You can apply for Section 8 in Minnesota through any public housing agency (PHA). The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds the Housing Choice Voucher Program. However, PHAs are in charge of taking applications and distributing rental assistance vouchers at the local level. There is a different Section 8 application for each PHA due to the fact that these organizations are administered independently.
While PHAs can have their own Section 8 housing application materials, the process of signing up for assistance is similar everywhere. Read below to learn more about the HUD application process and discover when and how to request rental assistance through this program.
When can I submit a Section 8 application in Minnesota?
You can only apply for Section 8 housing when a PHA is actively accepting new petitioners. Sometimes, a housing authority takes new applicants year-round. However, it is more common for PHAs to periodically stop taking applications when there are already too many people waiting to receive assistance.
If a housing authority closes its application period, you must wait until the organization begins taking new petitioners again before you can sign up. PHAs will announce when you can apply for low income housing again by placing notifications in local newspapers or posting other types of advertisements. Be sure to look for these notices so that you do not miss your opportunity to sign up.
The length of time you need to wait can vary greatly depending on the demand for housing and the number of vouchers the PHA has available. In some cases, housing authorities will close their waiting list for only a few weeks or months. Other times, PHAs stop taking applications for years at a time.
If you cannot sign up for Section 8 with your preferred PHA, remember that you can apply through any organization of your choosing. Housing authorities will take applications from any eligible household.
In any case, you do not necessarily have to be a resident of the local area to be considered. However, most PHAs have policies that require them to assist local families first.
What documents do I need to apply for Section 8 in Minnesota?
When you submit a Section 8 application form in MN, you will need to provide documents that verify your eligibility. Depending on your PHA’s policies, you may need to submit documents with your initial application before you can be added to a waiting list. Other times, a housing authority will only request your eligibility documents when your name is selected for a voucher.
In any case, you need to verify details such as your identity, legal presence in the U.S., income, Social Security Number (SSN) and other eligibility factors. To satisfy these requirements, your housing authority application may need to include any of the following:
- Photo ID card
- Birth certificate
- Tax returns
- Pay stubs or benefit award letters
- Bank statements
- Social Security card
- Immigration or citizenship paperwork
As you gather your documents, keep in mind that you will need to verify the eligibility of each person in your household. Furthermore, your HUD housing application should include original documents or certified copies whenever possible. Learn more about the items you need to provide with your application by reading our Section 8 guide here.
Tips for Completing the Minnesota Section 8 Housing Application
When you apply for low income housing in Minnesota, there are several important to keep in mind. First, your application must be completely filled out in order for the PHA to accept it.
In many cases, a housing authority will reject a Section 8 application form if there are any empty fields. Instead of leaving information blank, most PHAs request that you write “N/A” in any fields that do not apply to your family.
Second, you should only submit one low income housing application per PHA. Sending in more than one application to the same housing authority will usually result in your form being rejected. However, you can apply to more than one PHA at a time, provided that you only submit one application form per organization.
Third, it helps to understand how PHAs select applicants for a voucher. Because many people apply for low income housing, some PHAs need to use certain criteria in order to select applicants who have the greatest need for assistance.
To do this, most organizations use local preferences to determine which applicants can receive help first. You may qualify for a local preference if you:
- Are a veteran.
- Are a senior.
- Have a disability.
- Are a local resident.
- Have been displaced from home.
- Are a victim of domestic violence.
Not all PHAs use local preferences when distributing vouchers. In some cases, applications are processed on a first-come, first-served basis instead.
Understanding the Minnesota Section 8 Application Process
You can usually submit a Section 8 application online, in person or through the mail. However, remember that the application process varies from one PHA to the next.
How to Apply for Section 8 Online in Minnesota
You can fill out Section 8 application online free of charge if your PHA has a website with an application portal. However, not all housing authorities provide this option.
During this process, you may or may not need to create an account in order to sign up for assistance online. After your form is submitted, it is important to save any confirmation number you may receive, as you may need this information in the future.
How to Submit the Minnesota Section 8 Housing Application in Person
Most PHAs allow you to apply for assistance in person. Before showing up at your housing authority’s office, be sure to check for any office policies. Some PHAs may require that you schedule an appointment or follow special procedures.
How to Apply for Section 8 Housing by Mail
To sign up for Section 8 by mail, you may contact your PHA to receive a copy of the correct form. Most housing authorities will send you a paper form, which can be filled out and returned to the office by mail or fax.
What happens after I apply for Section 8 in Minnesota?
Once your MN Section 8 application is processed, you will more than likely be placed onto a waiting list unless the PHA is able to give you a voucher right away. While on the waiting list, be sure to keep your contact information up to date.
After your name is selected from the list, you may need to pass another eligibility screening before receiving a voucher. You may then use your voucher to rent an acceptable home or apartment on the open market.