Section 8

What is Section 8?

Section 8 is a housing choice voucher program that helps people with lower incomes, the elderly, and the disabled pay for housing. Recipients of the program pay 30 percent of the household income toward rent.

Section 8 is administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development but eligibility and case management is done by local public housing authorities.
Who can get help from Section 8?

Households that meet the income and immigration guidelines are eligible for Section 8. Priority is given to households with lower incomes (below 30 percent of the local median income), and some local housing authorities give priority to seniors, people with disabilities, homeless families, and/or people paying more than 50 percent of their income in rent. Most people won’t be able to get help right away and will be placed on a waiting list or must wait until the waiting list in their area opens up. See questions 6 to 8 for more information regarding the wait lists for Section 8.


If I receive Section 8, how much will I have to pay for rent?
Households receiving Section 8 pay 30 percent of their monthly income in rent, and the Section 8 voucher pays the remaining portion. Households may pay more than 30 percent of their monthly income for rent if they choose to live in a housing unit with rent that is more than the payment standard set by the local housing authority.
Can I live anywhere if I receive Section 8?

Once you receive a Section 8 voucher, you can choose to use the voucher anywhere that accepts the vouchers in the area in which the program is administered. Some properties choose not to accept the vouchers. The housing authority will give you guidelines on your eligible rent amount and will require an inspection before you move in and subsidy payments can start.


If I am receiving a Section 8 voucher, can I move?

Recipients of a Section 8 voucher can move easily within the jurisdiction of the housing authority in which they initially applied and received the voucher. If a household with a voucher wants or needs to move out of the jurisdiction, then they must consult the housing authority in the area in which they plan to move to verify the procedures for moving.


Is there a waiting list for Section 8?

Yes. There are waiting lists for Section 8 in all areas of Minnesota. Some area waiting lists, including the metro area, are not open to accepting new applicants for the waitlist. To learn how to get on the waitlist in your area, click here to find the contact information for your local housing authority.


How do I get on the waiting list?

When the waitlist is open in your area, you must fill out an application and meet the eligibility requirements. Contact your local housing authority to find out if the waitlist is open and to get an application.


How does the waiting list work?
To find out if the Section 8 waitlist is open and how to apply to get on the list in your area, contact your local housing authority. Procedures for the waitlist vary by county, but often you must already live in the area where you want to apply to be on the waitlist, in addition to meeting the standard Section 8 eligibility guidelines.
In some areas, in particular in the metro area, applicants are not being accepted for the waitlist. Often times in the metro area the waitlist only opens up for a specific time period and thousands of households attempt to get on the waitlist during this time period. So if you live in the metro area and are interested in applying to get on the waitlist for Section 8, it is necessary to stay informed about when the waitlist opens and be prepared to apply the day it opens.
How soon will I be able to get on the program?
When you’re on a Section 8 waitlist it can take up to two plus years to get on the program, but the wait varies by the area in which you live and funding available. Priority can vary by county but is often given to households that are or include:
·      Homeless or living in substandard housing, such as a unit without plumbing or electricity;
·      Rent burdened, defined as paying more than 50 percent of household income toward housing costs;
·      Residents living in the area in which they’re applying for Section 8 voucher;
·      Lower income, defined as household earnings less than 30 percent of area median income;
·      Displaced at no fault of their own; or
·      Fleeing domestic abuse and involved in ongoing counseling and assistance from a licensed program; or
·      One or more person who is working full-time.
What do I have to do to stay on the program?
To stay on Section 8 once you’re enrolled in the program you must:
·      Fill out an annual recertification form;
·      Inform your local housing authority of any changes in household composition or income within 7 days of the change;
·       Inform your local housing authority in due time of your desire to move; and
·      Abide by the parameters of your lease, as multiple lease violations or eviction results in loss of the Section 8 voucher.
To get Section 8, does it matter how long I have lived in Minnesota?

No, it doesn’t matter how long you have lived in Minnesota, but most local housing authorities require or give priority to people who already are living within their area limits when they apply for Section 8 or to get on the waitlist.


Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to get on Section 8?

No, but you must meet the immigration status requirements. Some houses with members with mixed immigration statuses (some members meet the immigration status requirements and some don’t) may be eligible for prorated assistance for the eligible members. Contact your local Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) to see if you meet the requirements.


I am an immigrant. If I get Section 8 will I be a public charge?

No. Section 8 is one of many assistance programs you can receive without becoming a public charge.


If I can’t get on Section 8, are there other programs that help with housing costs?

There are other public and private housing subsidy programs other than Section 8. To find out more about these programs visit our Find Other Help section on the Bridge to Benefits website.


Are there asset limits for Section 8?

No, but some assets are included as income for the income test.