Section 8 Housing in Florida
In Florida, the Housing Choice Voucher Program is accessed through the local Public Housing Authorities that help people and families that are struggling to pay their rents and afford safe housing, to benefit from the program and integrate into the local community.
As part of the program, individuals and families can approach the closest PHA in their vicinity and discuss the details involved. Applications are made available to the individual or family head and are filled out to join the waiting list of candidates looking to find a home that’s subsidized. Since the number of homes available to this program is fewer than the number of individuals in need, it’s advisable that applicants apply to more than one PHA in the vicinity they want to live in. This helps increase their chances of finding a subsidized home faster. Here’s a link that provides the contact details to all the PHAs in the state of Florida -http://www.hud.gov/offices/pih/pha/contacts/states/fl.cfm. Here’s another link to the various Florida Housing Authorities’ websites – http://www.hud.gov/local/fl/renting/hawebsites.cfm
The primary eligibility criterion you’ll have to meet is to prove that your yearly income is less than 50% of median income determined for the state of Florida. Other eligibility criterion include the absence of a criminal record, proof that you’re either a citizen of the United States or a legal immigrant and proof that you’ve never been evicted from your rental home before.
All this will need to be attached to your application in addition to other documents that include your birth certificate, your salary slips, tax papers, bank statements and references. It’s mandatory that all HCV forms are filled out using a pen. All the members of your family required to be named on the form. In addition to contact details for your previous landlords, you’ll also have to provide your present contact information including your physical address and telephone number.
You’ll also need to explain why you’re applying for Section 8 assistance, on the application form. Once you’ve filled out the application and attached all the necessary documents and submitted it to the local PHA, there’s nothing left to do but wait. Given the shortage of such subsidized housing units, these waiting periods can tend to be extensive though they are speeded up for individuals and families that are in especially dire conditions of poverty.
Once you’ve been deemed eligible, you’ll be granted a voucher to pay towards your monthly rent. This is when you’ll be asked to look around for a home in the area that the local PHA covers for a suitable house. You have 60 days to find a house that situated in a safe neighborhood and is available at a reasonable rent. Once you’ve decided on the house, the PHA will approve the rent amount and make an inspection of the house. If the house meets the necessary standards, a lease will be made out to you by the landlord for a minimum duration of one year. The landlord will also have to sign a contract with the PHA agreeing to adhere to the PHA’s regulations.
When this is completed, you can move into your new subsidized home for which you’ll pay the using the voucher. If the gross rent is in excess of the voucher amount, you’ll pay the difference (which can’t exceed 40% of your annual income) if it’s lesser, you can keep the difference.