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Learn How to Apply for Section 8 Housing in Washington D.C.

Are you prepared to complete a Section 8 application in Washington D.C.? While the process is relatively straightforward, it is important to read through submission guidelines before sending in your application. Otherwise, the District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA) may not receive your form. Otherwise, you may be forced to correct mistakes in your information and slow down the review process.

When you apply for Section 8, you must remember to follow other rules defined by the DCHA. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) established the main program guidelines. However, the D.C. Housing Authority has the right to update certain rules to reflect the needs of the district. Learn more about the submission guidelines for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program below.

When can I submit a Section 8 application in D.C.?

At a given time, you may or may not be able to submit a Section 8 housing application in D.C. Oftentimes, the DCHA closes its waitlists when there is a significant number of applicants.

If a waiting list is open, you are allowed to fill out a Section 8 application online for free or visit the DCHA to apply in person. If you apply online, you may fill out the form during any time of day. You must visit the DCHA during regular office hours if you are applying in person.

Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to apply by mail. Note that the housing agency will provide submission guidelines and specify:

  • The ways you can apply.
  • The date the waitlist will open.
  • How long the waitlist will be open.

What documents do I need to apply for Section 8 in Washington D.C.?

Your HUD application will not be complete unless you submit a number of personal documents along with it. These will be used to verify your information. You will also need to reference them to complete the application. In general, you must provide the following documents for each family member:

  • Proof of identification, such as a driver’s license, state ID or passport
  • Proof of citizenship or legal non-citizenship, such as a U.S. birth certificate or permanent resident card
  • Social Security card
  • Recent paychecks or an employment verification letter

Whether you complete the D.C. Section 8 application online, in person or by mail, you may also be asked to submit proof of residency and proof of living expenses. These documents may come in the form of a mortgage agreement or lease agreement and a recent utility bill.

If you submit the application and are missing any information, the DCHA will inform you that documents are missing and explain how long you have to submit them.

Tips for Completing the D.C. Section 8 Housing Application

If you are ready to apply for Section 8 online, in person or by mail, first make sure that your personal information is in order. Providing incorrect or incomplete answers on your application will slow down the process, as the housing authority must then contact you and ask you to correct your work.

It is important that you carefully read the submission guidelines outlined by the DCHA. Vouchers are in high demand and applications are usually taken on a first-come, first-served basis. As such, you may not get a second chance to apply if you submit the form incorrectly.

Before you apply for Section 8 housing in D.C., you may want to contact the D.C. Housing Authority with other questions. For instance, you can ask about selection preferences and find out whether your circumstances warrant a preference.

An applicant may be given selection preference if he or she exhibits a need for immediate or quick housing assistance. Circumstances that often count for selection preference include:

  • The applicant is homeless.
  • The applicant lives in a unit that has substandard living conditions, as determined by a DCHA inspector.
  • The applicant was involuntarily displaced by a natural disaster.
  • The applicant spends more than 50 percent of his or her income on rent and utilities.

Understanding the D.C. Section 8 Application Process

In general, the Section 8 application form will take less than an hour to complete. It may take you as little as 15 minutes depending on your current circumstances.

Before you submit the form, remember to check over your work. Correcting errors at this stage will save you a great deal of time down the road. It may even give you a higher chance of receiving benefits if the DCHA is accepting new applicants on a first-come, first-served basis.

If you submit the low income housing application in D.C. and undergo a change in circumstances before or after a caseworker reviews your submission, you must notify the DCHA as soon as possible. Get an inside look at other aspects of the application process by downloading our trustworthy guide.

How to Apply for Section 8 Online in Washington D.C.

If you are allowed to submit a HUD housing application online, visit the DCHA website. Under the HCV program guidelines, follow the instructions for submitting an online form. You may need to register or create an account before you can send in an application.

If you are not required to create an account, you may not be able to save your progress. Thus, you must complete your work in one sitting.

How to Submit the D.C. Section 8 Housing Application in Person

To apply for low income housing in person, visit the DCHA during regular business hours. Depending on the demand for vouchers, you may need to visit the office early in the day or even get in line before the office opens.

At the DCHA, you will be given a hard copy of the form. Once you have completed it, you may submit it directly to a caseworker. Make sure to bring your verification documents with you. If you do not, you may be asked to bring these documents to the office at a later time.

How to Apply for Section 8 Housing by Mail

If you are allowed to sign up for Section 8 in D.C. by mail, you must first request a hard copy of the application form from a local housing agency. You may do this by calling the office directly or sending an email.

Once you have completed the form, send it along with your verification documents back to the DCHA. Note that mail-in submissions usually take the longest to process and you may not be able to check the status of your application online.

What happens after I apply for Section 8 in D.C.?

After you have submitted a housing authority application in D.C., you will receive a verbal or written confirmation of your submission. It may take up to one month to receive a notification from the DCHA that explains whether your application has been approved or denied.

If your application was approved, you will receive further instructions on getting a spot on the waitlist. If you received a denial notification, you may wait to reapply at a different time or request an informal review, depending on the circumstances.

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.