If you are struggling to keep up with rent, then you may qualify for Section 8 in Mississippi. Formally known as the Housing Choice Voucher Program, the federally-funded program provides rental assistance to low to moderate income families so that they can find and maintain low income housing.
While the program is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Mississippi Regional Housing Authority IV (MRHA IV) administers the subsidies in the form of vouchers.
If accepted into the Section 8 housing program, participants will have to pay up to 40 percent of their income towards rent and utilities. The remaining portion gets taken care of by the voucher and is paid directly the landlord by the participant’s local Public Housing Authority (PHA).
In order to receive rental assistance, you must first qualify for the HUD housing program. Learn everything you need to know about eligibility requirements, the application process and waiting lists below.
Discover Mississippi Section 8 Requirements
Before you can receive a voucher, you will need to make sure you meet Section 8 requirements. To apply to the program, you must be 21 years of age or older or be 18 years of age and married. Additionally, your annual income must be below the limits set by HUD.
If your income is below 30 percent of the median income in your area, then you will qualify for assistance. Depending on the availability of funds and amount of applicants, you may be eligible for Section 8 housing if your income is 50 percent below the median income in your area.
Furthermore, your household must constitute as a family to meet Section 8 qualifications. HUD defines a family as a single person or group of persons who reside in the same dwelling unit.
In order to meet Section 8 requirements, you will need to provide the appropriate documentation to prove your U.S. citizenship status. While you do not have to be a citizen to receive housing assistance, you do need to have a legal immigrant status.
Once you are deemed eligible for the program, you will need to find a rental unit that meets Section 8 housing requirements. Your family will be certified as eligible for twelve months until your anniversary date. You must have your eligibility revaluated before this date to prevent payments from stopping.
As long as you and your rental unit are able to maintain eligibility, you will continue to receive assistance through the Section 8 program.
How to Apply for Section 8 Housing in Mississippi
To apply for a housing voucher, you must complete a Section 8 application through the MRHA IV or your local PHA. In Mississippi, there are 56 housing authorities that assist with Section 8 housing.
Depending on the PHA, the application process may vary. Certain housing authorities, such as the one located in Biloxi, accepts pre-applications online. Others allow you to print out an application, fill it out and submit it in person. Contact your local PHA to find out where you can find and submit a Section 8 housing application.
You can also download a pre-application from the MRHA IV website and mail it to the address on the application to apply for Section 8. However, this method can only be done if you live in certain counties, such as Clay, Montgomery and Winston.
Regardless of how you apply for Section 8 housing, you will need to have important information and documentation on hand to complete the application. This includes the following for all members of your household:
- Social Security number (SSN)
- Date of birth
It is important to know that submitting a pre-application will not guarantee placement on the waiting list. Additionally, this does not mean that the application process is complete. Once you are pulled from the waiting list and contacted by your local PHA, you will need to further verify your Section 8 eligibility.
You will be notified by mail to come to your local PHA and complete a formal application. After you provide important documentation concerning your family composition and income, you will be notified by mail if you are accepted into the program.
Understanding Section 8 Waiting Lists in Mississippi
After you initially apply for Section 8, you will be placed on a waiting list according to the date your application is received. Each county has its own Section 8 waiting list. Because waiting lists are long, it can take up to four years to receive assistance. Therefore, it is best to apply to as many PHAs as possible to get your name on multiple waiting lists.
If you are claiming a “Local Preference”, then you will receive priority over other households on the waiting list. For example, if you were displaced as a result of a natural disaster. Additionally, other factors can affect your number on the Section 8 waiting list. Typically, preference is given to those with extremely low income.
You can check your Section 8 waiting list status online or by contacting your local PHA. It is your responsibility to maintain your status on the list by:
- Responding to all notifications you receive from Section 8 housing.
- Keeping your contact information on the waiting list up to date.
Learn About Mississippi Section 8 Housing Lists
Once you receive your Section 8 housing, you will need to find low income apartments for rent that accept your voucher. This can be a challenge, considering the limited housing options available. Not every landlord accepts Housing Choice vouchers. Similarly, not all rental units meet Housing Quality Standards.
Fortunately, most PHAs have a Section 8 housing list with units that participate in the program. Inquire about this list to help you narrow down your search. You will most likely be allotted a period, usually 60 days, to search for a unit. If you cannot find a HUD-approved unit within this time frame, then you will have to forfeit your voucher to someone else on the waiting list.