The Section 8 requirements in Virginia are determined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as well as local public housing agencies (PHAS). The HUD provides funding for the housing choice voucher program, while PHAs administer assistance at the local level.
Overall, housing agencies use the general HUD standards in order to determine who is eligible. Because PHAs are independent from one another, they can also have local requirements. Essentially, this means that your Section 8 eligibility may vary depending slightly on where you apply. Read below to learn more about the VA Section 8 qualifications you need to have and discover if you may be eligible for a voucher under this program.
What are the Section 8 requirements in Virginia?
The basic Section 8 qualifications in Virginia relate to your citizenship status, family status and your standing with other government housing programs. First, at least one person in your home needs to be a U.S. citizen or a legally present immigrant. Not all categories of immigration are eligible for this program.
Regardless of your citizenship status, everyone in your household needs to have a Social Security Number (SSN). Certain PHAs will allow you to sign up if you do not have an SSN yet, but will require that you have your number assigned before you receive assistance.
Your Section 8 housing eligibility also depends on whether you meet HUD’s definition of “family.” For this program, you can count as a family as a single person if you:
- Are a senior.
- Have a disability.
- Were displaced from home.
In certain situations, other single people may meet the Section 8 qualifications as well. For example, a single person counts as a family if he or she is the remaining member of a household that receives rental assistance.
Families can also be composed of two or more people who live together. Section 8 eligibility in VA is not affected by marital status, sexual orientation or the presence of children in the home.
In order to meet the Section 8 requirements, your household needs to be in good standing with other government housing assistance programs. If you have participated in Section 8, public housing or other similar programs, any violations in the past can hurt your chances of receiving a voucher in the future. For example, you might not meet the Section 8 eligibility criteria if you were evicted from public housing or if you owe debts to another PHA.
Keep in mind that housing authorities may also base your eligibility on other factors. It is common for PHAs to look at your criminal history or even your credit history before letting you participate in a housing program.
What are the Virginia Section 8 income limits?
The Section 8 income guidelines are published by HUD each year. For this program, your income will be compared with families of the same size in your city, county or another local area. There are not statewide Section 8 income limits due to the fact that earnings vary from one area to the next.
Generally speaking, you can meet the Section 8 income guidelines if your family earns less than 50 percent of the median income for your area. However, PHAs reserve most of their vouchers for families that earn no more than 30 percent of the median. This rule exists so that households with the lowest income have a better chance of receiving assistance.
If you do not meet the income limits in one area, it is possible you will be eligible somewhere else in Virginia. You should always refer to the local Section 8 requirements for each PHA when determining if you are eligible for assistance.
The Section 8 income limits can be hard to understand. For more information, read our full Section 8 guide here.
Which documents do I need to meet Section 8 requirements in Virginia?
You must certify that you meet the Section 8 qualifications before you can receive assistance. Some PHAs request documents when you submit your initial application form. Others only need to see your paperwork when your name is selected for a voucher. You may need to provide documentation more than once during the application process.
To verify your Section 8 eligibility, you will need documents that state your name, address, date of birth, income, SSN and other important details. Commonly used paperwork includes:
- Birth certificates
- Photo ID cards
- Social Security cards
- Bank statements or pay stubs
- Benefit award letters
- Immigration or citizenship documents
The types of documents you need will vary depending on your situation. Generally, PHAs will request that you have original or certified copies of your paperwork whenever possible.
Which Virginia Section 8 housing requirements do I have to meet?
If you meet the Section 8 qualifications and receive a voucher, you will need to find a suitable place to rent. In some cases, you will be eligible to use your voucher where you currently live.
In order for an apartment to be approved for rent assistance, it will need to pass a PHA inspection. Housing authorities check to make sure that units are:
- Free from major damage.
- In safe and sanitary conditions.
- Rented at a fair rate.
- Owned by a landlord who is willing to take vouchers.
Note that the Section 8 housing requirements might also depend on local zoning laws. PHAs may take local rules into account when inspecting a unit.
What happens if I don’t meet the Section 8 qualifications?
If you do not meet the Section 8 requirements in Virginia, you will receive a letter of denial from the PHA. In some cases, you might have the chance to reapply for assistance.
For example, if you were denied because of errors in your application, you may be eligible to submit a new form. Moreover, you have the right to appeal a PHA decision if you do not agree with it.
Most PHAs have more than one type of program that can help low-income families. If you do not meet the Section 8 eligibility criteria, you may still be able to get a different type of assistance. Community groups and local charities may provide help as well if you are having trouble paying your rent.