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Learn How to Apply for Section 8 Housing in New Jersey

A New Jersey Section 8 application can be submitted through any local public housing agency (PHA) of in the state. This program, which is also known as the Housing Choice Voucher Program, is federally funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). However, state PHAs are responsible for running the program at the local level. As such, make sure to undergo this HUD application process through a community housing authority.

Before you apply for Section 8 in NJ, it is helpful to understand how the process works. Once you learn how state PHAs select eligible applicants, you can improve your chances of receiving a voucher from this program. Read below to learn more about filling out a Section 8 housing application in New Jersey and discover which factors might affect your ability to get approved.

When can I submit a Section 8 application in New Jersey?

You can only apply for Section 8 housing in NJ once a local PHA in the state begins actively accepting new applicants. Unfortunately, the demand for this program can be extremely high in certain areas. As a general rule, many PHAs stop accepting applicants altogether whenever there are too many people requesting rental assistance at the same time.

If you apply for low income housing in a less populous area, your chances of getting approved for a voucher may increase. In any case, be mindful that certain areas have such long waiting lists that the PHAs may stop accepting applications for months or years at a time.

In the event that you are unable to submit a housing authority application through your preferred PHA, remember that you can apply through a different agency. With that said, PHAs typically give priority to local applicants. Essentially, this means that your chances of getting approved are often higher if you sign up for Section 8 in an area where you currently live or work.

What documents do I need to apply for Section 8 in New Jersey?

When you submit a Section 8 application form, you will need to include various documents to verify your eligibility. The exact documents you need with a low income housing application will vary depending on your situation as well as the local PHA’s requirements.

You will usually need to verify details such as your identity, Social Security Number (SSN), income, date of birth and other things. Documents that may satisfy these requirements include:

  • Social Security card
  • Birth certificate
  • Tax returns
  • Pay stubs
  • Bank statements
  • Employment records
  • Benefit award letters
  • Photo identification

If you have any special circumstances, you may need to provide additional documentation. The exact paperwork you need may vary depending on where you apply. In any case, your documents should be original or certified copies whenever possible. Learn more about the paperwork you may need by downloading our detailed guide here.

Tips for Completing the New Jersey Section 8 Housing Application

Before you apply for low income housing in New Jersey, it helps to learn about local preferences and waiting lists. Both of these things can affect your application.

First, a local preference is something that a PHA may use to determine which applicants to help first. You might qualify for a local preference when you submit your Section 8 application if you are:

  • A senior citizen.
  • A veteran.
  • Currently living or working in the PHA’s service area.
  • Involuntarily displaced from home.
  • A homeless individual.
  • Extremely low-income.

Local preferences might affect how soon your Section 8 housing application is processed as well as your overall chances of being approved. Applicants with the greatest need are usually helped first.

Second, a PHA may utilize a waiting list when there are more applicants than there are vouchers available. Housing authorities will open or close their waiting lists when necessary. PHAs usually make a public announcement in newspapers, on radio stations and on their websites when the waiting list opens up.

In most cases, you can submit a HUD housing application anytime the waiting list is open. It does not generally matter when you apply as long as you submit your form before the waitlist closes.

Because the demand for housing is so high in some areas, PHAs may utilize a random lottery-style drawing to determine which applicants can be put on the waiting list in the first place. Unfortunately, this means that some applicants may not even make it onto the waiting list.

Understanding the New Jersey Section 8 Application Process

You can usually submit a New Jersey Section 8 application online, in person or by mail. Not all PHAs offer the same application methods. Some will require you to use just one method rather than offering multiple ways to apply.

How to Apply for Section 8 Online in New Jersey

Many PHAs with websites will require that you apply online rather than using an alternative method. You can only apply when the waiting list is open.

You should always be able to fill out Section 8 application online free of charge due to the fact that PHAs do not make you pay an application fee. If you use a website that requires paying a fee to apply, it may be a scam and should be reported.

How to Submit the New Jersey Section 8 Housing Application in Person

Some PHAs allow you to apply for help in person when the waiting list is open. If so, you can simply visit the housing authority office during business hours to fill out your form.

PHAs will not accept applications for this program when the waiting list is full. However, you may still visit the office to learn about other housing opportunities.

How to Apply for Section 8 Housing by Mail

If your PHA has a website, it may provide an application that you can print and mail in. Paper forms may also be available by calling the PHA or visiting the office to pick up a copy. If a housing authority advertises a waitlist opening in the local newspaper, the advertisement may include an application that you can fill out as well.

What happens after I apply for Section 8 in New Jersey?

After you sign up for Section 8 in NJ, you may face one of several outcomes. First, your application might be denied if you do not pass the initial eligibility screening. If so, you should receive instructions for appealing the decision.

Second, your Section 8 housing application may be processed right away and result in you getting immediate assistance. In such cases, you will receive information on the next steps to take, such as finding an approved unit to rent and signing a lease.

Third, you might be placed on a waiting list as described above. This is the most likely outcome in many areas. Remember that you may be on a waiting list for any length of time, and there is no guarantee that you will be successful in receiving a voucher once you are on the list.

Different ways you can apply

Some PHAs only let you apply for a housing voucher in person. If you want to apply in person, you have to have the right form. You might be able to find the right form at the PHA office, or on the PHA’s website so you can print it. After you have all your documents and fill out your application, you turn in the documents and application form at the PHA office.

You might only be allowed to apply for Section 8 online through your PHA’s online portal. If you can only apply online, you need to make an account on the portal and fill out the online application form.

You might need to upload your supporting documents here, too. After you finish, you can usually come back to the portal to make changes and see your application status.

Some PHAs will let you turn in your application by mail, especially if you are currently living in another city or state. To apply by mail, you have to ask the PHA for an application, or get one on the website if you can.

After you finish your application, you have to mail the form and supporting documents to the address the PHA tells you. Make sure the envelope has the right address to make sure the PHA gets your application.