Learn About Section 8 Requirements in Washington D.C.
If you think you meet the Section 8 requirements in Washington D.C., you ought to contact the District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA) as soon as possible. Low-income housing assistance is in extremely high demand as it allows you to search for a safe, affordable home in the private market. If you choose a home that meets the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program standards, you have to pay only a portion of the rent.
Understanding the Section 8 qualifications established by the DCHA and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is important even if you cannot apply for assistance at this time. Even if there are no waitlists currently open in D.C., our guidelines will prepare you for the application process so that you are ready as soon as a waitlist reopens.
What are the Section 8 requirements in Washington D.C.?
In order to have Section 8 eligibility in DC, you must be a U.S. citizen or a legal non-citizen. A caseworker at the DCHA may ask you to prove your status by providing your Social Security Number (SSN) or documentation from the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Next, you must be a resident of D.C. and have a primary address in the district. If you are homeless, you may provide contact information for your local shelter.
It is also important that you meet the Section 8 income limits as defined by the DCHA. These are updated on an annual basis, so you must compare your earnings to the most current limits for the HCV program.
Lastly, the DCHA will require you and your family members to undergo a background check. If you have some form of criminal activity on your background check, you may be denied assistance.
What are the Washington D.C. Section 8 income limits?
Your Section 8 housing eligibility in DC depends greatly on whether your income falls below a certain limit. The limit that applies to you depends on the size of your family.
For example, a family of four may qualify for assistance if it has an annual income at or below $60,650. A family of three may qualify if it has an annual income at or below $54,600.
Note: You may not be eligible for vouchers if your income exceeds 50 percent of the median income in the area.
According to the Section 8 income guidelines, you will have a much higher chance of receiving benefits if your income does not exceed 30 percent of the area median income (AMI). In this case, you would be considered an extremely low-income applicant. This is because the HUD department requires all housing authorities to offer 75 percent of their available vouchers to extremely low-income families.
To predict whether you meet the D.C. Section 8 housing requirements based on income, first find the income limit that applies to your family. Then, combine the annual earnings of every working family member without making deductions for taxes.
If you are a freelancer, you must make an educated estimate of your annual earnings. You must also account for unearned income, including:
- Benefits from other federal programs, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
- Money in checking and savings accounts.
- Stocks and bonds.
- Other assets.
Note that some assets, such as vehicles, do not usually count toward your earnings. To learn more about requirements, download our guide.
Which documents do I need to meet Section 8 requirements in D.C.?
In order to meet the Section 8 requirements during the application process, you must send in verification documents along with your application. Your DCHA will notify you of which documents to submit based on your circumstances.
Generally, you will also need these documents to fill out the application. Important identification forms include:
- Social Security cards for you and each family member
- Proof of identity, such as your license, U.S. passport, visa or permanent resident card
- Several of your most recent paychecks
If you have unearned income, such as benefits from another federal assistance program or savings in a bank account, you must provide proof of them as well. You will be notified if your application is missing documents.
Which D.C. Section 8 housing requirements do I have to meet?
If you have Section 8 eligibility in D.C. and reach the top of the waitlist, you may begin looking for a new home in the private market. However, that home must meet a number of requirements.
For instance, the landlord must be approved by the DCHA and be willing to accept vouchers for a portion of the rent. The landlord must also offer a lease that lasts for a minimum of one year and provide a housing unit that meets health and safety standards.
To ensure that the unit meets Section 8 housing requirements, a DCHA employee will visit the home and perform an inspection. He or she will make sure that the unit has:
- All required utilities, including a cooking range and refrigerator.
- Hot and cold running water.
- A separate bathroom.
Note: In some circumstances, you may be able to stay in your current home and have your vouchers sent each month to your landlord.
Keep in mind that you are also required to keep up your end of the bargain. This means you must pay your portion of the rent on time each month and agree to other rules in the lease.
What happens if I don’t meet the Section 8 qualifications?
Many applicants do not meet Section 8 eligibility in D.C. and therefore receive rejection notices. Moreover, many applicants meet the requirements but have slightly higher incomes than other applicants, causing them to be denied assistance due to the program’s priorities.
If you are denied benefits, you may be able to request an informal review. Your rejection notice may provide further details on requesting a review by a certain deadline.
If you are approved for an informal review, you will receive a confirmation of the date. Generally, this meeting will take place at the DCHA. You may choose to have a representative attend it on your behalf, or you may represent yourself.
During the meeting, a caseworker will go over your application with you. Then, you will have the opportunity to explain why you disagree with the decision.