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Learn How to Apply for Section 8 Housing in Rhode Island

Filling out a Rhode Island Section 8 application is the first step in receiving a housing choice voucher. Public housing agencies (PHAs) throughout the state are responsible for taking applications and issuing rental assistance. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also plays a role by determining the program requirements and funding PHAs.

Before you apply for Section 8, it is helpful to check your eligibility. Because each PHA is an independent organization, the eligibility criteria and application requirements can vary slightly depending on where you sign up. In the sections below, learn more about the Section 8 housing application process that you need to complete.

When can I submit a Section 8 application in Rhode Island?

Depending on where you sign up for Section 8 in Rhode Island, you may be able to apply at any time. That is because many PHAs utilize a central state-wide list that is designed to stay open year-round, which lets you apply for help as soon as you need it.

Note that some PHAs do not use the same waiting list. These organizations will usually have their own waiting list instead. It is common for these housing authorities to stop accepting applications when there are already too many families waiting to receive assistance.

If your preferred PHA has closed its waiting list, you must wait to apply when the list is reopened. Housing authorities announce when you can submit a Section 8 application form by posting public notices in newspapers or other media.

Keep an eye out for these notifications if you are waiting to apply. Note that when PHAs reopen a waiting list, you usually only have a limited amount of time to sign up before the list closes again.

What documents do I need to apply for Section 8 in Rhode Island?

When you complete a HUD application in Rhode Island, you will need to provide documents that verify your eligibility. In many cases, you do not need to give the PHA any documents to be added to a waiting list.

Instead, housing authorities typically only request your eligibility verification if you are chosen for a voucher. However, policies can vary from one PHA to the next.

At some point during the low income housing application process, you will need to provide the housing authority with documents for each person in your household. Items you may need to show the PHA include:

  • Birth certificates
  • Photo identification cards
  • Social Security cards
  • Pay stubs, benefit award letters or bank statements
  • Immigration paperwork, if applicable

Whenever possible, it is usually better to give the PHA an original or certified copy of your documents rather than photocopies. Learn more about the document requirements for a housing authority application by reading our Section 8 guide here.

Tips for Completing the Rhode Island Section 8 Housing Application

If you apply for Section 8 housing with a PHA that uses the state-wide centralized waitlist, note that you can add your name to any waiting list you want. Because you only need to fill out one Section 8 application with the centralized waiting list, it may be in your best interest to submit your name to more than one list. If you add your name to multiple lists, any of the PHAs you choose may select you for a voucher.

It is important to understand that most housing authorities choose applicants based on local preferences. This is the case with PHAs that use the state-wide waitlist, as well as organizations that use their own separate list.

A local preference may be given to local residents, veterans, disabled individuals, senior citizens or applicants who meet other requirements. If you qualify for a preference, it might mean that you are able to receive a voucher more quickly.

In any case, be mindful that you will be able to indicate any factors that might make you eligible for preferences when filling out your HUD housing application.

Understanding the Rhode Island Section 8 Application Process

If you apply for Section 8 housing with a PHA that uses the centralized waitlist, it is important to note that these housing agencies usually only allow you to sign up through that list. In such cases, any applications that are hand-delivered, mailed or faxed may not be processed.

How to Apply for Section 8 Online in Rhode Island

If your PHA uses the state-wide waiting list, you will usually have to apply online. You can fill out Section 8 application online free of charge, as housing authorities cannot make you pay a fee to sign up.

In order to apply online, you will need to create an account. Once your application is complete, you will receive a confirmation number, which you should save for your records.

Note that other PHAs might allow you to submit a Section 8 application online even if they do not use the centralized waiting list. In such cases, the online application process may differ.

How to Submit the Rhode Island Section 8 Housing Application in Person

Some PHAs allow you to apply for help in person. If you wish to use this option, contact your local housing authority to learn about its office hours and application procedures.

How to Apply for Section 8 Housing by Mail

If your PHA has a paper application form, you may also be able to request a copy through the mail. Completed forms can be returned to the housing authority’s mailing address.

What happens after I apply for Section 8 in Rhode Island?

Once you apply for low income housing in Rhode Island, your name will be added to a waiting list. While you are on the list, it is important to keep your information up to date. Changes to any of the following should be reported promptly:

  • Address
  • Income
  • Family composition
  • Other eligibility factors

If your name is selected for a voucher, you will usually undergo a full eligibility review or complete a more detailed application. Upon approval, you will receive a voucher and information on finding a home to rent.

Different ways you can apply

Some PHAs only let you apply for a housing voucher in person. If you want to apply in person, you have to have the right form. You might be able to find the right form at the PHA office, or on the PHA’s website so you can print it. After you have all your documents and fill out your application, you turn in the documents and application form at the PHA office.

You might only be allowed to apply for Section 8 online through your PHA’s online portal. If you can only apply online, you need to make an account on the portal and fill out the online application form.

You might need to upload your supporting documents here, too. After you finish, you can usually come back to the portal to make changes and see your application status.

Some PHAs will let you turn in your application by mail, especially if you are currently living in another city or state. To apply by mail, you have to ask the PHA for an application, or get one on the website if you can.

After you finish your application, you have to mail the form and supporting documents to the address the PHA tells you. Make sure the envelope has the right address to make sure the PHA gets your application.