The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, which is also known as Section 8, is a government-funded program that assists families to afford rent. In general, this program provides subsidies for eligible low-income residents, including seniors and people with disabilities, to afford the rental of decent and safe homes.
This low income housing program is administered by Public Housing Agencies (PHA) at the local level and by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) at the federal level. Therefore, different parts of Maryland may have their own application guidelines, depending on the PHA. Continue reading below to learn more about this HUD housing program and how you may be eligible for it.
Discover Maryland Section 8 Requirements
Generally, families or individuals with an annual gross income of 50 percent or less of the average area will meet the Maryland Section 8 requirements for eligibility. However, the actual median income of an area varies depending on the neighborhood. Thus, it is important to check with your local PHA to see if you meet the income limit. Additionally, be mindful that PHAs are required to provide 75 percent of their vouchers to tenants whose income is 30 percent below the area median income.
The other two main Section 8 eligibility factors that applicants must meet include the U.S. citizenship/residency criteria and the background check requirement. For citizenship eligibility, one of the family members must be a United States citizen or legal resident. One of the Section 8 qualifications in MD is that residents must also live in the area served by the PHA where they are filing an application.
Furthermore, applicants must pass the background check in order to qualify for this type of HUD housing assistance. Landlords and PHAs will observe whether you have had any previous evictions or any criminal record. If you or a family member has committed a crime on a Section 8 property, then it is less likely that a landlord will allow you to rent. Landlords will also run credit checks.
How to Apply for Section 8 Housing in Maryland
Before filing your Section 8 application in Maryland, you must first confirm that you are eligible for subsidized this housing program. First, you must locate your local PHA in Maryland. The HUD has a list of PHAs organized by state and city on its website, so you can find a list containing all of these agencies there. Then, you must confirm whether the local PHA in MD has any restrictions or preferences. Once you find out that you fall within all the eligibility requirements, you may begin applying.
There are three ways you can apply for Section 8: over the phone, via mail, in person or online. When you apply over the phone, a representative can assist you with the application process. You can also mail a physical application form to your local PHA. Generally, the fastest way to complete an application is online. Moreover, filing a Section 8 application online is the best way to submit all of the required documents and even check your status.
When you apply for Section 8 in MD, the application will prompt you for pertinent information on you and your household. This information can include gathering your personal information, learning about your background and inquiring about your credit history. Some other important information to include on your application include:
- The composition of your household
- The income of every adult member of the household
- Citizenship or immigration status of every adult member of the household
- Employment history
- Criminal history
You must provide acceptable documentation regarding each of these factors to prove to your PHA that you qualify for Section 8. To prove your citizenship, you may present your voter’s registration, birth certificate or a permanent residency card. To prove your income, you may show tax returns or paystubs as evidence.
Understanding Section 8 Waiting Lists in Maryland
Once the PHA notifies that you have been approved, you will most likely be placed on a Section 8 waiting list. Local PHAs typically receive several applications at a time and the demand often exceed the supply.
For that reason, you may remain on a Section 8 waiting list in Maryland for a long period of time. Some PHAs will even close their waitlists due to high demand. If possible, you may try to apply to several waiting lists so that you may increase your chances of receiving housing assistance.
Checking your Section 8 waiting list status frequently is important. Waitlists at PHAs shift every week, so you may have moved up the list. However, be mindful that certain PHAs have preferences over certain groups, which will receive priority over those who do not meet those preferences.
Some of the groups that PHAs often prioritize for Section 8 include residents who are homeless, involuntarily displaced, elderly or who have a disability.
Learn About Maryland Section 8 Housing Lists
The MD Section 8 housing list has a collection of rental properties within your area that have been deemed safe and sanitary housing by the HCV program. A PHA representative has visited the rental property and inspected it to evaluate whether the home meets HCV standards. When the rental property meets the HCV standards, it means that the landlord of that property is also approved by the Maryland Section 8 program.