Emergency Section 8 – Eligibility, Priority Waiting List, How to Apply In 2023
If you are struggling to find affordable housing and can demonstrate sufficient need, you may be eligible for an Emergency Section 8 voucher. Convicted felons and their family members can also apply for Emergency Section 8, if they meet all the necessary program requirements.
Find out whether you would be eligible to get expedited housing assistance through Section 8 Priority Wait List, and how to start the application process.
Keep in mind that the final determination of your case is up to the local PHA. It will still take at least a few weeks for them to review your case, and make a decision.
What is the Section 8 emergency housing voucher?
Also known as a Priority Waiting List, emergency Section 8 is an expedited application process that enables certain individuals and families to obtain their housing choice voucher much faster than the standard time.
In most cities, the demand for public housing is significantly higher than what the federal and local governments can provide and have the funding for. This means that it may take as long as 2 years for a standard application to be processed and approved by your local PHA.
Typically, large cities have much longer Section 8 waiting lists, where as smaller towns have a much quicker wait time for applicants.
However, in certain cases, the PHA may determine that the application needs to be moved up the waiting list, and you may get your voucher within a matter of weeks or months as opposed to years.
However, its important to note that HUD does NOT provide emergency housing per se, and applications for Section 8 get expedited in rare and very particular cases.
Who is eligible for the priority wait list?
These are general federal guidelines on which individuals would be considered eligible to get top priority on the Section 8 waiting list. The final decision is made by the local PHA, and additional eligibility criteria may apply.
Who is given priority?
– battered women or men fleeing their homes and trying to avoid further abuse (sexual, physical)
– single parents with small children who pay more than 50% of income for rent
– disabled individuals (both mental health and physical disabilities)
– senior citizens
– any person from the above groups who is currently homeless or in danger of becoming homeless
– individuals who lost their home due to a fire or a natural disaster (hurricane, flood, etc)
– individuals facing eviction from current public housing
The determination is based on a point scale. The more points your application gets, the higher you will be placed on the priority list, and the faster your will get your voucher.
Usually, HUD prefers to give priority to very low income senior citizens and disabled individuals.
Its important to realize that in many communities there are individuals and families who struggle with homelessness, and still they are not getting public housing assistance. This largely depends on where you live and the funding that is available.
Emergency assistance for disabled individuals
If you or a family member are not elderly and have a physical or mental disability, you may be eligible for special housing assistance. HUD offers a separate Non-Elderly Disabled Vouchers Program (NED), which is not part of Section 8.
This program is designed for disabled persons who are interested in moving into “special developments”, which is housing that is specifically approved for the program. Disabled individuals who are currently residing in a healthcare institution or a public housing project and want to transition into privately-owned housing are also eligible for these vouchers.
To apply, you don’t need to be a current Section 8 tenant, or be on the list for a Section 8 choice voucher.
Can A Felon Get Emergency Section 8 Housing?
If you or someone in your household has a felony conviction, you may still be able to get emergency section 8 housing. Get more details from our comprehensive guide on how felons can get section 8 housing.
As long as you meet the standard eligibility criteria for public housing and have special circumstances, you may be moved up the priority list.
Individuals whose felonies are under 5 years old, will not be accepted by most PHA’s. Moreover, those with violent/sexual crimes as well as drug sales charges will also be denied eligibility.
In addition to Section 8, there are other housing options for felons.
How to Apply For Emergency Section 8 Housing Voucher
To be considered for the emergency housing voucher you still need to go through the standard application process. Start your section 8 application by finding a local Public Housing Authority. Once you locate the agency in your area, you can go there and fill out the application.
First, you need to meet all the standard eligibility criteria and pass the criminal background check.
Basic criteria to qualify for Section 8 include:
– having a low income (below 50% of the state median income guidelines)
– family size
– showing proof of income
– having proper ID
– proof of citizenship/legal status
– no previous evictions for drug/crime related activities.
On the application, you will be asked to indicate your special circumstances, such as: homelessness, disability, age, etc. The PHA will review your application and determine whether you are eligible to be moved up the priority list.
Its also a good idea to speak with someone at your PHA directly once you submit your application and all supporting documents. Make sure to call them about once a week to remind them of your case. Don’t be embarrassed to call and “bother” them.
People who speak up about their needs have a much greater chance of being heard. Those who silently wait, usually remain in the regular wait line.
If you have questions, feel free to call the HUD Free Assistance Number: (800) 955-2232.
Applying with multiple PHA’s
In some cities, PHA’s are so full that their waiting lists are extremely long, and it may take over 3 years to get your voucher. Some PHA’s also choose to close their lists for a certain amount of time, simply because they cannot meet the demand. In this case, your local PHA will advise you when they will open up the wait list again, and you need to make sure to apply within that window of time. It may take from a few months to a year for enrollment to be open again.
If you are experiencing this situation, its best to apply for Section 8 through multiple local PHAs. This is perfectly legal, but many people are not aware of this option. Applying to numerous housing authorities may shorten your wait time and increase your chances of getting housing assistance much faster.
Note that its permitted by law to apply to the same PHA, once you have already submitted your application. You remain an active member of the wait list unless you withdraw your paperwork and terminate your application.
Will I get a discount on rent if I am eligible for emergency housing assistance?
No. Even if you are able to get a section 8 choice voucher much faster due to special circumstances, you will not be given a discount on your monthly payments for rent.
You will still need to pay rent based on your income. Typically, at least 30% and no more than 40% of your adjusted gross income will go to pay your rent and utilities. The monthly amount you pay cannot be less than $50. The rest will be paid directly to your landlord through the government subsidy.
Where can I live once I get my Section 8 voucher?
Many people mistakenly think that getting section 8 means you have to live in public housing developments or “projects”. However, nothing can be further from the truth.
There are housing development projects that take tenants with a section 8 voucher. However, this voucher also allows you to look for your own private housing. It can be an apartment complex or a single family home in any local neighborhood.
The only criteria is that this apartment or house must meet the section 8 eligibility criteria. In another words, the landlord accepts tenants who have Section 8 and this rental has passed the inspection.
Getting help from a social worker
You may be able to move up the waiting list quicker and have your case re-considered by enlisting the help of a social worker. This is a completely free service that is provided by many types of agencies.
However, most people simply don’t think about this option and how helpful it can be in helping you turn your situation around.
Here are some places you may be able to find a social worker than will take on your case:
– your physician may refer you to a social worker
– some legal aid programs offer social worker assistance
– amazing SOAR program has case workers that are trained to help people with mental disabilities
– local agencies on aging have staff that help the elderly with housing needs
– centers for independent living run by people with disabilities usually have social workers
– many local community agencies have part-time social workers on staff
Ive been homeless for 4 year since 2017 i have got acceted for housin but ive been sleepin from couch to couch and im just tired im 29 woth no kids no income but im workin on to gettin a job very soon .i really need some emergency housin due to my situation .Please Help.Thank you
I am 71 and have been on the active section 8 list for 8 years. Both my mental and physical health have gotten worse (especially) this year. I don’t leave my home because of severe pain, heart failure, C.O.P.D., depression, anxiety and cognitive issues. Due to special diet issues and out of pocket medical expenses, etc. I can no longer pay my rent. My rent is now $560 and my only income is my disability check. I called Holyoke Section 8 on Tuesday and the very nice man said that I was still on the active list but had no idea when my name would come up for actually receiving Section 8. I’m scared that I’m going to be homeless and alone. Many people in my building have Section 8 and say they got it right away. While I’m happy for them, I don’t know what to do to get on the emergency list. I’m afraid I’ll die trying to cope with all this. Please help.
I’m disabled and me and my fiance r staying with friends and 2 families cant live together. Can u plz plz plz hemp5
I’m 66 yes old and disabled.. I’m currently living in an apartment in which the rent has gone from $425 mo to $575 mo .,’my utilities bill runs me about $200 per mo . I need help because between rent and utilities I have very little money left to purchase the personal items I nèed. If there is any assistance you can give me would be truly appreciated.
I need help I’m going to be homeless on the streets in Las Vegas soon because I can’t afford rent
I been homeless since 3-7-19. I need my own place to stay. I been awarded my disability but I’m still homeless. How can I get some housing assistance. I applied for some but was denied because my background history. Can some please help me.
I have had nothing but bad luck with no love, my mom threw a surprise 16th birthday for me & gave me a letter on how much she hated me, my grandmother would tell me I would never amount to nothing and told me I didn’t look like my family that I was adopted, I got thrown out at age 17 because I didn’t let someone drive home drunk & made them stay, got thrown out next day, lived at 4th & Cayuga with a guy who was an alcoholic & drug user but I didn’t want to go back to Mom’s house, worked in cafeteria at septa at 2nd & Wyoming Ave. got raped twice second rape had my daughter, went home to mom & she said to get me and my spic baby out of the house and NEVER WENT BACK.. lived with another alcoholic, verbal, & physically abusive. He passed 7-11-11 my life still isn’t right, I am a School Crossing Guard for 23years lived at my step dad’s house he passed I lost house, moved in with a woman that is crazy & messed with my girls and I… Haven’t seen my grandson in 4 months & he lives 2 doors away. I live in my oldest daughters basement that asks me every day when am I leaving, I need to get out & find a place.. and she knows I can’t afford it and I use my income tax for summer and the state took it for my middle daughter’s school loan, now I have no money to move or live in the summer months, oh and did I say I have fibromyalgia, arthritis in my spine a new hip nerve damage in my shoulders and arms, all documented with my doctor been dealing with this for 15+ years. I am so so tired of fighting, THIS IS MY LAST HOPE AND I DONT HAVE TILL NEXT MONTH OR EVEN A WEEK, MY DAUGHTER WANTS ME OUT SO SHE CAN LIVE FREELY… PLEASE PLEASE HELP ME I HAVE NO WHERE ELSE TO GO….PLEASE HELP ME
THANK YOU EITHER WAY
Crazy,crazy crazy world….bet they get cks tooo lets all be drug addicts my drug will b caffeine sugar tobacco & cbd.
I live in a house that. My brother is helping me stay in right now..but I need help paying the rent and home owner says they will except section 8 assistance..for me to even rent to own..
I’m disabled, homeless and I have my 4 year old granddaughter who also disabled. I was staying with my daughter who got evicted, now no one has any where to go. I been house to house hotel to hotel. I need to get something stable. My health is not handling this well. Not to say my granddaughter needs to be in a stable location.
have been on the the waiting list since 2018 i am currently homeless with not getting anywhere with section 8 im completely disabled and income is not enough to rent someplace i know 3 women that are drug addicts fresh from prison recieved housing assistance 1 week they where released
I am 6 months pregnant, I was in hud housing and got evicted cause there was a smell of marijuana in the apartment. I’m currently homeless. Would I still qualify for section 8 housing? I’m currently unemployed! Or would I qualify for any other assistance in finding a home?
I’m homeless staying couch to couch or in my car with no money for gas or food or anything no where to shower nothing I need help please
ASAP I need help ASAP. My husband left me two years ago and my two children. Out of 28 years in a relationship I had two people move in and rent from me. I was renting a house. So my landlord. Is that it was okay for me to rent two bedrooms? So I end up renting one bedroom to a veteran. Which he totally screwed me out of almost $5,000. He told me that he was taking care of the electric and the gas which now my gas bill is 1500. My electric bill is 1700. He screwed me over my rent. He promised landlord. He was going to pay him $3,000 which can never did now I’m getting evicted in two weeks. I have to be out by February 29th. I am disabled. My son is a disable twenty-four-year-old. He scammed my son out of almost $25,000. He made me and my son by a car and he’s promised my son that he was going to help him pay for it. My son’s a twenty-four-year-old. He’s suicide now the very severely depressed. He totally screwed my son and now he won’t even help my son. He hasn’t made a payment in 3 months which is $2,800 that he owes and three payments of a car which he’s not going to pay for it. So that means they’re going to take away the car they’re going to garnish my son’s wages, which is just started a job and it’s working. So so hard to pay for his his car that he bought so his mom could have a car which the veteran John, said. He was going to help my son pay for its and me which he totally screws for 3 months never made a payment for the car never paid for the gas never pay for the electric what she was telling my mother and everybody in my whole family that he was paying for everything and that he was okay with it because he made a lot of money because he was a retired veteran. I’ma disability I only get $900 a month. Please if there’s anybody out there that can help me. I would really appreciate it. I live in Skokie, Illinois. I need a place ASAP either a two-bedroom. I can always spend $900 a month. If there’s anybody out there that can maybe help me with my gas my electricity bill. And payment for my car for my son. I don’t know what to do. My son is very suicide. He will not will not talk to me ever again. He’s very very upset with this man this man took my son under his shoulder and call him son and tried to be like his father. This John man is a child molester. He’s not a good man. He even wrote fight fake checks to the Village of Skokie. For the water department, he wrote big Chex to my girlfriend. He scammed a lot of money off of me and my kids and now he’s getting a mother and a daughter evicted out of her house. We have nowhere to go. We don’t have a security deposit, please if there’s anybody out there that can help us, I would appreciate it. Thank you very much.