In New York, Section 8 operates at a state and local level. Local administrators run the program in different regions throughout the state, offering low income housing assistance to low-income families, elderly and residents with disabilities. The largest program is based in New York City and is administered by the Subsidy Services Bureau.
The housing choice voucher program helps families and other qualifying residents afford rent. To do so, Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) throughout the state issue vouchers to eligible applicants, which can be used to pay for housing. Overall, state residents with vouchers only have to spend between 30 and 40 percent of their income on rent, as the remaining portion is covered by PHAs. To learn more about Section 8 housing, read the sections below.
Discover New York Section 8 Requirements
The general Section 8 requirements vary depending on the guidelines and restrictions determined by your local PHA. Moreover, specific requirements depend on the average local income of your area, which means that income limits vary by location.
Furthermore, this program is generally designed for low-income families, families at risk of immediate displacement, elderly individuals and residents with disabilities. Therefore, these groups are typically prioritized by local PHAs.
Section 8 income limits can vary significantly depending on each region. For example, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) requires that a family of three have a combined income of no more than $76,850. However, the Arbor Housing and Development office, which services Chemung, Schuyler and Steuben counties, has a lower income limit. These income limits can vary significantly because the cost of living can change drastically in New York City in comparison to upstate areas.
Because specific Section 8 qualifications can vary by location, residents who qualify for housing assistance in one city may not qualify for assistance in another. Therefore, those interested in seeking rental assistance through Section 8 should reach out to their local administrators and determine if they are eligible to enroll in the program.
How to Apply for Section 8 Housing in New York
The process for submitting a Section 8 application varies depending on the guidelines established by your local authority. Certain regions will accept online submission forms, while others require you to schedule an in-person appointment and bring documentation with you to determine your eligibility.
As an example, the Arbor Housing and Development office requires you to complete a detailed form, submit proof of your current address and include a photocopy of the Social Security Card and birth certificate of every member of your household. In general, applications can be dropped off in person, mailed, faxed or emailed. Moreover, applicants must specify whether they are interested in living at a particular Section 8 complex or seeking a general county voucher.
On the other hand, the NYCHA requires you to fill out and submit a Section 8 application online through its self-service portal. In order to apply for Section 8, you must create an account on the portal. Then, you will be able to submit your application, check scheduled interview dates, upload necessary documents and update your application as needed. This Section 8 online system makes it easier to keep your information up to date and receive updates about your application status immediately.
Not all housing authorities accept applications around the year. In many cases, Section 8 applications are only accepted for a few weeks at a time. Oftentimes, demand significantly exceeds supply. Once the application period closes, residents cannot apply for coverage. Instead, existing applicants are sorted onto a waiting list.
Understanding Section 8 Waiting Lists in New York
After you submit your application for low income housing assistance, you are placed on a waiting list. More often than not, Section 8 waiting lists exceed the number of available vouchers. For instance, a local authority may have 2,000 vouchers available but receive 6,000 or more applications for those limited spots. Because vouchers are in such limited supply, authorities must determine how to sort through the list.
A Section 8 waiting list may not necessarily operate on a first-come, first-serve basis. In most cases, housing authorities will prioritize families at immediate risk of displacement, veterans and other vulnerable groups. These priorities are set in order to ensure that residents do not become homeless while waiting for a voucher.
Many Section 8 housing authorities regularly go through their waiting lists to ensure that information is up to date, or that applicants are still interested in coverage. Alternatively, residents who do not respond to applications may be removed from the list.
If you fail to update your information regularly, you may not receive the required correspondence to confirm that you are still interested. Therefore, it is important to regularly update your information and check your Section 8 waiting list status.
Learn About New York Section 8 Housing Lists
Once you receive a Section 8 voucher, you must find a landlord willing to accept it. This can be difficult in many areas, as many landlords are reluctant to accept these vouchers. For instance, landlords may reject Section 8 recipients because they do not want to deal with the additional inspections required by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), or because they distrust tenants that rely on the program. As a result, individuals with vouchers may have to search for a long time to find housing options.
On the other hand, you can find Section 8 housing lists that make searching easier. Overall, these housing lists contain a directory of landlords or apartments that are willing to accept vouchers. In certain cases, the lists may be outdated or contain properties that are no longer on the market or accepting vouchers. However, they can serve as a helpful starting point for your search.
Additionally, your local housing authority may be able to recommend landlords that accept Section 8 vouchers. Thus, you can reach out to your agent and inquire about potential leads. Finally, you can approach private landlords on an individual basis about accepting vouchers. Certain landlords may make exceptions to their policies or consider you based on a positive one-on-one interview.