Section 8 in Wisconsin is a government program that makes it easier for you to afford your rent. Through this program, you may qualify for low income housing and receive a voucher that helps lower the cost of rent each month. You must meet certain requirements relating to your income and family composition in order to apply.
Section 8 housing assistance is provided at the local level by public housing agencies (PHAs) throughout the state. However, this program is federally funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. To receive a voucher, you must apply directly through the PHA that serves the community you want to live in. Below, learn more about HUD housing and discover how you can qualify for assistance.
Discover Wisconsin Section 8 Requirements
Your Section 8 eligibility is based on factors such as your household composition, income and whether you are in the U.S. legally. One of the most important Section 8 requirements in WI is that your family qualifies as low-income or extremely low-income. A low-income family makes no more than 50 percent of the median family income in the area, while an extremely low-income family’s income is no more than 30 percent of the median.
Keep in mind that PHAs are required by federal law to give the majority of their vouchers to families with the lowest income, meaning that you may need to wait longer to receive a voucher if your income is higher. Furthermore, Section 8 income limits vary based on where you live in Wisconsin, as well as your family size.
In order to meet Section 8 qualifications, your household must be also considered a “family” according to HUD. A family can include a single person who is elderly or disabled, as well as an individual who is displaced from home due to a natural disaster or government action. Families can also be composed of two or more individuals with or without children who meet the other program requirements.
Section 8 housing eligibility is limited to U.S. citizens, nationals and other residents who are in the U.S. legally. This can include:
- Lawful permanent residents
- Temporary or conditional residents
- Asylum seekers and refugees
- Other legally-present individuals
Note that your family may still meet the Section 8 housing requirements if your household has a mix of legal and non-legal residents. In these situations, PHAs can award a smaller amount of assistance, otherwise known as prorated assistance, to aid the legally-present members of the family.
How to Apply for Section 8 Housing in Wisconsin
When you are ready to start the Section 8 housing application process in Wisconsin, you will need to find the PHA that serves the community you want to live in. In most cases, you can locate a PHA that covers a specific city or county.
If you cannot find a PHA that serves the area where you live, you may be able to find assistance through the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA), which has contracted with local agencies to provide vouchers in areas not served by a PHA.
It is important to understand that when you apply for Section 8 with a certain PHA, you will need to use your voucher to find housing within that organization’s service area. Once you have received assistance for a set amount of time, you may move to a new area if you wish.
The Section 8 housing application process varies depending on where you apply. Many PHAs allow you to apply for Section 8 online, in person or over the phone. Regardless of the application method you choose, you will generally need to provide the same information, including:
- Names, Social Security Numbers (SSNs) and dates of birth for each family member.
- Your family’s current address.
- Information on your family’s income, assets and resources.
Most of the information on your application will need to be verified with documentation such as tax returns, birth certificates, pay stubs and other paperwork. However, each PHA may have its own requirements for the information you need to provide
Understanding Section 8 Waiting Lists in Wisconsin
In many cases, a PHA is unable to serve everyone who applies for assistance. Because the demand for Section 8 is high, many PHAs will place applicants on a waiting list. A Section 8 waiting list may be long, with some families needing to wait months or even years to receive a voucher.
Keep in mind that a PHA may give preferential placement to certain families. For example, people who live or work in a PHA’s service area may receive a voucher faster than those who are not already part of the community. Preference may also be given to applicants who are disabled, elderly or extremely low-income.
You may wish to check your Section 8 waiting list status once you are placed on one of these lists. While you are waiting, it is also important to pay attention to any factors that may affect your eligibility. For example, a change in your family composition or an increase in your income may make you ineligible for a voucher even if you were qualified when you first applied.
If you are placed on a Section 8 waiting list in WI, it is crucial to keep your information up to date. Most of all, you should report any address changes to your PHA if you move, due to the fact that most notifications are sent via mail. If you miss a notification about a voucher becoming available, or any mail is returned to the PHA as non-deliverable, your name may be removed from the waiting list.
Learn About Wisconsin Section 8 Housing Lists
Once you are approved for a voucher you may generally rent any apartment or home that meets your PHA’s standards. Referring to a Section 8 housing list may help you find a unit that works with this program. Section 8 listings can be found on many websites, but you can usually request one from your PHA as well. Your PHA may have an approved Section 8 housing list that it prefers you to use.
When looking for low income apartments for rent in WI, be aware that you may be required to use your voucher in a particular location depending on the type of assistance you are receiving. Furthermore, not all landlords accept vouchers from this program.