The Section 8 program in New Mexico helps low-income individuals to find affordable housing at a subsidized rate. This low income housing program operates at the local level through Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) across the state. However, PHAs receive funding through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which enables them to pay a portion of the rent for residents who are enrolled in the program.
The housing choice voucher program allows beneficiaries to select a house or apartment with a rent cost that is in line with local market rates. If the landlord accepts Section 8 housing vouchers, the tenant must contribute up to 30 percent of his or her monthly income toward the cost of rent. In turn, PHAs will cover the remaining portion.
In general, this allows Section 8 enrollees to remain housed even if they cannot afford local rental rates. However, space is limited due to the availability of funds, which means that the number of issued vouchers often fails to meet the demand for them.
Discover New Mexico Section 8 Requirements
Because the New Mexico program operates on the local level, Section 8 requirements and eligibility guidelines vary slightly throughout the state. However, low-income families, elderly people and residents with disabilities are generally prioritized to qualify for assistance.
PHAs have different Section 8 income limits in place based on local averages. For instance, the Albuquerque Housing Authority states that applicants cannot exceed 50 percent of the area’s median income.
The maximum income a family of three can have to qualify is $29,600. However, the Mesilla Valley Public Housing Authority has a maximum income limit between $23,900 and $38,250 (depending on the circumstances) for a family of three.
Overall, low-income residents must research the Section 8 qualifications in their area to determine if they qualify for rental assistance. PHAs may share this information online. Alternatively, individuals may be required to contact PHAs directly to determine their eligibility.
How to Apply for Section 8 Housing in New Mexico
The process for submitting a Section 8 application varies depending on the PHA. For example, certain agencies require applicants to fill out an online form and submit it through a website, such as the county of Bernalillo. Other places, like Albuquerque, require applicants to schedule an in-person appointment in order to review financial statements and other documentation.
First and foremost, low-income residents who wish to apply for Section 8 must verify whether their local PHAs are accepting applications. In most cases, PHAs only open the application period for a few weeks at a time.
Then, they generate a waitlist. In very few instances, applications may open for residents who find themselves in emergency situations. If a PHA is currently open for enrollment, the interested parties must determine what the application process looks like.
Most Section 8 housing applications ask residents to provide details regarding their sources of income, the number of people in their household, their criminal record and more. Moreover, applicants may be required to verify their rental history, provide tax statements and offer contact information for landlords or neighbors. Furthermore, residents are often required to verify the identity of all household members by providing each person’s Social Security Number (SSN) and date of birth.
Understanding Section 8 Waiting Lists in New Mexico
Most PHAs will place you on a Section 8 waiting list after receiving your application. In virtually all counties, the demand for HUD housing assistance exceeds supply and funding in a significant way. As a result, these waitlists can become extremely long. Despite the fact that application periods are typically short, they often generate waiting lists that take a year or longer to get through.
Various PHAs in New Mexico go through their waiting lists regularly. These PHAs also send mailers to applicants on the list in order to confirm that they are still interested in these services. Applicants who fail to reply may be removed from the list, allowing the PHA to cut down on the number of people waiting for a voucher.
Certain applicants may receive priority on a Section 8 waiting list due to their circumstances. For instance, according to federal guidelines, applicants that have lost their homes due to a fire or flood should receive priority. Additionally, residents may receive priority if they are involved in witness protection or have been involuntarily displaced from their homes.
After filing an application, you can request a Section 8 waiting list status update from your local PHA. In certain counties, you may receive regular mailers informing you of where you stand on the list and how long you can expect to wait for placement.
Because the Section 8 program is not time-restricted, beneficiaries who receive vouchers may retain them for years. As a result, the waiting list may move very slowly. It may take several months or even years for you to be issued a voucher, even if you qualify for this type of assistance.
Learn About New Mexico Section 8 Housing Lists
Once you receive a voucher from your PHA, you can use a Section 8 housing list to determine which landlords will accept the voucher. It is important to note that not all landlords accept Section 8 vouchers due to the increased inspection requirements pertaining to beneficiaries enrolled in the program.
In certain areas, it can be difficult to find low income apartments for rent that accept these types of vouchers. Moreover, there have been instances when residents who receive vouchers have had to give them up because they could not find a landlord who would accept them.
On the other hand, it is possible to find Section 8 listings online. Additionally, your local PHA may have its own list of Section 8-friendly landlords in the area. As such, you can always ask your PHA if it has any recommendations when you receive your voucher.
Finally, you have the option to reach out to landlords on an individual basis and ask them to consider accepting your voucher. Certain private landlords may not post on Section 8 housing lists, but may consider vouchers.