Meeting the Minnesota Section 8 requirements is the first step in receiving state assistance toward affordable housing. Applicants must meet the Section 8 qualifications for their household in order to be eligible for state housing vouchers. The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, commonly called “Section 8”, is a program that is federally funded in order to provide low income residents with privately owned rental housing.
Each of the local Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) in Minnesota have different requirements for Section 8 eligibility. For instance, income limits play an important role in qualifying, as the gross total income for a household will be measured on the median area income for a county. To learn more about the median area income limits in Minnesota as well as the minimum eligible for income, continue reading below.
Section 8 eligibility in Minnesota starts with the applicant and his or her household. One of the biggest Section 8 housing eligibility requirements in Minnesota involves meeting the standards of what a family consists of, as per the Housing Authority. The term “family” when it comes to Section 8, may not have the same connotations that an individual might think. In order to be considered a family unit as per the PHA guidelines, an applicant or applying household must either be:
The head of household for a family unit seeking Section 8 eligibility must be at least 18 years of age, or his or her spouse must be at least 18 years of age. If a family’s head of household or spouse not of legal age, then they can also qualify as a legally emancipated minor. Once the guidelines for Section 8 regarding family composition and status are met, then applicants can move on toward income limits.
Minnesota Section 8 income limits are the most important eligibility requirement for receiving housing assistance. Many prospective applicants wonder, “Do I qualify for low income housing with my annual earnings?” when they apply for Section 8. There are various factors that can directly affect the income eligibility for Section 8, especially in terms of where in the state the applicant is applying. Each county within the state of Minnesota has its own income limits based on the median area income of its residents. For example, Rochester, Minnesota has different Section 8 income limits for extra low income, very low income and low income applicants when compared to the limits for St. Cloud, Minnesota. Applicants must have a gross total income that is low enough to qualify, as per the county limits. Nearly all housing vouchers available in Minnesota go to applicants with very low income.
Another factor that can affect the Section 8 income requirements in Minnesota involves the number of household members for an applying unit. Changes in income or family composition will directly affect the minimum and maximum income limits for eligibility. The more household members there are, the higher the income limits will be. For instance, Duluth, Minnesota has a very low income limit for a one person household of $22,350. Meanwhile, the eight person household has a very low income limit of $42,150. This is reflective of the fact that the more household members present, the better the chances of having a higher combined income.
Each year the median income limits in a particular county will change. This is largely due to the demographics of the area, plus new residents coming in and established residents moving out. All applicants should verify the county income limits for Section 8 specific to where they live before beginning the application process.
In addition to the HUD housing requirements for income in Minnesota, there are other stipulations regarding legal presence and residency that must be considered. Any applicant wondering how to qualify for Section 8 housing should at least be a citizen of the United States or a noncitizen with eligible immigration status. Eligible immigrants include:
Citizens will be asked to provide documentation by request of the local housing authority which likely includes Social Security Numbers for all household members. Any applicants without a Social Security Number will need to certify lawful alien status before moving on within the Section 8 eligibility process.
There are other areas of Section 8 eligibility in Minnesota to consider outside of income limits and citizenship. Assets are important Section 8 qualifications, as they can be factored into a household’s total annual income. While there is no limit on the amount and type of assets that an applicant can own at the time of application, the PHA will count a portion of an applicant’s assets into the income. There are two rules to consider when understanding assets for eligibility for Section 8. First, if a household has assets in the amount of $5,000 or less, then the housing authority will add any income that is earned from these assets to the income total. Second, if a household has assets more than $5,000, the housing authority will either use the income earned from the assets or a percentage of the value of the assets. Whichever amount is greater will be used.
Another important component to housing eligibility for Section 8 in Minnesota involves previous history with federal housing programs. If the applicant or someone in the household has had problems with a housing authority previously, then this may be cause for denial into Section 8. Section 8 requirements state that any applicant who has been evicted from public housing, terminated from another Section 8 program or who committed fraud or other crimes related to the housing program will not be eligible. These types of eligibility factors will be considered during a criminal background screening for all adult applicants. In addition, any applicants who still have outstanding debt for unpaid rent or damages with any housing authority will also not be eligible for Section 8 assistance.
To contact your Minnesota HUD office, click here.