Section 8 is a housing assistance program established by the 1937 Housing Act. Also known as the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, its main goal is to provide families, seniors and people with disabilities with subsidized low-income housing that is deemed decent, safe and sanitary. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) operates the program on the federal level, and Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) in each state distribute vouchers on the local level.
The Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) oversees this HUD housing program as a whole, as well as all the local PHAs in the state. Between March 2021 and April 2022, the Delaware Housing Assistance Program (DEHAP) has provided over $55 million in rent and utility assistance to more than 10,000 locals.
If you are thinking about applying for Section 8 housing in Delaware, you must first understand the eligibility requirements and responsibilities during the application process. Moreover, it is important to identify whether your local PHA is even accepting new applications at this time, as many PHAs close their waitlists when they reach a certain limit. To learn more about HUD housing and how to qualify for vouchers, continue reading below.
Discover Delaware Section 8 Requirements
The Delaware Section 8 requirements for eligibility are structured around three main factors. Knowing these factors can help you determine whether you can qualify to receive this type of assistance. Overall, these Section 8 qualifications include:
- The annual gross income of your immediate family and the number of members in your family.
- Whether any family members are dependents, seniors or have a disability.
- The citizenship status of each family member.
When calculating the annual gross income for your household, you must determine how much each working member of your family is expected to earn in a year, before taxes are deducted from their paychecks. However, if you are a freelance worker or an independent contractor, you may have difficulty coming up with an exact number. In this case, you must make a reasonable estimate.
You must also factor in any forms of unearned income, such as income from investments, savings accounts, bond interests and more. If you are worried about your Section 8 eligibility in DE because of earned or unearned income, remember that there are certain exceptions. Forms of income that will not be counted include:
- Adoption assistance.
- Foster care payments.
- Income earned by family members who are 17 years of age or younger.
- Income earned by family members who are 18 years of age or older and enrolled full-time in school.
Note: The incomes of students whose monthly paychecks exceed a certain amount may be counted.
You must also pay attention to Section 8 income limits when determining your eligibility. Income limits are based on the median income in your area and will vary depending on the number of people in your family.
In general, you may qualify for housing choice vouchers if your income does not exceed 50 percent of the median income in your town, county or area. You may be considered a priority applicant if your income does not exceed even 30 percent of the income in your area.
Lastly, Section 8 housing eligibility in Delaware is determined by citizenship status. As a general rule, you must be a resident of the state in order to apply for assistance. You must also be a U.S. citizen or a legal resident in the U.S. In any case, you will be required to present some form of identification that proves your status.
How to Apply for Section 8 Housing in Delaware
The Section 8 application process in Delaware is relatively straightforward. However, you must first make sure whether your local PHA is currently accepting applications. If your local office has closed its waitlist for new applicants, you may be able to apply for assistance through another county office, depending on your circumstances.
The DSHA recommends that prospective applicants ask their local offices whether waitlists are open, as well as how long an applicant may wait before he or she receives assistance.
To apply for Section 8, contact your PHA by phone or email. In-person walk-ins may be welcome, depending on the office. Moreover, a few offices may allow you to complete an application online or request an application by phone.
In addition, you may ease the application process by first gathering relevant documents about your family, living expenses and incomes. This way, the information you need to complete the forms will be readily available.
Whether you complete a Section 8 application online, by phone or by mail, you must provide:
- General information on your family. This includes the name, age and Social Security Number (SSN) of each family member who will live with you in subsidized housing.
- Your current address and phone number.
- Veteran status of any family members, and whether anyone has a disability or severe illness.
- The names, phone numbers and email addresses of your current landlord and previous landlords.
- Employer information regarding every working family member.
You may also be required to complete an interview. During the interview, a PHA agent may ask about any information you submitted that was unclear or incomplete. He or she may also ask to verify certain documents. Finally, the agent will give you the chance to ask questions about the program.
Understanding Section 8 Waiting Lists in Delaware
All Delaware Section 8 waiting lists contain applicants who have qualified for the program but are waiting to receive housing choice vouchers. Depending on an applicant’s circumstances, he or she may wait months or years to receive assistance. During that time, his or her eligibility may also change due to earning more money and exceeding the program’s income limits.
You may check your Section 8 waiting list status periodically if you are worried about your eligibility, or if want to know how far up you are on the list. If you reach the top of the list, you will receive a notification from your local PHA.
Learn About Delaware Section 8 Housing Lists
A Section 8 housing list will contain the available homes in your area that take vouchers as forms of rental payment. If your PHA informs you that you are next in line for vouchers, you may begin searching for available homes that meet the guidelines of the program. In other words, the home must be an apartment, house or townhome that meets the HUD housing safety requirements and does not exceed a certain rental cost.
Keep in mind that these rental units are privately owned, and landlords must be authorized by the state to accept Section 8 recipients.