The Georgia Housing Choice Voucher Program, better known as the Section 8 program, provides housing assistance for lower-income residents. Since the Section 8 program was first implemented, countless families in Georgia have been able to secure safe, affordable housing that would otherwise be unattainable. Families that qualify can use their Housing Choice Voucher to get help covering the cost of monthly rent.
Housing Choice Vouchers are federally funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). However, each state is charged with dispersing funds and managing their own Section 8 program. At the local level, the Section 8 program is managed by public housing authorities (PHAs) in Georgia.
Section 8 Eligibility in Georgia
Like other states, Georgia limits Section 8 eligibility to families in serious financial need. The elderly and disabled Georgia residents can also receive assistance through the Section 8 program.
Section 8 Income Limits in Georgia
The chief eligibility factor for the Section 8 program is household income. HUD has established income limits for each metro statistical area (MSA) in Georgia. The income limits are based on the MSA’s median household income and the number of persons in the household.
There are three income brackets: low-income, very low-income and extra low-income.
Georgia Section 8 Eligibility FAQ
How do I qualify for Section 8 housing in Georgia?
In addition to meeting the income limits, Section 8 applicants in Georgia must be U.S. citizens or have eligible immigrant status. Eligible applicants will also need to have clean criminal records and be able to pass a screening process.
How do I apply for Section 8 Housing in Georgia?
When the wait lists are open you can submit an application, however, Section 8 applications are somewhat unique in Georgia. Only 10 counties handle their own Section 8 applications. All other applications outside those counties must be filed through the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Applicant Portal. Contact your local PHA to find out how to apply and whether there’s an online form that can be submitted.
How much will I pay for rent if I qualify for a Housing Choice Voucher?
Families that use a housing choice voucher pay up to 30% of their monthly household adjusted income on rent.
Section 8 Housing Openings in Georgia
Applications for the Georgia Section 8 program are only accepted during certain times. When the maximum number of applicants have applied, the process is closed and the eligible applicants are put on a waiting list.
Section 8 Waiting Lists in Georgia
The DCA announces when waiting lists are opened to new applicants. The DCA uses a random lottery system to place applicants on the waiting lists, but that isn’t the case for all PHAs. Each PHA that handles Section 8 applications in Georgia manages their own waiting list placements.
Of the 10 county PHAs, Atlanta and Savannah are among the largest. Not surprisingly, demand for Section 8 vouchers in these areas is high and the waiting lists are often closed. For example:
Atlanta Section 8 Waiting List
The Atlanta Housing Authority currently has 30,000 applicants on its waiting list.
Savannah Section 8 Waiting List
The Housing Authority of Savannah issues over 2,400 vouchers for rental homes and apartments.
Steps to Using Your Georgia Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers
If you received a notice that your Housing Choice Voucher is available you’ll need to act fast to claim it. The DCA or local PHA will provide details regarding the next steps.
Step 1. Attend the Eligibility Appointment
After being selected for a voucher you’ll have a final interview with the local PHA to verify your eligibility.
Step 2. Find Acceptable Housing
The participant is responsible for finding a rental property with meets the HUD requirements. It should also meet the voucher suggestions for rental rate and unit size. Lastly, the landlord must be willing to join the Section 8 program.
Step 3. Agree to the Lease Terms and Inform the PHA/DCA
The participant and landlord will enter into a lease that is at minimum 12 months in length. Before finalizing the lease you’ll need to notify the PHA/DCA. A program representative must inspect the property and approve it in order for the voucher to be applied. Once the rental unit is approved the participant and landlord can execute the lease.
Step 4. Comply With All Lease Terms
Georgia Section 8 voucher recipients must comply with all lease terms and pay rent on time to continue receiving monthly assistance.
Step 5. Pass the Annual Inspection
The PHA will conduct an annual inspection of the property 2-3 months before the lease ends. The objective is to verify that the rental unit still meets the HUD requirements. Your eligibility will also be reviewed to make sure your family still qualifies for assistance.