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Your Questions About Section 8 Answered

October 12, 2023 | Aliza Aviles

In this blog, we’re breaking down the Section 8 program and who is eligible, what it entails, and much more. Section 8 is a federal housing assistance program that helps low-income families afford safe and decent housing in the private market. To be eligible, participants must meet certain requirements.


What is Section 8 housing, and how does it work in Florida?


Florida Section 8 Housing is a rental assistance program for low-income families. The government works with the families to find and rent housing from private landlords. This assistance is also known as the Housing Choice Voucher program. Florida Section 8 requires participants to pay up to 30% of their adjusted income towards rent. Their adjusted income is the amount of money remaining after they have paid all other expenses, such as their utilities and food.



Who qualifies for Section 8 housing assistance in Florida?


Households that can’t afford housing with their overall income and do not make more than 50 percent of the median income for the area they reside in are eligible for Section 8. However, there are other factors that play into your approval. These factors are:


  • Age
  • State of residence
  • Citizenship status
  • Previous rental history
  • Assets
  • Criminal background


It should be noted that certain situations will take priority over households with just low income. This applies to households with special needs, disabilities, or an elderly individual. Additionally, households with very low income or extremely low income are going to be prioritized over low-income households.



How can I apply for Section 8 housing in Florida?


To apply, applicants may go to their local housing authority and follow the established application process while applying. Participants can also apply online through the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity website.



What is the process for finding a Section 8 rental property in Florida?


Applicants can find rentals through their local PHA (public housing authority) site or listings from landlords in their area. There are websites for specific situations too, such as the Assisted Housing Inventory, which is a database of multifamily rentals in Florida that receive funding to offer affordable housing.


Another resource that applicants can refer to is the Independent Living Research Utilization website. This site offers options for assisted living for seniors and people with disabilities.



Are there any waiting lists for Section 8 in Florida, and if so, how long is the typical wait time?


If your application is processed and approved, you will be placed on a waiting list. Sometimes applications are eligible but are rejected because of how high the demand is depending on the area you’ve applied to.


The wait time varies. In areas with high demand or a lack of funding, the waiting list can be years long. It can take months for an application to be processed, but once it is, housing authorities will either confirm your place on the waiting list by mail or online through a portal.



What responsibilities do tenants have in Section 8 housing in Florida?


Tenants must comply with the lease agreement, pay their rent on time, and report on changes in the family’s income. Tenants must also maintain their homes, ensuring that they remain suitable for your family and neighbors. Depending on the landlord and area that the tenant resides, there may be more rules and responsibilities.



Can I transfer my Section 8 voucher from another state to Florida, or vice versa?


Yes, a tenant may transfer their voucher to any state within the U.S., Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands so long as the housing authority controlling the voucher program has jurisdiction over the area where the tenant wants to transfer.



Are there any additional programs or resources available for Section 8 participants in Florida, such as homeownership programs or supportive services?


The Florida Housing Finance Corporation is a resource that offers information on first time homebuyer programs, lower interest rates on loans and purchase assistance, as well as providing a range of affordable housing options.


Habitat for Humanity is another well-known resource that helps homeowners build their homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage, and they even have storefronts where furniture, cabinets, building materials, and more are donated and resold at an affordable price.



If you are interested in applying for Section 8, you can contact your local PHA to learn more about the process. You can also visit the HUD website for more information about the program and to find a PHA in your area.