Residents who need access to low income housing in Oregon may be eligible for assistance through the Section 8 program. The Section 8 housing choice voucher program allows low-income families, people with disabilities and the elderly to receive rent assistance, helping them remain in the private rental market even if they have been priced out.
Overall, the Section 8 program issues vouchers to families and individuals, which in turn must only pay for 30 to 40 percent of their monthly household income on rent. As such, the remaining portion of the rent cost is paid for by a local Public Housing Agency (PHA).
Funding for Section 8 comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). On a local level, PHAs are granted funds for a certain number of vouchers at a given time. Because this program’s beneficiaries are allowed to keep receiving these vouchers as long as they remain eligible, it can take a long time for PHAs to qualify new applicants. It is important to understand the eligibility requirements and rules in place to remain on the waiting list.
Discover Oregon Section 8 Requirements
Section 8 requirements vary depending on your location. In general, you may qualify for these benefits if you are part of a “very low-income” household, have a disability or are considered a senior. However, the dollar amount that classifies a household as “very low-income” can change from one area to the next.
According to the federal government, “very low-income” means 50 percent or less of the median household income for an area. Therefore, the Section 8 income limits for an area change depending on its average salary and cost of living.
As an example, the income limit for a family of three to qualify for HUD housing is $28,750 in Deschutes County. Alternatively, in Jefferson and Crook counties, that limit is $24,000. Moreover, the Salem Housing Authority sets the income limit for a family of three at $31,250. In general, areas with higher average costs of living and salaries will have a higher income limit than areas with lower costs of living and salaries.
Additionally, Section 8 qualifications include passing a criminal background check. Residents who owe money to a housing authority, have been evicted from the Section 8 program in the past or have been convicted of drug-related or violent crimes will not qualify for benefits. Registered sex offenders are also permanently banned from the program.
How to Apply for Section 8 Housing in Oregon
The process to submit a Section 8 application changes depending on the policies established by your local PHA. While certain PHAs have set up websites where you can submit your application entirely online, others may require you to mail in your application, bring it in person or complete an interview to apply. Therefore, you should confirm the actual application procedure that is in place for your area.
Regardless of the method in question, you must provide the same information in order to apply for Section 8. For example, you must generally provide information regarding the Social Security Numbers (SSNs) of every member of your household, as well as all the sources of income for the household.
Additionally, you are required to list which assets and savings every member of the household has. Moreover, you are required to list your previous rental history and consent to a background search for any adult in the household.
It is important to keep in mind that you are not always able to apply for Section 8 housing. Most PHAs restrict the application period to a few weeks at a time. For example, the Central Oregon Regional Housing Authority only accepts applications during the first week of January each year.
Others, like the Mid-Columbia Housing Authority, accept applications all year long. As a result, the Mid-Columbia Housing Authority may have a longer waiting list. In any case, it is helpful to stay informed regarding your local PHA to determine when you can submit a Section 8 application form.
Understanding Section 8 Waiting Lists in Oregon
If you submit your application and your PHA determines that you are eligible, you are placed on the Section 8 waiting list for your area. You may spend several months to several years on the waitlist, depending on your circumstances. That is generally because beneficiaries who receive these vouchers do not have to give them up until they become ineligible. As a result, vouchers may become available only occasionally.
During your time on the Section 8 waiting list, you must update your information every time there is a change to your income, household makeup or address. Failing to update your information could result in your removal from the waiting list. Moreover, you may receive mail notification that you have become eligible for a voucher, meaning that your address on record must be correct.
If your address is out of date and the notification is sent to the wrong address, you will not be able to claim the voucher. Additionally, PHAs purge their waiting lists on a regular basis. If you do not respond to a notice that asks whether you want to remain on the waitlist, you may be removed.
In certain cases, you can check your Section 8 waiting list status with the PHA directly. However, some PHAs do not offer this service or cannot predict when you will receive a voucher.
Learn About Oregon Section 8 Housing Lists
Once you receive your Section 8 housing voucher, you can begin searching for a property that will accept the voucher. In Oregon, landlords cannot reject you simply for having a Section 8 voucher, as this legal source of income is a protected class.
On the other hand, landlords can conduct a private screening to determine independently if they want to rent to you. In some cases, it can be difficult to prove that a landlord is discriminating against you based on your source of income.
You can simplify your search by browsing Section 8 housing lists for a unit. These housing lists include all units in an area that are already deemed Section 8-friendly. This includes landlords who have previously rented to tenants in the housing choice voucher program, or landlords who are specifically seeking out tenants with vouchers.