Finding Out If You Qualify for the Housing Choice Vouchers Program

Verify that you meet the basic qualifications

Applicants must be a United States citizen or a noncitizen who has eligible immigration status. You should be at least 18 years old. Single persons are eligible, as well as households with or without children. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) commonly refers to a household as a “family,” so don’t be confused with the term. A “family” consists of one or more persons, and having children is not required to be considered a “family.”

Calculate your household’s income

The household must make less than 50% of the Area Median Income (AMI) of the area they are applying to. This is referred to as the income limit, and the amount increases for each additional member of the household (including children). The income limit in a specific area can be found by searching for your city or county using Affordable Housing Online's search bar on the top of this page, and scrolling down to the chart in the “Understanding Affordable Housing - Rental Assistance” section. The income limits for this program are in the chart titled “HUD Rental Assistance Income Limits.” Housing offices also often provide the income limits in its public notice announcing the opening, or the information may be available on its website. A household’s income is determined by its gross income, which is the amount of money received before subtracting taxes and other expenses. Employment income earned by household members younger than 18 years old is not included.

Find out if there are any restrictions or preferences

A lot of waiting lists have preferences. This means that applicants who qualify for the preferences will receive assistance before applicants who do not. Because of the preferences, applicants who do not qualify may have to wait longer to receive assistance. Examples of preferences that may appear on a waiting list include the elderly, persons with disabilities, and local residents. Further information about preferences can be found here. It is important to emphasize that preferences are not requirements. Applicants may still apply, even if they do not qualify for any preferences.

Be aware of common factors that may disqualify an application.

Applicants are not required to have good credit, but a credit report may be a factor in qualification. For the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, there is no credit check to qualify. However, Section 8 HCV participants will likely be required to submit a credit report to the landlord of the unit they wish to rent.

The household’s rental history is taken into consideration as well. A list of prior rental history may be required, including the address of the property and landlord contact information. A household will be disqualified if any member has been evicted from HUD housing in the last five years, had assistance terminated by a housing authority for any reason, or owes money to a housing authority.

Putting false information on the application may not only disqualify you but also get you in legal trouble. Be truthful with the information you write on an application. If you are unsure about what to write down in a section of the application, contact the housing office.