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Learn About Section 8 Requirements in Wisconsin

Your Section 8 eligibility in Wisconsin depends on factors such as your legal presence in the U.S., family status and income. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds this program and sets many of the main requirements. Public housing agencies (PHAs) administer housing choice vouchers at the local level. Local PHAs may set their own Section 8 requirements due to the fact that each housing authority is an independent organization.

Once you meet the Section 8 qualifications and receive a voucher, you need to find a suitable rental unit. Under the Section 8 housing requirements, the unit needs to pass a PHA inspection in order to be approved for assistance. Read below to learn more about qualifying for a voucher and discover what requirements a unit must meet under this program.

What are the Section 8 requirements in Wisconsin?

In order to have Section 8 housing eligibility in Wisconsin, you need to have what is known as family status. You may count as a family if you are single or live in a household of two or more people. Your eligibility is not affected by factors such as marital status, sexual orientation or whether you have children. However, your family unit may be categorized differently if any of the household members:

  • Is a senior.
  • Was displaced from home.
  • Has a disability.

In order to meet the Section 8 qualifications, at least one person in your household needs to be a U.S. citizen or a legally present immigrant. Certain categories of immigration are eligible, while others are not.

It is important to note that, if you live in a household with a mix of legal and non-legal residents, it will affect the amount of assistance you receive. This is because PHAs can only grant assistance to the members of your family who are legally present.

Your Section 8 housing eligibility is not affected by your residency. In other words, you do not have to live in Wisconsin in order to undergo the Section 8 application process in the state. However, some housing agencies prefer to help local applicants first, which may affect how long it takes for you to receive assistance.

Regardless of your residency status or citizenship, you will only meet the Section 8 requirements if you have a Social Security Number (SSN). Each member of your family over a certain age needs to provide proof of having an SSN.

A PHA may also base your Section 8 eligibility on factors such as your criminal history or history with other housing assistance programs. In many cases, you will be ineligible if any of the following are true:

  • You are on a federal or state sex offender registry.
  • You owe outstanding debts to other PHAs.
  • You have committed program violations with public housing or other assistance programs.
  • You have a criminal history that includes drug-related offenses or violent crimes.

What are the Wisconsin Section 8 income limits?

Under the Section 8 income guidelines, you are usually only eligible for assistance if you earn less than 50 percent of the median area income. Certain PHAs allow you to qualify with an income up to 80 percent of the median income.

However, you have the best chance of being approved for assistance if your income falls below 30 percent of the median area income. This is because PHAs are required to save most of their rent assistance vouchers for families with the lowest incomes.

When it comes to the Section 8 income limits in Wisconsin, note that your income will be compared with the median earnings in your county, city or another area. You do not need to compare your income to a statewide average. This is because earnings can vary significantly from one part of the state to the next.

If you cannot meet the Section 8 income guidelines set by one PHA, it is possible you will be eligible for assistance through a different housing authority. The income requirements are also updated annually, which may allow you to qualify in the future if you are not eligible now.

Which documents do I need to meet Section 8 requirements in Wisconsin?

In order to verify you meet the Section 8 requirements, you will need to show the PHA a variety of documents. Most housing authorities need to see your paperwork before you can receive a rental voucher. However, a PHA may also request eligibility verification before adding you to a waiting list.

The types of paperwork you need will vary depending on your individual situation. You can usually verify your Section 8 housing eligibility by showing the following:

  • Photo ID card
  • Birth certificate
  • Pay stubs or bank statements
  • Benefit award letters
  • Social Security card
  • Immigration documents

Depending on your situation, you might need to provide information on your expenses or other financial details. In any case, you should try to submit original or certified copies of any paperwork you provide. Learn more about Section 8 qualifications by reading our guide here.

Which Wisconsin Section 8 housing requirements do I have to meet?

When you meet the Section 8 requirements and receive a voucher, you must find a rental unit that will accept your assistance. In some cases, you may use your voucher where you already live. If not, you need to choose a new rental.

Under this program, you can rent essentially any type of housing that you want. This includes any of the following:

  • Regular apartments
  • Studio apartments
  • Single-family homes
  • Townhomes
  • Duplexes

In any case, the home or apartment you choose needs to be leased at a fair rate. PHAs will usually not approve rentals that exceed a certain percentage of your income. Furthermore, the unit you live in will need to pass a PHA health and safety inspection.

What happens if I don’t meet the Section 8 qualifications?

If you do not meet the Section 8 requirements, the PHA will usually notify you about the denial in writing. You may have the chance to appeal the denial if you disagree with the PHA’s decision.

Keep in mind that you can apply for assistance with any housing authority. PHAs may have different requirements that allow you to qualify. Furthermore, most housing authorities have more than one type of assistance that you may benefit from. It is possible you will be eligible for a different type of program.