The housing choice voucher program, also known as Section 8, is a federal program run by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). It aims to provide safe and affordable homes to low-income families and Americans in need. Overall, the goal of the program is to give needy families the means to improve their situations.
Families with stable housing have room in their budget to pay for other living expenses and save for homes of their own. On a state level, an estimated 196,000 residents receive assistance with low-income housing in Alabama from federal programs. Moreover, 68 percent of these recipients are made up of seniors, children and people with disabilities.
You may qualify for the Section 8 housing program if you meet the income criteria and the waiting list in your county is open. In the event that you are approved for this type of assistance, you may be able to move into a HUD housing home, such as a single-family house, townhouse or apartment.
On the other hand, be mindful that the landlord or owner must be approved by your local Public Housing Agency (PHA). To learn more about eligibility requirements, the application process and waiting lists, read below.
Discover Alabama Section 8 Requirements
It is important to read through the Alabama Section 8 requirements for eligibility so that you can determine whether the application process is worth your time. Generally, your eligibility is based on three main factors:
- The total annual gross income of all working family members in your household
- The size of your family
- Your citizenship status in the U.S.
If your gross income does not exceed 50 percent of the median income for your area, you may meet the Section 8 eligibility for housing vouchers. Note that the area refers to the county or town where you plan to live in. If you want to move outside of your current town, you must meet the income criteria for that particular area of residence.
Any income earned by children who are 17 years of age or younger will not be counted toward the Section 8 income limits. However, unearned income for minors may be counted. Other forms of income that are not counted include certain foster care payments and adoption assistance payments. Additional income rules exist for full-time students who are 18 years of age or older and still dependents.
Moreover, Section 8 qualifications state that if your family does not exceed even 30 percent of the median income for your area and your local PHA has an open waitlist, it is extremely likely that you will be placed on the waitlist. This is because of a law that requires PHAs to offer a certain percentage of their vouchers to applicants who fall in this category. Note that median incomes vary from location to location, which means that families may qualify in one area but not another.
Furthermore, meeting the Alabama Section 8 eligibility requirements depends on the size of your family as well, because your household’s gross income will be compared to the number of people living in your family. A PHA will also factor in how many family members are children, dependents or disabled.
Finally, you must live in Alabama to apply through a PHA, and you must be a U.S. citizen or a legal resident in the country. For example, if you have a valid visa for work purposes, you may qualify for the program. Your local PHA will likely ask you to confirm your citizenship or legal residency with a birth certificate or a government-issued document that lists your Social Security Number (SSN), among other documents.
How to Apply for Section 8 Housing in Alabama
Learning how to file a Section 8 application in Alabama is relatively straightforward if you follow the instructions of your local PHA. This is particularly important because different offices may have different steps or restrictions on application methods.
If you plan to apply for Section 8, you must contact your local PHA. In general, you may contact the office by phone, fax or email. Moreover, you may visit the office in person.
Filing a Section 8 application will require you to submit a great deal of personal information. Thus, it is important to make sure that you have all the required identification documents and employment documents at hand, as this will help to ease the process. For instance, you may be asked about:
- The names and ages of each family member in your household.
- The employment status of working family members.
- The job titles of working family members and how much they earn in gross annual income.
- The number of children and dependents in your family.
- Whether any family members are disabled or have a serious illness.
- Whether you receive assistance for foster care or adoption care.
- Your tax returns.
While some PHAs have multiple application methods, you may not be able to complete the AL Section 8 application online. Moreover, you are typically not eligible to apply online if you are not a U.S. citizen. As such, if you must visit an office in person to file an application, make sure to bring all relevant documentation.
After you apply, you may be interviewed by a PHA employee. The interview may help your local PHA verify certain information about you. It is also a chance for you to ask questions about the program.
Understanding Section 8 Waiting Lists in Alabama
The Section 8 waiting list is a list of qualified applicants who have yet to receive their housing choice vouchers. However, the demand for vouchers is so high that not every eligible candidate is able to receive them in a timely manner. Some waiting lists even close indefinitely so that local PHAs can focus on their current recipients.
Fortunately, there are still PHAs in AL that have open waitlists. You may also receive preference if you are homeless or already live in substandard housing. On the other hand, be mindful that you are not guaranteed to receive a housing voucher if you get on the list.
As a general rule, your Section 8 waiting list status in Alabama always depends on your level of income. If you reach the top of the waitlist after waiting for a year but started a new job with a higher salary, you may no longer qualify. Thus, it is important to notify your PHA of any income changes while you are on the waitlist.
Learn About Alabama Section 8 Housing Lists
A Section 8 housing list in Alabama is a list of homes available for rent or purchase through the housing choice voucher program. Generally, your PHA will give you access to a list of available homes once you reach the top of the waitlist. You may then select a home based on the price of rent, the number of people in your family and other factors. Note that the process for home selections may differ from county to county.