Get help - Section 8 application online What is section 8?
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Where can I apply for Section 8 in Chicago?

How can I apply for Section 8 in Chicago, Illinois and get rental assistance?

The only way to apply for Section 8 is when PHA's have open waiting lists and are accepting applications online or in person. Because of recent events, most Housing Authorities will only accept applications online via their website. The Section 8 voucher program, allows tenants to take a voucher to a private landlord to secure low-income housing on the private market. Voucher tenants pay 30-40% of their income to rent and the housing authority pays the difference, up to a specific payment standard, directly to the landlord. Landlords sign a contract with the housing authority, and tenants have a lease directly with the landlord. This arrangement forms a three-way contractual agreement binding together the housing authority, tenant and landlord. Tenants are eligible for Section 8 vouchers if their income is 30% of area median income or below. HUD rules require that all members of a household be able to prove legal residency. For a full list of HUD rules, see the HUD application and Housing Choice Voucher Program Guidebook. All voucher programs are also governed by the housing authority’s administrative plan. The Chicago Housing Authority has a Section 8 Administrative Plan, which would be one example. Program policies require that voucher holders report changes to income and household size within 10 days to the housing authority. Other program policies require that the unit be maintained by both landlord and tenant to a set of federal Housing Quality Standards or HQS. This requires regular inspection by the PHA and compliance by the landlord. Any unit that will be rented to someone with a voucher must pass the housing authoritys HQS inspection before the voucher can be used for that unit.

The Housing Choice Voucher rogram places the choice of housing in the hands of the individual family. A very low-income family is selected by the PHA to participate is encouraged to consider several housing choices to secure the best housing for the family needs. A housing voucher holder is advised of the unit size for which it is eligible based on family size and composition. The housing unit selected by the family must meet an acceptable level of health and safety before the PHA can approve the unit. When the voucher holder finds a unit that it wishes to occupy and reaches an agreement with the landlord over the lease terms, the PHA must inspect the dwelling and determine that the rent requested is reasonable. The PHA determines a payment standard that is the amount generally needed to rent a moderately-priced dwelling unit in the local housing market and that is used to calculate the amount of housing assistance a family will receive. However the payment standard does not limit and does not affect the amount of rent a landlord may charge or the family may pay. A family which receives a housing voucher can select a unit with a rent that is below or above the payment standard. The housing voucher family must pay 30% of its monthly adjusted gross income for rent and utilities, and if the unit rent is greater than the payment standard the family is required to pay the additional amount. By law, whenever a family moves to a new unit where the rent exceeds the payment standard, the family may not pay more than 40 percent of its adjusted monthly income for rent.

The PHA calculates the maximum amount of housing assistance allowable. The maximum housing assistance is generally the lesser of the payment standard minus 30% of the family's monthly adjusted income or the gross rent for the unit minus 30% of monthly adjusted income to apply for Section 8 in Columbia South Carolina or Charleston or completeing a Section 8 application for Chicago, Illinois.

How did the Section 8 rental assistance program begin in Chicago, Illinois?

Section 8 takes its name from Section 8 of the Housing Act of 1937, a significant piece of New Deal legislation enacted during the Great Depression. Under Section 8 of the Housing Act (which has been repeatedly amended through the years), the federal government extends both tenant-based and project-based assistance to low-income households. Tenant-based assistance travels with the tenant and enables a family to move from one privately-owned apartment to another without losing the rent subsidy. Project-based assistance is tied to a specific property and benefits only the residents who live at that location.

In 1983, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), acting under Section 8 of the Housing Act (as amended by the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974), implemented the first federal housing choice voucher program to provide tenant-based rent subsidies to families seeking housing in private sector apartments. The housing choice vouchers were to be administered through local public housing agencies, such as the Chicago Housing Authority.



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