If you want to receive housing choice vouchers, meeting all the Section 8 requirements in Hawaii is critical. Generally, the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program experiences a very high demand, which means that its eligibility criteria are strict. Consequently, reviewing this information in advance may save you time during the application process.
If you believe that you meet the Section 8 qualifications in HI and are able to apply, your application will be reviewed by the local Public Housing Agency (PHA) of your choice. Overall, there are seven PHAs in the state. Read below to explore the guidelines that will help you prepare for when a waitlist reopens.
What are the Section 8 requirements in Hawaii?
Your Hawaii Section 8 eligibility varies depending on three main factors: residency, citizenship and income. First and foremost, you must live in HI in order to receive benefits from a state PHA. Secondly, you must be either a U.S. citizen or a legal non-citizen.
As a general rule, you must prove that you qualify based on the Section 8 income limits established by your local PHA. Different PHAs have different guidelines, which means that you must check the current guidelines in your county. Income limits are updated on an annual basis.
Additionally, your Section 8 housing eligibility depends on whether or not you pass a background check. Overall, each member of your family will be tested. It is important to note that criminal activity that shows up during this screening may be grounds for a denial of benefits.
What are the Hawaii Section 8 income limits?
One of the most important Section 8 housing requirements in HI is that your earnings must fall below the pre-determined income limit. In general, income limits vary depending on your county and the number of people in your family. However, all PHAs in the state must abide by the following rules:
- Qualified applicants must have an income that does not exceed 50 percent of the median income in their areas.
- PHAs must offer 75 percent of their vouchers to applicants with incomes that do not exceed 30 percent.
Consequently, the Section 8 income guidelines allow for some flexibility depending on the income levels in your county. In Honolulu, for example, a three-person family with an income below $86,800 is at 50 percent of the median. Therefore, this family would be considered to have a low income.
To be labeled as very low income, a three-person family in Honolulu must have an income below $54,250. The income limits in other areas, such as Maui, are lower.
Once you understand the income guidelines for your county, you must calculate your earnings to make sure that they fall below the limit that applies to you. To calculate your earnings, combine the annual incomes of each working family member in your household.
Depending on your circumstances, you may also need to report unearned income such as:
- Cash on hand
- Stocks and bonds
- Money in savings accounts
- Property you own beyond your current home
The Section 8 requirements also state that you must report income from other federal assistance programs, including:
- The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program
- The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program
Benefits from federal programs may or may not affect your eligibility for housing choice vouchers. However, it is still important to report them. Withholding this type of information may result in a denial notification. Therefore, be sure to contact your local PHA for more information on the income criteria.
Which documents do I need to meet Section 8 requirements in Hawaii?
If you think you meet all the Section 8 qualifications in Hawaii and want to apply, make sure to bring or send certain documents to your PHA. Generally, these documents must verify the information you put on your application.
In any case, your PHA will notify you of which documents are required. For instance, many PHAs require their applicants to bring in the following documents:
- Proof of residency in the state. This includes a utility bill, lease agreement, mortgage agreement or another approved document.
- Proof of citizenship. This includes a U.S. driver’s license, birth certificate or state ID.
- Proof of legal non-citizenship. You may need to provide this if you are a non-citizen. Acceptable documents include a visa, permanent resident card, admitted refugee form and other approved documents.
- Proof of employment. This includes a paycheck or employment verification letter.
If you have a disability or you are a senior, your Section 8 eligibility may also depend on your ability to produce medical documents. Medical documents may be used to verify your monthly medical bills, your disability or both.
In addition, applicants who are currently enrolled in school may need to provide proof of enrollment. Discover other important requirements by downloading our comprehensive guide.
Which Hawaii Section 8 housing requirements do I have to meet?
If you have Section 8 housing eligibility and reach the top of a waitlist, you may begin searching for a new home. Your PHA will provide you with information on housing lists to begin your search. Moreover, you have the option of staying in your current home if it meets certain criteria and your landlord is approved by your PHA.
The home you choose must pass a home inspection. During the inspection, A PHA employee will examine the home and make sure there are no safety hazards. If there are problems with the unit, the PHA employee may ask your landlord to fix them or require you to search for a new home.
Furthermore, you are required to sign a lease that lasts at least one year. You must uphold your end of the lease, which means paying the monthly rent that is not covered by your housing choice vouchers. You may also need to pay a security deposit.
What happens if I don’t meet the Section 8 qualifications?
Even if a waitlist opens in the state, your PHA may determine that you do not have Section 8 housing requirements and will deny your application. A denial notice will typically detail the reasons behind the decision. If you disagree with the decision, you have the right to fight it by requesting an informal hearing with your PHA.
Before the hearing, you may choose to represent yourself or use a representative. At the hearing, you will have the chance to state your case and explain why you disagree with the decision. Your PHA will then decide whether to approve you for vouchers or uphold its previous decision.