There are many Government programs aimed at aiding low-income families to make ends meet. One of such is food stamps for acquiring food at a lesser or no amount.
The program, Section 8 is like food stamps, but for housing and accommodation. It was created by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965 and is managed by HUD, Department of Housing and Urban Development. It enforces an anti-discriminatory law that forbids discrimination in real estate. This means house owners or real estate managers cannot refuse to sell or rent a house based on discrimination against color, disability, family status, nationality, race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
Section 8 creates or manufactures vouchers that they give to certain people when they meet a particular criterion. (Basically for low-income people). They are four major criteria that one needs to pass before they can qualify for consideration in section 8. Before you can apply, you need to have proof of previous eviction history, come from lower family status, make low income annually and must be a US citizen.
So if you are a college student struggling with housing in the United States of America then you are welcome to apply for section 8. Just make sure you meet the criteria in the following areas.
As of 2019, the Average Median income was reported to be around sixty-three thousand US dollars. If you make an annual income that is less than 50% of the Average Median Income (AMI), you are invited to apply for the section 8 program. This means that you will not have to pay 100% of your housing fee but for less than 50% of your rent. The AMI is based on your area of residence. And varies with each city.
There are three levels to it, those that make below 30% of their Average Median Income are considered very low and those that make between 30% and 50% are considered low while those that make more than 50% but less than 80% are considered average.
The official rule is that one must be 24 years old and above to apply for section 8. This is because when you are less than 24, you have to include family details and income in your application and that reduces the chances of getting qualified.
But exceptions are made when you do not have parents, have been emancipated from your parents, have lived independently for more than 12 months from your parents, have a kid, is married or a US veteran
If you have a record as a sex offender, then you will most probably be disqualified from the section 8 program. Having a criminal record does not disqualify you for section 8, it just lowers your chances.
Generally, one important thing to take into consideration when applying is time. It takes an awfully long amount of time for it to be processed. There are times it takes 6 months or more to get your voucher for section 8. When this is done, it is your responsibility to find a landlord that accepts vouchers. Not all of them do. The voucher will be valid throughout your stay in college.
Application process: one would expect that with the evolution of the Internet, it will just be as easy as filling and submitting a form online. Physical forms are available at most housing agencies or public housing agency. You can go there and pick up a form, fill it and submit it. Applicants need proof of employment, and extra info about school loans, grants, and scholarships among other things. To find out more about section 8 and other things in your state, check out https://www.hud.gov, you can also find your local public housing agency from the site.