Florida’s Section 8 Housing ProgramUpdated November 9, 2017 Section 8
The Florida Section 8 Housing Voucher Program is part of a federally-funded program that helps lower-income, disabled and elderly residents get affordable housing in the state. Qualifying families are able to choose a suitable rental unit and receive a Section 8 housing choice voucher for financial assistance with monthly rent and utilities.
However, demand for Section 8 assistance in Florida is high. In most cities, there are wait lists to receive aid. Each public housing authority (PHA) may also set their own jurisdictional regulations for awarding Section 8 vouchers.
Section 8 Eligibility in Florida
In order to qualify for Section 8 housing assistance in Florida, you must meet the minimum requirements. The requirements are based on residency and income.
Residency Requirements for Florida Section 8
There are two basic residency requirements for receiving Section 8 benefits in Florida. Applicants must be U.S. citizens (some immigrant statuses also qualify) and Florida residents.
Section 8 Income Limits in Florida
Section 8 eligibility is largely based on household income. Every year the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) establishes income limits based on county, median income and family size. Income limit is broken into three categories:
- Low Income (80% of median income)
- Very Low Income (50% of the median income)
- Extremely Low Income (60% of the very low income level/30% of the median income)
In most cases, a family’s household income must fall into the very low or extremely low categories to be eligible for Section 8 assistance.
COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT FLORIDA SECTION 8 ELIGIBILITY
How Do You Qualify for Section 8 Housing in Florida?
To qualify for Section 8 housing in Florida you must first apply. You’ll have to provide household and financial information, which is used to determine if you qualify for assistance.
How Do I Apply for Section 8 Housing in Florida?
Applying for the Section 8 program is done through your local PHA. Some PHAs offer online applications while others require that a paper application be submitted.
What Are the Housing Requirements?
The Section 8 program will help pay for housing, but only if it meets the program requirements. Essentially, a housing unit must be safe and sanitary to be eligible. Section 8 voucher recipients are also required to pay 30% of their adjusted income towards the rent.
Section 8 Housing Openings in Florida
Section 8 housing lists are open at different times depending on your city. There are dozens of Florida housing authorities, so if you have recently relocated it’s important to understand the local regulations.
Section 8 Waiting Lists in Florida
Each PHA decides how its local waiting list is managed. Two of the largest Florida public housing authorities, Miami and Orlando, are examples of how Section 8 waiting lists can vary from one to the next:
- Miami Section 8 Waiting List
In Miami, qualified applicants are put on a randomly ranked and numbered waiting list. The closer you are to one the sooner you’ll be selected for a voucher.
- Orlando Section 8 Waiting List
The Orlando Housing Authority manages 2,400 housing choice vouchers, which are given out after applicants are put on the waiting list. However, the OHA bumps applicants up the list if they meet any of the local preferences.
Steps to Receiving Your Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers
After waiting for your housing assistance to be approved, it’s finally time to receive your Section 8 housing choice voucher. Here are the steps that normally must be taken before you can receive assistance.
- Step 1. Complete an Interview
Many PHAs will conduct an in-person interview with applicants once their waiting list number is selected. The primary purpose is to verify that you still qualify for assistance and update information as needed.
- Step 2. Applicant Briefing
Some PHAs will hold applicant briefings to inform program participants about how the vouchers work and what requirements must be met to continue receiving assistance.
- Step 3. Find a Suitable Home
All rentals must meet the Section 8 housing requirements. The rent must be considered reasonable. The home must be considered safe and sanitary.
- Step 4. Pass the PHA Inspection
Before your local housing authority will allow you to use the voucher, a representative must first inspect the property to ensure it meets the program requirements.
- Step 5. Sign the lease
After the inspection is complete you can then enter into a lease with the landlord.
- Step 6. Complete the landlord and PHA Contract
At the same time the lease is being executed, the landlord will also enter into a housing assistance payment contract with the local PHA. The landlord may also be required to attend a Landlord Briefing at the housing authority.
- Step 7. Annual Inspections
At least a few months before lease renewal the local PHA will schedule a time for an annual inspection. The inspector is essentially making sure the housing unit still meets the program requirements. The PHA may also review your household income and family makeup to determine if you still qualify for assistance.