Learn How to Apply for Section 8 Housing in Maryland
A Maryland Section 8 application may be submitted to any public housing agency (PHA) in the state. Some areas are covered by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), while other places are overseen by independent PHAs. In any case, each housing authority receives federal funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Each PHA’s Section 8 housing application process will generally require the same information. However, depending on where you apply for Section 8, the steps and procedures may vary. Read below to learn everything you need to know before you sign up for Section 8 in MD and discover what happens after you apply.
When can I submit a Section 8 application in Maryland?
Before you submit a HUD application in Maryland, it helps to understand that most PHAs only accept new applicants during certain times. This is because the demand for housing usually outweighs the number of vouchers available. Whenever a PHA becomes unable to provide rental assistance to every applicant right away, it is common for the organization to use waiting lists.
Waiting lists may open or close at any time. Generally, you cannot apply for Section 8 housing whenever a PHA has its waitlist closed. However, these agencies will make an announcement online, in newspapers or through radio advertisements whenever their waiting lists reopen.
It is important to be aware that waiting lists generally do not stay open for a long period of time before they fill up again. When your preferred PHA opens its low income housing application portal, you usually need to sign up for assistance before a certain deadline.
In rare cases, a PHA may allow you to apply for low income housing at any time of the year. However, this is typically only the case whenever an agency has vouchers available due to a lower demand for housing assistance in the area. Learn more about when and how you can apply for Section 8 by reading our comprehensive guide here.
What documents do I need to apply for Section 8 in Maryland?
When you submit a Maryland Section 8 application form, you will need to prove your eligibility by verifying your identity, date of birth, legal presence in the U.S. and income. Several documents can be used to satisfy these requirements, such as:
- Birth certificate
- Citizenship or immigration documents
- Social Security card
- Tax returns
- Bank statement or other proof of assets
- Pay stubs or employment records
- Benefit award letters from other government programs
The exact documents you need will vary depending on your situation. However, you should always try to provide original or certified copies of your paperwork when possible, as this helps the PHA verify your eligibility better.
Your initial Section 8 application may or may not need to include these documents. In some cases, PHAs will only need to see your paperwork when you are selected to receive a voucher. Other times, housing authorities will want to fully verify your eligibility before adding you to a waiting list.
Tips for Completing the Maryland Section 8 Housing Application
When you fill out a housing authority application, there are a few factors to consider. First, PHAs will usually only accept one HUD housing application per household.
You can apply for help through more than one housing agency at a time. Just be careful not to submit multiple forms to the same PHA, as the organization may reject all of your forms and restrict your ability to apply again in the future.
Second, keep in mind that your Section 8 application will more than likely result in you being placed onto a waiting list, unless the PHA is able to help you right away. In the event you are put onto a waiting list, it helps to understand how housing authorities select applicants for a voucher.
In most cases, PHAs use local preferences to decide which applicants to help first. As an example, local preference may be given to petitioners who:
- Have a disability.
- Meet age requirements.
- Are veterans.
- Are homeless or living in substandard housing.
- Live or work in the PHA’s jurisdiction.
- Have children.
- Meet other local requirements.
Generally speaking, the point of using these preferences is to identify which applicants are in the greatest need of rental assistance. However, there is no guarantee that you will receive a voucher, even if you meet all of the eligibility requirements.
Local preferences can affect you in different ways. Depending on how a PHA processes its Section 8 application materials, a local preference may get you placed closer to the top of the waiting list. Other times, you may need to qualify for a local preference in order to get placed on the waiting list at all.
Understanding the Maryland Section 8 Application Process
In most cases, you can submit a Section 8 application online, in person or through the mail. However, each PHA will have its own methods and policies for applying.
How to Apply for Section 8 Online in Maryland
If your housing agency has a website, you may be able to sign up for assistance online. Generally, applying online requires that you create an account in order to access the application process.
Once your form is complete, you may receive a confirmation number. If so, be sure to save this number, as you may need it in the future to check on the status of your application.
How to Submit the Maryland Section 8 Housing Application in Person
If you wish to apply for rent help in person, locate the office of your local PHA. Note that office hours and policies may vary. For example, certain CTAs will require that you have an appointment before showing up.
How to Apply for Section 8 Housing by Mail
As a general rule, you may be able to apply for rental assistance through the mail. If your PHA has paper applications, you may contact the agency to have a copy sent to you. Then, simply complete the physical form and return it to the correct address.
What happens after I apply for Section 8 in Maryland?
After you fill out a Section 8 application in Maryland, you will need to wait until a voucher is available. If you are placed onto a waiting list, be sure to keep your contact information up-to-date.
Once a PHA is able to assist you, it is common to undergo a full eligibility review. If you pass, you will be granted a voucher and you may begin searching for a suitable place to rent.