

A section 8 application form can be found online when housing authorities are accepting applications. Most housing authorities have waiting lists that are closed due to the high demand for rental assistance programs. Find ones that are open from now on with the Section 8 and Subsidized Housing Online Packet. The application process is always free.

Find a Section 8 application online

In order to apply for Section 8, a tenant must find a Housing Authority that has an open waiting list and will allow them to complete a Section 8 application.

Section 8 landlord is simply an independent landlord that has had the necessary inspections required by the housing authority in order to accept the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (inspections are free). Some housing authorities will want you to have a voucher holder (someone on section 8) already interested in renting from you.

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Applicants may apply when they can find and submit a low income housing application online or at any county or city housing authority office in their state, and although rules vary according to each authority, in general, residents of a particular area who receive a voucher from the jurisdiction in which they live may use the voucher anywhere in the country, but nonresidents of the jurisdiction must live in the jurisdiction that issues the voucher to them for 12 months before they can move to a different area. Also, priority for vouchers is often reserved for those who reside in the service area of that housing authority.

In many localities, the PHA waiting lists for HUD vouchers may be thousands of families long, waits of three to six years to access vouchers is common, and many lists are closed to new applicants. Wait lists are often briefly opened (often for just five days), which may occur as little as once every seven years. Some PHAs use a "lottery" approach, where there can be as many as 100,000 applicants for 10,000 spots on an open section 8 waiting list, with spots being awarded on the basis of weighted or non-weighted lotteries, with priority sometimes given to local residents, the disabled, veterans, and the elderly. There is no guarantee that anyone will ever receive a spot on the waiting list.

Families who participate in the program and apply for Section 8 online must abide by a series of rules and regulations, often referred to as "family obligations", in order to maintain their voucher, including accurately reporting to the PHA all changes in household income and family composition so the amount of their subsidy (and the applicable rental unit size limitation) can be updated accordingly. In recent years, the HUD Office of the Inspector General has spent more time and money on fraud detection and prevention. Keep in mind that a HUD application is often misconstrued with section 8 instead of public housing.

There is a provision for disabled people who have a Section 8 subsidized dwelling to have their rent frozen for a specified time if they are working part-time below a certain amount of money. This is called the Earned Income Disallowance or Earned Income Disregard (EID) and is stipulated under US 24 CFR 5.617, "Self-sufficiency incentives for persons with disabilities—Disallowance of increase in annual income". This was enacted as part of Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act of 1998. This requires Housing Authorities and some owners, in calculating rent, to temporarily “disregard” increased income earned when certain public housing residents and disabled participants in certain housing assistance programs return/go to work or job-related programs. The idea is to foster self-sufficiency for those who are on subsidies and disability and other assistance. A low income housing application is actually only for those that qualify for Section 8.

Rosin's article was later criticized by Greg Anrig in an article published on the The American Prospect. In the article, Anrig accuses Rosin of placing an excessive amount of blame on housing policy for the reported increase in crime. The article makes reference to the fact that Rosin never made a conclusive argument that those who participate in Section 8 were responsible for the higher rates of crime, as those who receive housing support are subject to screenings based on drug use and previous criminal activity. Rosin instead relies on a heat map of crime created by Richard Janikowski and Phyllis Betts who are reported to have said they were "[…] amazed -- and deflated -- to see how perfectly the two data sets fit together."

Janikowski and Betts later disavowed any connection between Public housing and Section 8 vouchers and increases in crime in the area in a later letter to the editor for the Atlantic. Rosin failed to mention that there was a consistent decrease and increase in crime from inner-cities to the inner-ring suburbs across most metropolitan areas due to shifting populations. Anrig argues that economic factors are more likely responsible for Memphis’s increase in crime, as male unemployment almost doubled between the years of 1990 and 2000. Anrig also makes reference to Moving to Opportunity (MTO), a randomized policy experiment.

Howard Husock, vice president for policy research at the Manhattan Institute, heavily criticized Section 8 listings in a 2003 book on housing policy as a vehicle for exporting inner-city social problems to the suburbs. Hanna Rosin, an American journalist, has argued that Section 8 has led to crime being more evenly spread out across U.S. metropolitan areas, without any net decrease. This was the core thesis of her article published by The Atlantic in 2008, in which she linked Section 8 to a crime wave in the Memphis, Tennessee metro area. Rosin's article attempted to position Memphis as just one particularly troubling example of a nationwide trend: "Still, researchers around the country are seeing the same basic pattern: projects coming down in inner cities and crime pushing outward, in many cases destabilizing cities or their surrounding areas." Rosin's article has been highly influential among politicians in cities claiming to be severely impacted by Section 8, such as Lancaster, California.

The study concludes that there was no increase in violent crime for the participants of subsidized housing or their surrounding neighborhoods in the five cities tested; Memphis was not a part of the study. Even though the participants were far more likely to stay in poorer areas when given the chance to leave, families still received a modest academic and psychological benefit. In fact, according to a paper prepared for the U.S. Department of Section 8 Housing and Urban Development and the Office of Policy Development and Research rather than increasing crime, those who use housing vouchers are more likely to move into areas where crime is increasing.

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