Are you a single parent? Have you been living with friends or found yourself currently homeless? Finding a safe and secure home where you and your children can reside is important for many reasons. One of the biggest obstacles of getting into an affordable place to live is finances. If you’re limited with your finances or have experienced financial difficulties recently, you may qualify for Section 8 housing or assistance in the Aurora or Chicago, Illinois Area. 

Here are a few tips and answers to some common questions that you might have.

What Is The Illinois Section 8 Housing Voucher Program? 

The Illinois Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program helps low-income families find housing that is affordable in the state of Illinois. This is a federally funded program that is offered through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It’s designed to pay for the bulk of a monthly housing expense for an apartment or house. Depending on many factors, especially your monthly and annual income, you will be awarded a voucher to pay for some or all of your rent. Each voucher that is granted to you is good for the specified date or time frame for which it's approved for. You may have to reapply if it expires. Keep in mind that not all landlords or mortgage companies will accept housing vouchers, so it’s important to ask prior to applying so that there is no confusion.

How Do You Become Eligible And What Is the Application Process?

To become eligible, you and all of the adults in the household will have to qualify in order to get approval. Some quick things to note include:

  • *You must meet the income limits that HUD sets forth
  • *Must be a U.S. citizen or eligible immigrant
  • *Meet HUD’s definition of a family
  • *Pass a general screening to move forward to final underwriting approval
  • *Fill out and complete the written application
  • *Fulfill the interview process
  • *Provide a photo ID and adequate proof of residence and other documentation as requested

You’ll have to meet the federal income guideline criteria, explains the Chicago Housing Authority. In some cases, these criteria are also referred to as a payment standard. Many things are taken into consideration, including the average rental amount on unsubsidized homes in the surrounding area. The maximum voucher amount varies from county to county in Illinois and also depends greatly on how many dependents you claim in your household. Once you fill out the application and provide all of the necessary documentation, an interview time will be set. From there, steps will be taken to process your application and submit it for final review to HUD. Within a few weeks, you’ll be notified of your application approval or disapproval.

Is There A Waiting List Involved?

Chicago Section 8 Waiting List

There is often a waiting list involved with obtaining your voucher once you’re approved. Currently, the Cook county HCV for Chicago residents is closed for new applicants, so you will have to check back periodically.

Aurora Section 8 Waiting List

The greater Aurora area has open availability for five bedroom units in public housing only. One, two, three and four bedroom household units are closed for new applicants at the moment. The HCV program is closed and no new applications are being accepted at this time. The project-based voucher program is open for seniors 55 or over, looking only for a two-bedroom apartment. Visit The Aurora Housing Authority for further information.

Many times, because of high demand and an overabundance of applicants, a lottery is formed. Pre-approved applicants will have their name placed in a lottery bank until their name is drawn. In many cases, it can take several months to get approved. The approval ratio depends on the amount of funding available from HUD and possibly, other local agencies as well.

What Is A Housing Choice Voucher And How Do You Get One?

The housing choice voucher or HCV is actually a document that states exactly how much housing assistance you’ve been approved for. When you have final approval and have received the voucher, you can start looking for an apartment for you and your children. If you currently have a landlord, ask him if he accepts these types of vouchers. If so, you can forward the paperwork to him and he can process your request. Remember that a voucher cannot stop the eviction process. Most vouchers are only good for the month in which eligibility begins. You can apply for a voucher at your local regional office, where a resource center is available for your questions.

Section 8 Income Limits Qualification

HUD sets annual income limits based on how many people are in your family. This is a standard for initial qualification in order to receive a housing subsidy. For example, a limit of 80% of the average median income is a general guideline. So for a family of three, you can’t make over $56,900 per year to qualify. Because this may vary per metro area, always ask a HUD specialist what the income limits are.

Making every penny count is important as a single parent. Utilizing some housing assistance from HUD can get you one step ahead toward building a successful future for you and your children.