Section 8 requirements in Hawaii are in place to help those who genuinely need government assistance to pay for adequate housing, and to make sure that only those with the direst of circumstances are able to access taxpayer-funded programs.
Those individuals and households and/or families who believe they meet Section 8 qualifications may apply for the program, which is also known as the Housing Choice Voucher Program. This program is administered by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, also known as the HUD.
To qualify for Section 8 eligibility, anyone submitting an application must meet the criteria developed by the HUD, as well as any rules and regulations that may augment them in the state of Hawaii, and enforced by Hawaii’s Public Housing Authorities (PHAs).
Among the criteria most likely encountered in the application process include things like: Section 8 income limits, citizenship status, immigration status and some behavioral considerations, as they relate to past rental history, as well as any relevant criminal history.
Many Hawaiians will ask themselves, “Do I qualify for low income housing?” when hearing about the program. For those wishing to learn more about HUD housing requirements, one good place to start is to familiarize yourself with the HUD’s definition for the term “family.”
While it seems obvious, the HUD differs slightly from what is intuitive for most people. According to the HUD, a family is defined very simply as one or more people who live together, making it far more flexible than what you may think.
For the HUD Section 8 requirements, people who are living together are considered family members, and may receive the benefits of the Housing Choice Voucher Program, another name for the Section 8 program, without having to be bound by blood, nor do they have to be connected by marriage, or any other legal framework.
The HUD separates families into three distinct groups:
A Section 8 qualification definition for these distinctions means that a family is a household where the head is not considered disabled, and is not over the age of 62. If one or more members of your household is disabled or elderly, but is not the head of the household, your household will still be considered a family, and not elderly or disabled.
The most prominent section 8 requirement used to render a decision on an application for housing benefits through this program is income. There are Section 8 income limits which an individual, family or household may garner, which determines financial eligibility.
Each year, the HUD adjusts the income levels, so it is important to have the more recent criteria before seeking to learn how to apply for benefits. These HUD income limit qualifications take many factors into consideration.
These factors include things like the size of a household applying for HUD benefits, the county and state in which the applicants reside and the median income for that particular geographic region.
For example, a married couple is placed into a higher income bracket, since there are two people in that household capable of working. The HUD income limits are separated into three categories:
In general, Section 8 requirements, with regard to household income, usually grant assistance only to those households whose applications demonstrate their income as either the very-low bracket or the extremely-low income bracket.
Section 8 housing eligibility requires that applicants maintain integrity with other criteria, notably one’s presence within the country, and residence within the state of Hawaii.
Those applicants wishing to successfully navigate the HUD’s process and qualify for HUD housing requirements must be able to prove that they are either citizens of the United States, or that they are legal resident aliens with the proper green card documents.
Immigrants must be able to produce the proper visa paperwork in order to be eligible. Furthermore, anyone wishing to qualify for Section 8 to receive the benefits in Hawaii must show that they are legal residents of the state, as well. The Hawaii Public Housing Authority (HPHA) covers the island of Oahu.
However, each county in Hawaii administers its own housing program. Additionally, vouchers are typically portable, so if you are moving to Hawaii with a voucher, it is valid in any county that already accepts them.
Section 8 requirements to receive benefits in Hawaii extend beyond meeting the guidelines for having a family, legal residency and an appropriate level of income. The other criteria that is necessary to meet in order to qualify for the Housing Choice Voucher Program has more to do with the past behavior of an applicant.
Specifically, the agencies involved, HUD, the Hawaii Public Housing Authority typically look at someone’s rental history, as one factor. Those who evaluate applications look for past evictions to determine eligibility. They will also investigate to find out if an applicant failed to pay any money due to a PHA in Hawaii as well as other states.
Having a poor rental history that shows multiple evictions or failure to pay money owed to PHAs is not favorable in the application process. Learning the disqualification factors is equally as important as reviewing the program’s qualifications.
HUD’s Section 8 requirements also necessitate a criminal background check. Having criminal offenses in one’s background may produce a negative impact on an application, however it is not an automatic disqualifier, in many instances.
PHAs and the HUD tend to be more lenient with those who may have an arrest record, as opposed to a conviction record. Section 8 requirements are less tolerant to those with felony convictions, as opposed to misdemeanors, as well. Crimes that are violent in nature, or are drug-related crimes, are an even bigger obstacle to overcome when applying for HUD benefits.
However, PHAs and individual states may deal with criminal history differently, as it applies to Section 8 qualifications; even within states, different counties may handle a particular set of circumstances differently.
The amount of time that has passed since the offense, as well as the seriousness of the offense, are both mitigating factors. Anyone convicted of a crime of a sexual nature is not permitted to receive HUD benefits of any kind.
To contact your Hawaii HUD office, click here.