Low-income, disabled and elderly Texans can obtain safe and decent rental housing at a fair cost through Section 8. The Housing Choice Voucher Program subsidizes a portion of a tenant's rent. Participants find and negotiate a lease for the rental that fits their needs. Landlords and rental units must undergo an application and inspection process. The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs funds Section 8, and is one of many public housing authorities that administers Section 8 vouchers throughout the state.
Locate A Housing Authority Near You
A public housing authority covers a specific jurisdiction within the state. However, not all counties and cities offer Section 8. Find out if your town's housing authority offers Section 8 by searching the Department of Housing and Urban Development database of public housing authorities, or PHAs. The Texas Housing Association also maintains a list.
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Call or visit the PHA or check its website for waiting list and application instructions. Due to the high demand and limited funding for Section 8, you likely will need to sign up on a waiting list before you can apply for the program. Even that option may not be available at all times. For example, at the time of publication, the Housing Authority of the City of Brownsville had closed its waiting list and stopped accepting new applicants until further notice.
HUD recommends applying with multiple PHAs to improve your chances of acceptance and response times. You don't need to reside in the PHA's jurisdiction at the time of application.
Review Income and Household-Size Requirements
Applicants must meet annual gross income limits, which can't exceed 50 percent of HUD's median income guidelines for Texas. Seventy-five percent of voucher recipients must fall within extremely low income guidelines, earning at or below 30 percent of the area median income. Remaining applicants can earn up to 50 percent of the median income, which is considered very low income. Limits vary by household size. For example, a 4-person household in Cameron County can earn no more than $24,250 to qualify as extremely low income, while a 2-person household can earn up to $15,930.
Note Other Factors Affecting Eligibility
Eligibility is based on several other factors, including household composition, citizenship status, assets, and necessary expenses such as health and childcare. A PHA requires supporting documents as part of its application verification and interview process. Your application must disclose familial relationships of household members, and provide Social Security numbers and birth dates. The PHA verifies your employment status and cash amounts in bank and investment accounts. You must present birth certificates, proof of legal immigration status and a state ID or Driver's License. The PHA also conducts a criminal and background check for adult household members.
Applicants convicted of violent or drug-related crimes, and applicants who have been evicted or otherwise removed from a government housing program in the past are not eligible for Section 8.
PHAs inspect rental housing annually to ensure that properties meet health and safety standards. PHAs also inspect homes to identify tenant misuse or program violations.