Maryland’s Section 8 Housing Program

Eligibility Team
Researcher & Writer
December 13, 2017

The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development  oversees the Housing Choice Voucher Program throughout the state and at  the local level in 10 counties. There are also public housing authorities in Maryland that administer the program at a local level in the other 14 counties.

The  Housing Choice Voucher Program, also referred to as Section 8, is a  federal initiative that’s funded by the Department of Housing and Urban  Development (HUD). The program is designed to help low-income families,  seniors and disabled individuals obtain safe, affordable housing by  issuing a voucher that subsidizes a portion of the monthly rent. Voucher  recipients are able to select a rental unit on the private market as  long as it meets basic requirements.

Section 8 Eligibility in Maryland

Section  8 programs provide much needed rental housing assistance in Maryland,  however, the number of vouchers given to the state is limited. Because  of this, only families in the greatest need for financial assistance  will be eligible for Section 8 housing vouchers.

It’s up to the  local public housing authorities (PHAs) in Maryland to determine who is  and isn’t eligible for Section 8 assistance. The key determining factor  is whether or not an applicant meets the income limit requirement.

Section 8 Income Limits in Maryland

Generally  speaking, only families and individuals with an annual household income  at or below 50% of the median household income for their area will be  eligible for Section 8 assistance in Maryland. Before taking the time to  apply, it’s best to check the Maryland income limits for the current year. HUD has defined the income limits for the major  cities and metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in the state based on  median household income and family size.

Maryland Section 8 Eligibility FAQ

How do I qualify for Section 8 housing in Maryland?

The  first step to becoming eligible for the Maryland Section 8 housing  program is to apply. Applicants who don’t meet the income requirements  have certain criminal convictions or outstanding debts with a landlord  will be ineligible.

How do I apply for Section 8 Housing in Maryland?

Applications  will be available through the local PHA or the Maryland Department of  Housing and Community Development depending on where you live. Some  Maryland PHAs now provide online application forms, and all PHAs should  have hard copies that can be submitted by mail or in person. You’ll be  asked to provide information about your household income, assets,  employment, family composition, current housing, past housing history  and any other benefits you are currently receiving.

Are there housing requirements for the Section 8 voucher program in Maryland?

Yes.  Voucher recipients are allowed to select their own rental property, but  the property must meet three requirements. 1) The rental must meet the HUD Housing Quality Standards (HQS). 2) The rental must be offered at a fair rate that’s comparable  to similar homes in the area. 3) The voucher recipient should pay no  more than 40% of their adjusted monthly income on housing and utilities.

Section 8 Housing Openings in Maryland

Each  PHA in Maryland is allotted a set amount of vouchers, and once they are  awarded all remaining applicants will be put on a waiting list. Once  the waiting list is full, the PHA will stop accepting applications. In  some areas of Maryland where the need for assistance is substantial, the  waiting list can be closed for months or even years.

Section 8 Waiting Lists in Maryland

Managing  the waiting lists is a huge undertaking for Maryland PHAs. Each housing  authority will decide when to open their waiting list, the positions of  applications on the list and whether an applicant should be removed.

Here are two examples of how Maryland PHAs manage their waiting list:

Baltimore Section 8 Waiting List

The City of Baltimore housing authority places applicants on the waiting list on a first come first served basis.

Rockville Section 8 Waiting List

The  Rockville Housing Enterprises PHA will periodically reach out to  applicants on the waiting list to make sure they still qualify for  assistance. Those who don’t respond will be dropped from the waiting  list.

Steps to Using Your Maryland Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher

Once  you finally receive a Maryland Section 8 voucher you’ll have to follow  the program guidelines to put it to use. All voucher recipients must  follow these basic steps:

Step 1. Complete the PHA Interview

After  you’ve been approved for a voucher the local PHA will schedule an  interview. A PHA representative will review your information to ensure  you still meet the Section 8 requirements.

Step 2. Find Eligible Housing

You  can choose any apartment, townhome or house on the private market as  long as it meets the requirements noted above. The landlord must also be  willing to participate in the Section 8 program.

Step 3. Notify the PHA to Line Up an Inspection Finalize the Lease

Once  you’ve found an eligible housing unit contact your PHA. The PHA will  have to schedule an inspection of the property to verify it meets the  HUD HQS.

Step 4. Finalize the Lease and Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) Contract

If  the property passes the inspection you can then finalize a lease with  the landlord that’s at least 12 months long. The landlord must also  execute a HAP contract with the PHA.

Step 5. Comply With the Requirements and Complete the Annual PHA Review

In  order to continue receiving assistance each month, Maryland Housing  Choice Voucher recipients must comply with the terms of their lease and  the Section 8 program. The PHA will also conduct an annual review of the  property and look over your information to verify that everything is  still in compliance.

Eligibility Team
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Eligibility Team
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