Section 8 requirements in Illinois are made in conjunction with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, also known as HUD, in order to ensure that those who apply for and receive assistance through HUD’s Public Housing Choice Voucher Program are demonstrably eligible and in need.
Illinois households can inquire about the Section 8 qualifications prior to submitting an application to verify that they may meet the standards set forth by the HUD.
Section 8 eligibility standards are composed of several factors. These factors are determined by the HUD and then are enforced with the help of the Illinois Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) in the various counties where those looking to obtain housing assistance are located.
Section 8 income limits, immigration status, citizenship status, past history as a renter and even past criminal records and/or arrest records are all part of the criteria considered for applicants.
When an applicant asks, “Do I qualify for low income housing?”, they should begin by understanding the requirements the HUD has for applicants. HUD housing requirements outline the definition of the word “family” that is used to assess households for their eligibility for housing assistance benefits.
A family is simply considered one or more persons living together in the same household. Section 8 eligibility does not necessarily demand that those living in the same household are related by blood or by marriage. In fact, household members are not required to be connected by any conventional legal standards typically associated with family members.
However, HUD does put families and applicants into different categories according to some criteria. These categories are as follows:
Section 8 income limits are the primary factor with which the HUD and local PHAs make their decisions regarding eligibility. HUD sets the income limits for the Public Housing Choice Voucher Program each year, and they may differ according to state and county norms.
These norms take things like the median household income of a particular county and state into consideration, as well as the size of a family living in those particular locations, when they set their limits. HUD income limits are classified into three levels:
In general, HUD only recognizes a family as meeting Section 8 requirements for eligibility for an award of benefits when the family applying for benefits meets the standard for very low income levels or for extremely low income levels.
Section 8 housing eligibility requires the applicant household to meet certain standards with regards to citizenship and residency, both for the United States as well as the state of Illinois. Anyone seeking to receive Public Housing Choice Voucher Program awards must meet these standards.
First, they must be United States citizens, whether natural-born or naturalized, and they must be legal residents of the state of Illinois. However, Section 8 eligibility is also extended to those individuals who legally live in the U.S. as resident aliens on what is commonly referred to as a green card.
Section 8 qualifications in Illinois, which are set by both HUD and the Illinois PHAs in individual counties, have additional criteria that must be met by applicants. Many of these requirements for Section 8 housing benefits through the Public Housing Choice Voucher Program deal with an applicant’s behavior and history.
For instance, an individual or family’s rental history and how they have handled themselves with regards to rental properties and leases is an important consideration. Also, any criminal and/or arrest record may be taken into consideration when HUD and a PHA are weighing a decision on an application for Section 8 eligibility.
HUD’s housing requirements process typically includes a criminal background check for household members listed in an application. While a criminal record may not automatically disqualify an applicant, it may do so depending on a variety of details.
Meeting the Section 8 requirements is significantly more tenuous when there is a felony conviction involved. Certain categories of felony convictions, such as those associated with violent behavior or drug crimes present an even greater obstacle in obtaining approval from HUD or a PHA for a Section 8 application.
Those whose convictions were for crimes considered sexual in nature are automatically disqualified from getting any benefits whatsoever. However, PHAs can operate differently from county to county and from state to state. Furthermore, Section 8 eligibility weighs the seriousness of a crime and the length of time since the adjudication of the crime in the decision on the application.
Lastly, HUD and PHAs tend to be more lenient with those who simply have an arrest record as opposed to those with convictions on their records.
HUD’s Section 8 application process includes a background check into an applicant’s rental history. Evictions from public housing in the past may disqualify an applicant from receiving Public Housing Choice Voucher Program benefits.
Also damaging one’s chances to receive HUD benefits is owing money to a PHA. An application is not likely to receive approval or be placed on a waiting list until all money owed to the PHA is repaid.
To contact your Illinois HUD, click here.