Section 8, which is also called the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program, prevents homelessness by helping low-income families move into safe and sanitary homes. Oftentimes, families who live in low income housing sacrifice safe conditions so that they can afford rent on a monthly basis.
On the federal level, Section 8 housing is administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). However, Section 8 vouchers in Connecticut are distributed by Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) across the state. As such, different PHAs will work with applicants to determine their eligibility and get them the help they need. Overall, these vouchers cover a certain portion of a recipient’s rent every month.
An estimated 162,700 beneficiaries receive assistance from HUD housing in Connecticut. 66 percent of those recipients are seniors, families with children and people with disabilities. To assist these residents, the CT Department of Housing (DOH) has six PHAs in the state, one Community Action Agency and several other customer service offices.
Discover Connecticut Section 8 Requirements
There are several key Section 8 requirements in Connecticut that are important to understand. Ultimately, eligibility will come down to these main factors:
- Your family’s annual gross income.
- The size of your family and whether any of them are children, dependents, seniors, veterans or have a disability.
- Whether you are a U.S. citizen or legal resident.
Your annual gross income is calculated by factoring in the yearly incomes of every working member of your family before tax deductions. If you are an independent contractor or do not receive regular paychecks, you must make a reasonable estimate of your earnings for the year.
The Section 8 qualifications for income also state that unearned incomes will be factored in. However, forms of income such as adoption assistance or foster care payments will not be counted. In any case, you may still be required to list these earnings in your application.
On the other hand, the income earned by family members who are 17 years of age or younger will not be counted toward the total. Moreover, the income of family members who are 18 years of age or older and enrolled full-time in school may not be counted either.
Section 8 eligibility in Connecticut will also depend on the median income in your area. If your family’s income falls below 50 percent of the median income in your town or county, you may be eligible for housing choice vouchers. Your application may also be labeled as a priority if your income falls below 30 percent, because PHAs are required by law to offer 75 percent of their vouchers to families in this category.
Your local PHA will establish Section 8 income limits on an annual basis. However, be mindful that these limits will vary depending on the size of your household. For instance, a family of two will have a lower income limit than a family of four. If your family exceeds its correspondent income limit, you may not qualify.
Lastly, Connecticut Section 8 housing eligibility depends on citizenship status and background check results. Generally, PHAs may only offer you housing choice vouchers if you are a U.S. citizen or legal resident, as well as a state resident in CT. Then, the local PHA will perform a background check on you and your family members. You will not receive assistance if:
- You are registered as a lifetime sex offender.
- You have been evicted from a federally assisted housing unit for drug-related, criminal activity.
- You have crimes on your record that may threaten the safety of other tenants in a building.
How to Apply for Section 8 Housing in Connecticut
If you are ready to submit a Section 8 application in Connecticut, you may contact your local PHA. However, be mindful that many of the waiting lists in the state are often full or closed.
Even though you may not be able to apply for Section 8 at a particular time, you may still find it useful to get in touch with your local PHA. Valuable questions to ask include:
- When might the waitlist reopen?
- Is there an initial residency requirement for this area?
- Do you ever make exceptions to any residency requirements?
- How long does an applicant stay on the waitlist before receiving assistance?
It is important to ask about local residency requirements, as you may be able to apply for assistance through a different PHA if your local office is closed.
It may also be helpful to understand the Section 8 housing application process, so that you are fully informed when the time comes that you are able to apply. In general, you must submit an application form that details personal information about you and your family, your employment, other forms of income and whether any family members are veterans, seniors, dependents, pregnant or have a disability.
From there, you may be required to take part in an interview with a housing agent. The agent may ask to verify certain documents and inform you of your rights and responsibilities. You may also ask questions of your own.
Understanding Section 8 Waiting Lists in Connecticut
A Section 8 waiting list contains approved applicants who have not yet received housing assistance. Unfortunately, it may take years for qualified applicants to receive HUD housing assistance, and they may lose their eligibility during that waiting period. Families tend to lose eligibility if they begin to earn more money, as well as when a family member passes away or moves out of the home.
Learn About Connecticut Section 8 Housing Lists
You can consult a Section 8 housing list in Connecticut if you are deemed eligible for assistance. The housing list will detail the available homes in your town or county that meet the requirements of the program. Qualified units include apartments, houses, townhouses, condos and more.
Ultimately, you are responsible for finding a suitable housing unit that:
- Does not cost more than your PHA’s designated rent maximum.
- Abides by the HUD rules for safe and sanitary conditions.
- Is owned by a landlord who agrees to participate in the Section 8 program.
If you search for Section 8 listings in Connecticut and come to a final decision, you may present your choice to your housing agent. If your PHA decides that the unit meets the program requirements, you can sign the lease.
Your PHA will send vouchers directly to your landlord to cover a portion of the rent. You must then cover the difference between the rent your landlord charges and the monthly voucher amount.