Learn How to Apply for Section 8 Housing in Virginia
Filling out a Virginia Section 8 application is the first step towards getting rental assistance from a public housing agency (PHA). Overall, housing agencies receive funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in order to provide rent assistance vouchers. If you are approved for one of these vouchers, you will be able to look for housing of your choice on the open market.
You can apply for Section 8 with as many PHAs as you wish. Because housing authorities are individual organizations, there is not a universal Section 8 application form to fill out. Each PHA has slightly tailored application preferences and requirements, meaning that you will need to follow certain different procedures if you sign up through more than one organization. Read below to learn more about filling out a Section 8 housing application in Virginia so you can get rental assistance.
When can I submit a Section 8 application in Virginia?
You can sign up for Section 8 only when a PHA has its waiting list open. Almost all housing authorities use waiting lists as a way to manage the number of applications that are submitted. In most cases, there are far more applicants than there are vouchers available.
Therefore, when you apply for Section 8 housing, you will almost always be placed onto a waiting list. The amount of time you spend on the list will vary depending on the demand for vouchers and availability of funding. If you cannot get onto your preferred PHA’s waiting list, you can try applying for help with a different organization while you wait.
PHAs announce when you can apply for low income housing by placing ads online, in newspapers or on radio stations. If you are waiting to submit a HUD application, it is helpful to keep an eye out for these notices. In many cases, you will only have a limited period of time to submit your application before the PHA closes its waiting list again.
What documents do I need to apply for Section 8 in Virginia?
Your Virginia housing authority application will need to include a variety of documents that verify your eligibility. For instance, PHAs typically require documentation that proves personal details such as:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Social Security Number (SSN)
- Legal presence in the U.S.
- Family composition
- Income and assets
To satisfy these requirements, your HUD housing application may need to include birth certificates, photo ID cards, Social Security cards, bank records, benefit award letters and other similar documentation. Certain PHAs request this information with your initial low income housing application, while others only require documents once your family is selected for a voucher.
In any case, you should be prepared to give the PHA paperwork for each person in your household. Unfortunately, you may be denied if you cannot prove the eligibility of everyone on your application.
Tips for Completing the Virginia Section 8 Housing Application
It is important to fill out your Section 8 application completely and correctly to avoid delays. Submitting an incomplete form may lead to your application being rejected. Instead of leaving information blank, it is usually better to write “none” or “N/A” in fields that do not apply to your family.
Additionally, your application should be signed by every adult member of your household. An unsigned application may also be rejected, even if you are otherwise eligible. If your PHA requests any documentation with your initial application, be sure to include this as well.
Understanding how PHAs select applicants is also helpful. Because there are so many qualified people who apply for Section 8 in Virginia, most housing authorities use local preferences to determine which applicants to help first. You might be eligible for a local preference if you:
- Are a senior.
- Are a veteran.
- Have a disability.
- Are a local resident.
- Were displaced from home.
Qualifying for a local preference may mean you are placed higher on a waiting list. However, PHAs usually cannot guarantee that you will receive a voucher even if you are eligible.
For this reason, it may be beneficial to sign up for Section 8 with more than one housing authority at a time to increase your chances of success. Find more Section 8 application tips by reading our complete guide here.
Understanding the Virginia Section 8 Application Process
You can submit a Section 8 application online, in person or through the mail in most cases. PHAs usually have a preferred application method that you need to use.
How to Apply for Section 8 Online in Virginia
If your PHA has an online presence, you may be able to apply for help online. You can always fill out Section 8 application online free of charge, due to the fact that PHAs and other organizations cannot make you pay a fee to sign up.
When filling out an application online, you may receive a confirmation number. If so, save this information for future reference.
How to Submit the Virginia Section 8 Housing Application in Person
Many PHAs provide paper applications that you can fill out in person. However, application materials will usually only be available when the waiting list is open. Before visiting a housing authority office, you may wish to check office hours and policies, as well as the waiting list status.
How to Apply for Section 8 Housing by Mail
If you cannot make it to a PHA office in person or apply online, you may be able to request that a housing authority sends you a copy of the application via mail. Once your form is complete, simply return it to the correct mailing address.
What happens after I apply for Section 8 in Virginia?
After you submit a Virginia Section 8 application, you will usually be placed on a waiting list unless you are ineligible. However, it is possible to receive a voucher right away if a PHA has assistance available.
In the event you are put on a waiting list, is it crucial that you keep your contact information up to date. You may miss important notifications if you do not tell the PHA when you move.
Unfortunately, most housing agencies will remove your name from the list if you cannot be reached. In this situation, you would need to start the Section 8 housing application process over again.
Upon being granted a voucher, you will usually attend an informational meeting where you will learn about the program rules. You may then start looking for housing where you can use your voucher.