If you struggle to afford your monthly rental payments in Rhode Island, you may benefit from applying to the Section 8 program. Overall, this housing program is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and designed to help low-income individuals remain in the housing market. Families and individuals who receive these vouchers are only required to pay between 30 and 40 percent of their monthly income on rent. The remaining portion is covered by the HUD.
Across the country, this low income housing program is administered on a local level by Public Housing Agencies (PHAs). In Rhode Island, there are numerous PHAs throughout the state. To learn more about how to qualify and apply for this HUD housing program, read the sections below.
Discover Rhode Island Section 8 Requirements
General Section 8 requirements specify that applicants should be part of a low-income household, be classified as seniors or have a disability in order to qualify. The HUD’s definition of “very low-income” consists of residents who earn 50 percent or less of the median income for an area.
However, be mindful that the income limit is likely to be higher in places with higher costs of living. As an example, the income limit for a family of three is $36,900 in the Providence area. However, it is $43,100 in the Newport-Middletown-Portsmouth region of Rhode Island.
In addition to these Section 8 income limits, you may have to meet other requirements. For instance, Section 8 qualifications specify that you must not have a drug conviction on your record. Additionally, violent convictions may disqualify you. Other reasons that may disqualify you include previously being evicted from Section 8, lying or omitting information on your application or having an outstanding debt with a PHA.
How to Apply for Section 8 Housing in Rhode Island
The process of filing a Section 8 application varies depending on the guidelines established by your local PHA. While certain PHAs may ask you to schedule an in-person appointment, others may require you to mail your application. Furthermore, most PHAs in Rhode Island allow you to submit an application entirely online.
Since 2017, Rhode Island housing authorities stopped hosting their own waiting lists and began hosting their Section 8 applications online through a centralized, state-wide waitlist portal. As a result, residents can apply for Section 8 online in virtually any area in the state.
In most states, PHAs only accept applications for a few weeks at a time. However, the centralized waitlist portal in Rhode Island is always open. Thus, RI residents can always submit a Section 8 application at any time of the year.
When you apply for Section 8, you must fill out the application form thoroughly with accurate information. Generally, you must provide the Social Security Number (SSN) and birth certificate for each member of your household. Moreover, you must report all sources of income for all household members, as well as any savings or assets that they may have. Otherwise, omitting information about your income and assets can result in your disqualification.
Because your Section 8 application is submitted online, you can always log in to check your status, upload documents or modify information as needed. Generally, you must keep your section 8 application form up to date to ensure that you are not purged from the waiting list.
Understanding Section 8 Waiting Lists in Rhode Island
After you submit your application to your local PHA, you are placed on the Section 8 waiting list. However, the length of time that you have to wait on the waitlist depends on your circumstances.
As a general rule, PHAs prioritize certain applicants, such as veterans, homeless individuals or the elderly. As a result, you may have to wait longer than others who apply at the same time as you.
If you are selected from the waitlist to start receiving Section 8 vouchers, you will have to verify that all your information is still up to date. If your income has changed and you are no longer eligible for Section 8, you will be disqualified.
Furthermore, you are required to keep your mailing address up to date with your local PHA. If you fail to update your address when you move, you may not receive many important notices regarding your Section 8 waiting list status. In some cases, you could be removed from the waitlist altogether for failing to respond to a document.
Learn About Rhode Island Section 8 Housing Lists
When you start receiving your Section 8 vouchers, you must find a landlord who is willing to rent a unit at market rate and accept these payments from the HUD. This can be difficult, as many landlords may reject vouchers or refuse Section 8 tenants.
Certain landlords are prejudiced against families on the program, while others do not want to deal with additional inspections required by the HUD. As a result, it can take a long time to find adequate housing.
In order to ease the search process, you can access Section 8 housing lists in your area. These listings contain many units available for rent from landlords that are willing to work within the Section 8 system Thus, you can browse through these lists in order to find an apartment that meets your requirements in an area where you want to live in.
It is important to contact landlords directly about a property listed online, as certain Section 8 listings may be out of date. Additionally, you should not pay a deposit or any fees until you confirm that the property exists, as some listings may be scams.