There are options for those struggling to make ends meet and provide for their families. The Housing Choice Voucher Program (also known as section 8) is a federally funded program that can offer assistance to low and moderate income families that meet certain qualifications. The list of tenant qualifications should be carefully reviewed before pursuing an application. The program subsidizes a portion of each tenant’s rent and all payments are made directly to the property owner on a monthly basis. Family size and income reflect the level of assistance this program can offer. For many, this offers access to safe and sanitary housing not otherwise available.
Where to Apply for Section 8 in Connecticut
Connecticut residents can apply for section 8 in person at a local Department of Social Services (DSS) or Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) field office. You can find HUD field office locations directly on the DSS website. However, the waiting list for a Housing Choice Voucher is full most of the time and applications are often not accepted. When most of the people waiting have been helped, the Department of Social Services will periodically re-open the waiting list to accept new applications. When this happens, notices are posted in the newspaper, trusted media sources and on the Housing Choice Voucher Program waiting list website. Here you can locate open waiting lists throughout Connecticut. It may be helpful to register to recieve an automatic notification whenever these openings occur.
How Does the Voucher Waiting List Work?
When filling out a Housing Choice Voucher application, other factors including the family’s financial assets, monthly expenses and special needs are also reviewed during this process. Some forms of assistance may also require a caseworker to conduct and in-home interview. All of the info provided will be formally verified by the PHA and if they are considered eligible for the funding, they will be selected for the waiting list. The PHA will then contact the family on the waiting list and a housing voucher will be issued. However, applicants with very low incomes are given priority, which may impact overall wait times and should be taken into consideration.
Where Can You Use a HUD Voucher?
The next steps include the selection of a housing unit by the family. Applicants have the freedom to choose any private rental housing as long as it meets the requirements of quality and safety as established by HUD. The residence must rent at a rate deemed reasonable and must meet the program’s housing quality standards (HQS) through inspection. These standards must also be maintained while the landlord receives housing assistance payments. The unit and the lease must first be approved by the Housing Authority and the family must sign a lease with the landlord for one year. The tenant may be required to cover the security deposit expense.
After one year, the landlord has the option of renewing the yearly lease or switching to a month-by-month lease. An applicant is typically required to pay 30 to 40 percent of its monthly income toward rent and utility expenses. The formula: gross rent (rent plus average utility costs) minus 30 percent of monthly adjusted income, is used when an application is being processed to determine the rate of assistance the program will provide. The landlord is also expected to comply with the contract signed with the housing authority as well as the lease signed with the tenant. The tenant is expected to adhere to the terms of the lease which include paying rent on time and taking general care of the residence.
To see what other state or federal programs you may qualify for, you can fill out the 211 Navigator Benefits Screener, an anonymous online questionaire.