Learn How to Apply for Section 8 Housing in Colorado
A Colorado Section 8 application can be submitted to a public housing agency (PHA) that serves your community. Generally, you have the option to apply for Section 8 through any PHA of your choice. Because each agency is an independent organization, note that the application steps and requirements can vary depending on the PHA.
In most cases, a CO Section 8 housing application will require you to provide the same information on yourself and each household member. Note that your initial application is typically only used to determine if you are eligible to be placed on a waiting list. Read below to learn how to apply for low income housing in Colorado and discover which steps you may need to take.
When can I submit a Section 8 application in Colorado?
While all PHAs receive funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), each housing agency is considered a separate organization. With that in mind, certain PHAs will accept applications year-round, while others will only take new applicants during specific periods of time.
The current demand for housing vouchers can determine when PHAs open and close their application periods. Generally, you may be able to sign up for Section 8 at any time you choose in areas with a lower demand for housing.
Other times, you will be required to wait until a local housing agency begins taking new applications. The wait can last for months or even years, depending on the current availability of vouchers.
In any case, it is important to understand that you cannot submit a HUD application if a PHA is not actively taking new petitioners. However, be mindful that you can apply through any housing agency if you are not able to sign up with your preferred PHA.
Housing authorities will announce when their application period opens and closes. Look for advertisements in newspapers and other community publications. If your PHA has a website, it may make an announcement online as well. Learn more about when and how you can submit a Section 8 application form in our guide here.
What documents do I need to apply for Section 8 in Colorado?
When you apply for Section 8 housing, you will need to verify your personal information as well as your eligibility for the program. Various documents can be used to satisfy these requirements, such as:
- Photo ID or other proof of identity.
- Birth certificate.
- Evidence of legal presence in the U.S.
- Social Security card or other proof of Social Security Number (SSN).
- Bank statements and proof of other assets.
- Pay stubs, benefit award letters or tax returns to verify income.
The documents you need with your HUD housing application will vary depending on your situation. However, you should always try to provide original or certified copies of any paperwork you include. The PHA may also verify information by contacting banks, employers or other organizations directly.
Tips for Completing the Colorado Section 8 Housing Application
Before you complete a housing authority application in CO, it helps to understand waiting lists and local preferences. A waiting list is something that nearly every PHA uses in order to give more applicants the chance of receiving a voucher over time.
Most housing agencies do not have enough vouchers for all applicants. As a solution, these applicants are placed onto a waiting list until assistance becomes available.
Unfortunately, when you apply for Section 8 housing and get placed on a waiting list, there is no guarantee that your name will be selected. However, it is common for PHAs to use local preferences to determine where to place applicants on a waiting list. A local preference may be given to petitioners who:
- Are homeless or have been living in substandard housing.
- Are seniors.
- Have a disability.
- Are veterans.
- Are local residents.
If you qualify for a local preference when you apply for Section 8 in Colorado, it does not mean you are guaranteed to receive a voucher. Instead, it simply improves your chances of being placed higher on a waiting list, which means that you may get assistance more quickly.
It is important to note that some PHAs will hold a lottery-style drawing to select applicants from a waitlist. After the drawing is held, you may or may not need to apply for Section 8 housing again in order to be considered for the next drawing. Overall, policies will vary depending on where you apply.
Understanding the Colorado Section 8 Application Process
You can submit a low income housing application in person, by mail or online, depending on the options provided by your PHA. Generally, the application methods will vary from one organization to the next.
How to Apply for Section 8 Online in Colorado
If your local PHA has its own website, it may accept online applications. As a general rule, you can only submit a Section 8 application online whenever the waiting list is open.
Most PHAs remove their application portal whenever their waiting list is closed. In any case, you can fill out Section 8 application online free of charge, as PHAs do not require you to pay a fee.
How to Submit the Colorado Section 8 Housing Application in Person
Your PHA may allow you to apply in person when a waiting list is open. Be sure to check the office hours and policies before you visit, as some organizations may require an appointment.
How to Apply for Section 8 Housing by Mail
If your local PHA has a website, you can typically find a downloadable application form online. Otherwise, you may contact the housing agency to receive a paper form. In any case, keep in mind that these applications will generally be removed or made unavailable if a waiting list is closed.
What happens after I apply for Section 8 in Colorado?
Once you sign up for Section 8 in Colorado, you will be placed on a waiting list, unless the PHA is able to help you right away. When a voucher becomes available for your family, you will usually need to undergo another eligibility review to ensure that you still meet the requirements at that time. During this phase, you should be prepared to provide the PHA with any required paperwork.
Upon passing the eligibility check, you will need to attend an informational meeting regarding the rules of the Section 8 program. Then, you may start looking for a home to rent.