Housing Vouchers for Dream Homes

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Everyone has imagined their dream house, closely resembling Barbie’s dream house. Whether it has floor-to-ceiling windows, hardwood floors, or a porch swing, everyone conjured up a dream house for the future. However, a house is not an easy investment, let alone a dream house. For those who are struggling to make ends meet, you would just like to live somewhere acceptable. (Running water and a safe neighborhood is a more realistic dream, anyways.)

Ever want to live in an affordable home in an area that has a low crime rate, is safe, and is a profitable investment in the long run? It is now possible through a variety of different programs. These programs can help those struggling with their finances get the house of their dreams. With efforts underway on both a state and federal level, it’s not just housing subsidies that are taking off at full throttle. You will find that vouchers can open many doors for many who have limited or low income.

What Makes Vouchers Tick?

It’s a question that has left many scratching their heads, especially those who need it the most. If you are struggling to qualify for them, you are probably tossing and turning at night with questions. The best thing you can start doing is refer to Section 8.

What is Section 8 you might ask? Well, you don’t have to worry; it’s not a part of any long, boring textbook. The Section 8 Assistance program is an initiative created by the Housing & Urban Development department. This program offers vouchers that can assist struggling families who want to get the home of their dreams. These vouchers will pay part of the sum required in the potential house’s expense. This means that you can save to attend to other matters for your future. (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development)

Determining Eligibility

And, here we come to the meat of the matter. This is probably the most nerve-wracking part of the whole process. You are probably wondering what you could do to guarantee an acceptance. To save you the trouble, you are eligible based on who you are and what your situation is. (If they like you, then they will swipe right. If not, there are other programs willing to help you too.)

Eligibility is a complex issue that is in accordance with the policies of the Public Housing Authority (PHA). The first requirement is that the applicant must either be a US citizen or a legal immigrant (such as a green card holder). Assessment criteria also include family size in relation to the total income that a household receives. If you have insufficient funds to sustain your family of a certain size, then that would make you a better candidate to qualify for the program. (Eligibility)

The local Public Housing Authority determines the priority and immediate assistance based on financial need, as determined by the local Public Housing Authority. The process may be long and time-consuming. However, you need to understand that these programs are working to help a lot of people.

Do Your Part, After the Deal

Once you receive your housing vouchers, you are expected to do your part in keeping up with the property expenses. The Housing Voucher Program will provide vouchers that will partially pay for the housing unit. However, you will have to pay the difference between the rent\purchase and the voucher. Additionally, you should also pay for the maintenance expenses for the upkeep of the house. (There is no such thing as a free house, but you can get it at a reduced price.)

You should notify your local Public Housing Authority if there are emergencies. This includes a sudden death of a family member staying at the household. In the case of an emergency, this might change your financial status and position in the Section 8 Program. (It is not as scary as it sounds; the Public Housing Authority just wants to touch base with you and make sure everything is okay.)

Advantages & Disadvantages of Section 8 Assistance

It’s important to note that not every housing program is perfect. As always, demand is high but there is almost never sufficient supply to meet the demand; this is the main challenge that housing programs face. Affordable housing programs and voucher programs give priority to those who are most in need of benefits and immediate housing; that is just how it operates. Sometimes, those benefits are not sufficient to meet the demand or there is a lack of available Section 8 properties.  Even if you qualify for them, you might not be able to enjoy the benefits.

Just like with everything in life, there are advantages and disadvantages when it comes to the Section 8 program. It is your job to find out whether the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

Advantages of the Section 8 Program

There are three main advantages when it comes to the Section 8 Assistance Program. You will find that the Program is more flexible and it will provide increased access to public benefits. Additionally, you will also find improvement in your children’s education. (It may all be in your head, but the truth is, where you live can make a difference.)

More Flexible

The US Housing & Urban Development prides itself in that the Section 8 program offers prospective tenants a range of different options, and that is indeed true. Other housing assistance programs limit prospective tenants to a specified number of choices. On the other hand, the vouchers from the Section 8 Program give them the opportunity and luxury of looking into private properties and dealing with a private landlord. Though there are landlords who do not have prospective tenants with Section 8 vouchers, those in the program have a lot more flexibility in the properties they get to choose.

Increased Access to Public Benefits

More access to public benefits means that you can reach public benefits through your public housing case manager or through new housing services. During the voucher application process, other public services will be available to you, based on your eligibility. For example, you could be eligible for Food Stamps and not know it. While you are applying for a housing voucher, you will find that you are notified of your eligibility for food stamps as well.

Improved Health

Housing vouchers are only used for housing units, in accordance with the Housing Quality Standards. This means that your housing unit through the Program must commit to the Housing Quality Standards at all times. By receiving a housing voucher, you remain protected from unhealthy or inappropriate living arrangements. You will be relocated to an improved neighborhood that will enhance your mental and physical state. (You will not just move in wherever and leave yourself there. The Section 8 Program will make sure that you are adapting to your new home well and that you are taken care of.)

Educational Opportunities for Children

Due to the change in location for your housing unit, most children in recipient families have more space to succeed in their education. The improved environment allows children to concentrate on their education, which often leads to higher achievement and encouragement to pursue higher education.

Disadvantages of the Section 8 Program

Unfortunately, there are disadvantages to the Section 8 Program, because nothing is perfect. You will find that you are stuck on the waiting list for a long time or you might not be able to receive assistance at all. As much as the Section 8 program helps, not everyone can make the cut. If you are living outside the area of your Section 8 Program, you also might not be able to receive assistance

Families Left Out

Section 8 Assistance accepts families whose income is 50 percent or lower than the area’s median income. In addition, for prospective tenants whose income is 30 percent or less than their area’s income, housing agencies reserve 75 percent of the assistance funds for them. It is this policy that has significantly marginalized needy families living in relatively expensive cities with high rent rates. Since the priority is given to the neediest families, families who are eligible for the vouchers might have difficulty receiving the benefits.

Waiting Lists Are Long (Too Long, Until You Are a Bundle of Nerves)

There is a very high demand for housing vouchers. This leads to the demand for assistance exceeding the limited funds available. (There are a lot of people who depend on the Section 8 Program, just like you might be.) Due to the high demand, you will find that the waiting periods are long. The Department of Housing and Urban Development closes its waiting list when there are more families on the list than necessary, to be able to help in the future. When most people on the list have received assistance, then the waiting list is re-opened for applicants.

Get ready to wait for up to one or two years because there are many needy families who require the benefits as soon as possible. The only way you can try to speed things up is to apply to as many waiting lists as possible. You could be a priority, depending on your current situation (that is if you are disabled, homeless, or elderly). (Connecticut State Department of Housing)

Increased Localization Influences Preferences

The Section 8 program is designed so that every local community can cater to its own individual interests. Local residents are favored over those who live outside of the area, even if that family is needy. This means that you might not be as lucky as those who live in the area of the Section 8 Program. (It is not fair, but that is the reality of the Section 8 Program. There is no discrimination, only inconvenience. Don’t worry; you will get the help you need.)


In conclusion, if you are financially struggling and need a place to live, then you should consider the Section 8 Assistance Program. Housing vouchers are provided to recipients that partially pay for housing units. As a recipient, you are required to pay the difference between the actual rent\purchase and the amount of the housing voucher. You will also need to pay for the maintenance and upkeep of the housing unit.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development created this program to help low-income families. You will need to meet the eligibility requirement, in order to receive a housing voucher. The eligibility requirements are citizenship, eviction history, and more.

Keep In Mind That…

You will find that there are advantages to the Section 8 Program, as well as setbacks.

The first advantage is that the Program is very flexible and tries its best to remain that way. You will also find that you will gain more access to public benefits. During the application process, they will also inform you of other public benefits that could assist with your situation. Additionally, there is a better educational success rate for children, due to the change in environment. Finally, your housing unit (under the Program and not in general) must remain to the Housing Quality Standards. This means that you will not live in an unsanitary or unsafe housing unit; all housing units must remain in accordance with the Housing Quality Standards at all times.

The disadvantage to the Section 8 Program is that you might land yourself on the waiting list for a long time. It could take years for you to receive financial assistance. There is also a possibility that you will not receive assistance at all. There are families that are left out since Section 8 gives priority to the neediest families and those who live in the area of the Public Housing Agency.

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