Eligible families often want to see a Section 8 rental list, but whether or not that list is current depends on the local housing authority. Luckily, other avenues are available for finding rental information.
Section 8 Information
Section 8 is a government program, funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which provides rental assistance to families who qualify for Section 8. Families must be at least 80 percent below the median income for that area, with most families receiving assistance at 50 percent below. Local Public Housing Authorities (PHA) usually run the program at a city or county level.
Section 8 Rental List
Depending on your local PHA, a list of Section 8 properties and/or property owners may be available. Not every PHA will maintain such a list; even if they do, not all the properties may be preapproved or up to HUD standards for Section 8. The list may simply be for convenience of both property owners and Section 8 applicants.
Some online apartment search websites have low income apartment listings, with some even having the option to choose apartments that rent to Section 8 participants. Check out RentBlurb.com for information regarding low income and Section 8 rentals in your area of the country.
Go Section 8
Go Section 8 is a major online listing of Section 8 rentals. It lists qualified properties across the country in one major unit. Families can access the information by visiting Go Section 8 online or by calling the toll-free number of 866-466-7328. Housing authorities can also print out listings from the website and give them to prospective tenants. The list is free for all prospective Section 8 tenants. Since the site only lists Section 8 options, using this website cuts down on the amount of time tenants spend trying to find a qualified listing through other online apartment searches.
Public Housing Authority Listings
Families can also visit their local PHA to find out if they have up-to-date listings of rental units that qualify for Section 8. Stop into your local PHA today to apply and see a listing.
Searching for Section 8 Housing
Before you begin your search for an apartment or house in any Section 8 rental list, it is important to make sure you applied for Section 8. If you do not apply and are not approved, you cannot use the program to help pay for rent. Additionally, many areas have waiting lists for Section 8 vouchers. During your wait period, the list may change. Therefore, it makes sense to wait until your name gets closer to the top of the list before finding housing.
Keep in mind that the HUD program bases their costs and assistance on the fair market values (FMR) of apartments in your area. This information changes yearly and is in Schedule B - FMR Tables. The value increases with the number of bedrooms in a unit. HUD guidelines will approve a particular size of unit based on your family size. If you want a larger unit than set in the guidelines for your family size, it is frequently up to you to pay the difference in price.
More Public Assistance
Families who qualify for Section 8 may be eligible to receive more public assistance. If you are struggling to make ends meet and meet Section 8 qualifications, it is worth checking out whether you qualify for food stamps, WIC or help with car seats. LIHEAP, or the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, is another resource that helps families pay to heat their homes in cold climates during the winter.
If you do not qualify for Section 8 and cannot utilize Section 8 rental lists, you may still be eligible for low income housing help. Check with area housing authorities to see if you qualify for other programs available through the state, county and city.
Using a Section 8 list of rental properties cuts down on the time it can take to find suitable housing. However, keep in mind that the listing still needs to be HUD-approved. Remember that if you need to save money, watch your budget and apply for other assistance to get ahead.