The main Section 8 requirements in West Virginia are set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Additional rules are determined by public housing agencies (PHAs), which run this program at the local level. Because PHAs are independent from one another, the exact requirements can vary depending on where you apply for assistance.
If you meet the Section 8 qualifications and receive a voucher, you will be responsible for finding a suitable place to rent. The home you choose must meet various Section 8 housing requirements in order for your PHA to approve it. Below, learn more about your Section 8 eligibility in West Virginia and discover the housing quality standards you should be aware of.
What are the Section 8 requirements in West Virginia?
Many of the Section 8 qualifications are the same no matter where you apply. Your Section 8 housing eligibility will always be based on factors such as:
- Family status
- Citizenship or legal presence
- History with other housing programs
First, Section 8 eligibility is only extended to applicants who are U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals or legally present immigrants. Not all categories of immigration are qualified for rental assistance from this program. At least one household member needs to meet the legal presence requirements.
Note that in families with a mix of legal and non-legal residents, the amount of assistance will be prorated. This means that the amount of assistance granted to a family depends on the number of household members who are in the U.S. legally.
Regardless of your citizenship status, you will only meet the Section 8 qualifications if you have a Social Security Number (SSN). Each household member over a certain age needs to furnish proof of having an SSN.
Next, your Section 8 housing eligibility is based on whether you meet HUD’s definition of family. According to HUD, a family can be composed of a single person who:
- Is a senior.
- Has a disability.
- Was displaced from home.
- Is the remaining member of a family that receives assistance.
Essentially any single person can be eligible if he or she meets the other program requirements. Families can also be composed of two or more people who live together, with or without children. Section 8 eligibility does not depend on marital status, sexual orientation or other similar factors.
Under the Section 8 requirements in West Virginia, you also need to be in good standing with other housing programs. If you have committed any program violations with other types of government housing assistance, it may make you ineligible. For example, being evicted from public housing might mean you are unable to qualify for a housing choice voucher in the future.
What are the West Virginia Section 8 income limits?
The Section 8 income guidelines are published by HUD each year, and are subject to change. Under these requirements, you are usually only eligible for assistance if you earn less than 50 percent of the median area income.
As a general rule, the Section 8 income limits are based on local median incomes rather than statewide averages. This is because income levels can vary greatly from one county or city to the next. It is sometimes possible to meet the Section 8 requirements with an income up to 80 percent of the median. However, this is less common.
Overall, PHAs are required by law to save most of their vouchers for families that earn no more than 30 percent of the median income. The Section 8 income guidelines are created this way so that families with the greatest financial need have a better chance of receiving assistance.
The Section 8 income limits can be complicated. To learn more about requirements, read our Section 8 guide here.
Which documents do I need to meet Section 8 requirements in West Virginia?
You will need to verify you meet the Section 8 requirements before you receive a housing choice voucher. Certain PHAs request documentation when you submit your pre-application.
In such cases, you will need to provide paperwork before you are added to a waiting list. Other times, you only need to verify your eligibility when your family is chosen for a voucher.
At some point during the application process, you need to provide evidence of your identity, legal presence, SSN, income and family composition. Documents that may satisfy these requirements include:
- Birth certificates
- Photo ID cards
- Social Security card
- Bank statements or tax returns
- Pay stubs or benefit award letters
- Citizenship or immigration paperwork
Note that you need to verify the Section 8 housing eligibility of each person in your household. If you cannot provide documents for everyone, such as Social Security cards, you might not be able to get assistance.
Which West Virginia Section 8 housing requirements do I have to meet?
Once you are granted a voucher, you may begin looking for a suitable rental. The home you choose needs to meet a few Section 8 housing requirements before you are allowed to move in. PHAs require that rentals are:
- In safe, sanitary and decent conditions.
- Owned by a landlord willing to accept Section 8 vouchers.
- Rented at a fair market rate compared to other units.
To verify that units meet the Section 8 requirements, PHAs will do a health and safety inspection. Note that you might be able to use your voucher where you currently live, as long as your unit meets the same standards described above.
What happens if I don’t meet the Section 8 qualifications?
In the event you do not meet the Section 8 requirements in West Virginia, you will receive a written notification regarding your denial. Local PHAs allow you to appeal decisions that you disagree with. You may have the opportunity to reapply if certain criteria are met.
Keep in mind that the Section 8 qualifications can vary from one PHA to the next. This means you might be approved for a voucher if you apply elsewhere. Furthermore, most housing authorities have more than one type of rental assistance. It is possible you will meet the requirements for a different program.