You can apply for Section 8 in Alabama through any public housing agency (PHA) in the state. Generally, these PHAs administer the Housing Choice Voucher Program at the local level. Meanwhile, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds the program at the federal level, but it does not process applications for assistance.
Each PHA has its own Section 8 application steps due to the fact that every agency is independently run. Therefore, you cannot fill out a standard Section 8 housing application for every PHA. Read below to learn more about the application process for this program and discover what you need to know before you sign up.
When can I submit a Section 8 application in Alabama?
Sometimes, a PHA will accept applications year-round. In most cases, however, an Alabama HUD application cannot be submitted at any time. That is because most PHAs will stop accepting applications when there are too many families already waiting to receive assistance.
If you are not able to sign up for Section 8 with your preferred PHA, you may consider submitting an application to another local agency. Typically, you are allowed to apply for assistance through any housing authority.
However, be mindful that you may have a lower chance of being approved if you do not live or work in the PHA’s service area. This is because most PHAs strive to help local applicants first, whenever possible.
The demand for housing varies depending on where you are applying for help. In more populous areas, you may find that it is more difficult to find open application periods. With that in mind, it may be easier to apply for Section 8 housing in an area that has a lower demand for rental assistance.
In any case, it is important to keep in mind that you cannot have your information put on file if a PHA is not actively taking applications. Instead, you need to wait to submit your Section 8 application form when the housing authority begins taking new petitioners.
What documents do I need to apply for Section 8 in Alabama?
When you apply for low income housing in Alabama, you will need to verify your eligibility by submitting a variety of documents. The types of paperwork required will vary depending on your situation and the PHA’s preferences. You should plan on having documents that verify the following:
- Age and date of birth
- Citizenship or legal presence
- Social Security Number (SSN)
- Employment and income, if applicable
- Disability status, if applicable
Documents that may satisfy the housing authority application requirements can include bank statements, tax returns, photo IDs, birth certificates and other paperwork. When possible, documents should always be original or certified copies. Keep in mind that you will usually need to provide paperwork for each person in your household.
Tips for Completing the Alabama Section 8 Housing Application
When you fill out a low income housing application in Alabama, it is important to understand how the process works so that you can have realistic expectations. Unfortunately, the need for affordable housing is so high that not all applicants will be approved for a voucher. This means that your HUD housing application can be denied even if you meet the eligibility requirements.
Because many PHAs receive a very high number of applications, it is common for these agencies to utilize a waiting list. You may be placed on a such a list if your initial application is approved but the PHA does not have any vouchers to give out.
If you are put on a waiting list after you sign up for Section 8, note that your placement may be affected by local preferences. A local preference is something that PHAs can use to determine which applicants are in the greatest need of assistance.
If you qualify for one of these preferences, you may be placed higher on the waiting list and be able to get a voucher more quickly. Waiting list preferences vary from one PHA to the next, but are often given to applicants who fall into the following categories:
- Living in substandard housing
- Displaced from home
Learn more about waiting lists and preferences by reading our detailed Section 8 guide.
Understanding the Alabama Section 8 Application Process
You can apply for low income housing using a variety of different methods. Generally, these available methods will vary depending on your PHA’s resources.
How to Apply for Section 8 Online in Alabama
If your local PHA has a website, you are typically able to fill out an Alabama Section 8 application online. While certain housing agencies will only accept online applications, others will provide the online process as an option. Keep in mind that you can always fill out Section 8 application online free of charge, as PHAs are not allowed to charge a fee for this service.
How to Submit the Alabama Section 8 Housing Application in Person
A PHA may allow you to submit an application in person. However, before you apply in person, make sure check whether that the PHA is actively accepting new beneficiaries. As a general rule, you will not be allowed to submit an application or leave your information on file if the housing authority is not evaluating new petitioners.
How to Apply for Section 8 Housing by Mail
As an additional option, certain PHAs provide physical forms that can be submitted in the mail. In those cases, you would be able to download and print an application from the housing authority’s website or pick up a paper copy in person.
What happens after I apply for Section 8 in Alabama?
As mentioned in previous sections, the Alabama Section 8 application process will more than likely result in you being placed on a waiting list. If this is the case, keep in mind that it may take months or even years for your name to be selected. As such, it is important to keep your contact information up to date if you are on a waiting list.
Once you are granted a voucher, you will need to verify that you are still qualified by undergoing another eligibility screening. Upon approval, the housing authority will explain your responsibilities under the program.