The Section 8 housing program in North Carolina helps low income families, elderly people and residents with disabilities find affordable housing in the private market. By providing a housing subsidy, the program helps its beneficiaries make their monthly rent payments at local market rates.
Residents who are part of the Section 8 program pay up to 30 percent of their monthly income on a rental property that is priced at a local market rate. The Section 8 program pays for the remaining portion of the monthly rent. This way, landlords are guaranteed to receive their full payment without having to evict low-income tenants.
The North Carolina Section 8 program is administered on a federal level by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Overall, HUD housing is funded by the U.S. government and operated at the state and local level. As such, state residents must apply with their local Public Housing Agencies (PHAs). Since these benefits are managed on a local level, eligibility requirements, application methods and other regulations may vary by location.
Discover North Carolina Section 8 Requirements
In general, Section 8 requirements in North Carolina specify that applicants must be elderly, members of low-income families or have a disability in order to qualify. Additionally, Section 8 qualifications include being a U.S. citizen or legal resident. Undocumented immigrants cannot apply for coverage, as part of the application process includes providing a valid Social Security Number (SSN).
More often than not, Section 8 income limits vary by location. Federal guidelines specify that the program should be for residents and families that earn no more than 50 percent of the median income for a county or region. Thus, income limits will typically be higher for residents living in places with higher costs of living and average salaries.
As an example, the income limit for a family of three in Asheville is $27,600. In Charlotte, a family of three must earn no more than $30,250 a year in order to qualify. Furthermore, in Raleigh, which is one of the most expensive regions of North Carolina, the income limit for a three-person family is $41,750.
If you are interested in applying for low income housing, you should confirm whether or not you meet the eligibility requirements in your area. Based on your income, you may qualify for coverage in one city, but not another. Additionally, your local PHA may prioritize particular applicants, such as those at risk of immediate displacement, over others.
How to Apply for Section 8 Housing in North Carolina
The Section 8 application process typically varies depending on your location. Certain PHAs require you to schedule an in-person appointment and provide certain necessary documents in order to submit an application. Other PHAs require you to email, mail or fax your application package. Alternatively, a few PHAs have online portals that allow you to submit your Section 8 housing application and documents online.
For example, the Raleigh PHA requires you to submit a paper application by mail or in person. Alternatively, the PHA in Asheville requires you to fill out an application in person during office hours on Monday through Thursday. Moreover, the Albemarle Department of Public Housing only accepts paper applications the first Monday of each month, prioritizing applicants who live and work in the Stanly County area.
If you want to apply for Section 8 in North Carolina, make sure to look up the available application methods in your area. Very few areas have an online submission process, which means that you can expect to fill out a paper application in person to receive benefits in most counties.
It is important to note that you are not always allowed to submit a Section 8 housing application, even if you are deemed eligible for coverage. Often, the demand for Section 8 benefits far exceeds the supply of available vouchers, forcing most PHAs to limit their application period. In many locations, applications may not be accepted for multiple months or years at a time.
Understanding Section 8 Waiting Lists in North Carolina
If you submit an application and qualify for benefits, your name is placed on a Section 8 waiting list. That is because, in most areas, the demand for Section 8 coverage far exceeds the number of vouchers available.
In addition, it is important to note that there is no time limit for how long applicants can remain in the Section 8 program once they start receiving vouchers. Therefore, you may spend a long time on a waitlist before you receive a voucher. In certain cases, there may be hundreds of people ahead of you in line.
Once you are on the Section 8 waiting list, you must update your information on a regular basis. If your income, address or household makeup changes, you are required to inform your local PHA. Moreover, if you fail to update your address, you may miss important notices.
As an example, the Belmont Housing Authority sends notice in the mail to applicants on the list confirming whether they are still interested in the program. Anyone who fails to respond to the notice is purged from the list. If you do not update your address, you will not receive the notice at your current location and may lose your spot.
You can generally contact your local PHA in order to request a Section 8 waiting list status update. This may help you anticipate when you will receive a voucher.
Learn About North Carolina Section 8 Housing Lists
Once you receive a Section 8 voucher, you must find a landlord who is willing to accept it. In some areas, this can prove to be a major challenge. By law, landlords are allowed to refuse rental to Section 8 applicants.
Luckily, many areas have Section 8 housing lists that are available for applicants to find acceptable properties. In general, these housing lists include properties that accept Section 8 vouchers in a given area. Thus, landlords can sign up to include their properties on the listings, while voucher holders can browse the list to find acceptable properties.
Generally, these housing lists can be found online on the official PHA portals. In many cases, you may also be able to visit your local PHA in person and receive a list of Section 8 listings and landlords that are available for contact.
On the other hand, be mindful that you are not restricted to the approved Section 8 housing list. With a voucher, you can reach out to independent, private landlords and ask them to consider your application. You are more likely to receive approval if you can provide previous landlord references and reassure the landlord that you will care for the property.