Learn How to Apply for Section 8 Housing in Arkansas
An Arkansas Section 8 application can be submitted to any public housing agency (PHA) of your choice. At the federal level, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides funding for this program. However, local PHAs are responsible for processing applications for assistance. While it is beneficial to apply for Section 8 with the PHA that serves your local community, you may apply anywhere and submit a form to more than one organization at a time.
Overall, the Section 8 housing application process requires you to submit information on each member of your household who needs assistance. When you sign up, you will need to verify your eligibility and, in some cases, pass a background check or complete other steps. To learn more about the application process and discover what happens after you submit your form, read the sections below.
When can I submit a Section 8 application in Arkansas?
You can apply for Section 8 housing in Arkansas as long as a PHA is actively accepting new applications. Because of the popularity of this program, local PHAs are not always taking in new applicants. However, some PHAs accept forms year-round as long as there are vouchers available to distribute.
Unfortunately, the demand for vouchers is so high that certain PHAs will stop accepting applications altogether for long periods of time. Under these circumstances, you may find it helpful to apply through more than one PHA.
If at a given moment you are not able to submit a low income housing application to your local PHA, it is important to look for notifications about the agency reopening its application portal. Local PHAs typically announce whenever they begin taking applications through various methods, including ads on radio stations and in local newspapers. If your PHA has a website, it will usually make an announcement online as well.
When a PHA reopens its application period, you may only be able to apply for Section 8 housing for a limited period of time. In fact, most housing agencies close their application portal shortly after opening it due to a high number of applicants.
What documents do I need to apply for Section 8 in Arkansas?
When you sign up for Section 8 in Arkansas, you will need to verify your eligibility. As such, you will be required to provide documentation to prove things such as your age, identity, income and special circumstances (if applicable). You can verify these details by submitting the following paperwork:
- Photo identification
- Birth certificate
- Social Security card
- Pay stubs
- Bank statements
- Tax returns
Keep in mind that all documents must be original or certified copies. Furthermore, you will more than likely need to provide paperwork for each person in your family who wishes to obtain assistance. However, the exact types of documents you need will vary depending on your particular circumstances.
If you do not have any of the required items, PHAs may contact employers, banks or other organizations directly to get the information they need. Learn more about the types of information you will need to provide with your Section 8 application by downloading our comprehensive guide here.
Tips for Completing the Arkansas Section 8 Housing Application
When you submit a HUD application in Arkansas, it helps to understand how PHAs select applicants. First, most housing authorities utilize waiting lists to accommodate the large number of applicants they receive. You will more than likely be placed on a waiting list when you apply for low income housing, unless the PHA is able to give you a voucher right away.
Second, housing authorities use local preferences to determine which applicants to help first. If you qualify for a local preference based on your Section 8 application form, it can mean that you receive assistance more quickly. Other times, it might simply mean that you are placed higher on the waiting list. Local preferences may exist if you are:
- A veteran.
- A senior.
- Living in substandard housing.
- A local applicant who lives or works in the area.
- Displaced from your home.
The types of local preferences can vary depending on where you apply for assistance. You can still submit a housing authority application if you do not qualify for preferences, but it may mean that you end up waiting longer for assistance.
Understanding the Arkansas Section 8 Application Process
You can typically apply for low income housing in person, through the mail or online. Generally, the types of methods available will vary depending on the PHA you choose.
How to Apply for Section 8 Online in Arkansas
Certain PHAs will allow you to submit a Section 8 application online when the waiting list is open. Start by locating your PHA’s website to see if it offers an online form to fill out. Keep in mind that online application portals will usually not be accessible if the housing authority is not currently taking new applicants.
How to Submit the Arkansas Section 8 Housing Application in Person
A housing agency may allow you to sign up for assistance in person. Moreover, certain PHAs may require you to apply in person and schedule an appointment before showing up.
When it comes to in-person applications for Section 8, policies and office hours will vary from one PHA to the next. In any case, keep in mind that you will not be able to submit an application if the PHA’s waiting list is closed.
How to Apply for Section 8 Housing by Mail
A local PHA will often provide a physical application form on its website. You can download this form, fill it out and return it to the office by mail. Alternatively, you may be able to pick up a paper form at your local PHA office and send it back once it is thoroughly filled out.
What happens after I apply for Section 8 in Arkansas?
After you complete a HUD housing application in Arkansas, you will likely be placed on a waiting list. Some PHAs hold lottery-style drawings to select applicants from the list, while others will only rely on local preferences to select beneficiaries.
If you are put onto a waiting list, it is important that you keep your address and other details current. Otherwise, the PHA may not be able to contact you.
Once you are granted a voucher, you will receive a notification and instructions on what to do next. Most housing authorities will require you to attend an informational meeting or briefing.
Next, you must find a suitable apartment, house or townhome to rent. In certain particular circumstances, a voucher can be used where you already live. If you need help finding a home that is approved by Section 8, you may use a housing list.