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Families who meet Nebraska Section 8 requirements may be able to take advantage of the funding and other supports the program offers to find, secure and remain in clean, safe housing. Section 8 is a federal program overseen by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that is implemented at the local level by Public Housing Agencies (PHAs). Individuals and families can qualify for assistance if they or their heads of household are elderly, disabled or meet Section 8 income limits. Income restrictions are set on a sliding scale by geographic area and family size during the Section 8 application process.
Applicants may also need to satisfy Section 8 qualifications related to lifestyle to receive support. For example, families typically need a history of positive and appropriate tenant behavior to be considered for the Section 8 program. Regional factors may influence which qualifying applicants gain access to vouchers, as well.
To maximize the program’s ability to offer assistance where it is needed, Section 8 housing eligibility standards define “family” very broadly. Any single individual may be considered his or her own household.
Families may consist of any two or more persons residing together, regardless of age, relation or any other factors. Married and unmarried couples may qualify as families, with or without children. Children not biologically related to heads of household and their married spouses or unmarried co-heads, such as foster children, can qualify as part of a family under Section 8 eligibility guidelines. Minors temporarily living outside the home in alternative placements also count.
HUD housing requirements allow for live-in aides to qualify as part of a household or family if their assistance can be demonstrated to be crucial to the health, well-being and care of one or more elderly or disabled family members.
When applying for Section 8 eligibility, families may be classified in several different categories:
Section 8 income requirements are based on regional median income levels. Under HUD housing eligibility guidelines, families are:
Generally, households must be very low income or extremely low income to qualify for Section 8 assistance in Nebraska. However, HUD housing requirements mandate that PHAs provide at least 75 percent of their vouchers to extremely low-income families. This may reduce the functional availability of vouchers to qualifying very low-income households in some regions.
Specific Section 8 income limits vary not only by region but by family size and are determined using a sliding scale. As a result, it is possible for families to qualify for assistance in one region of the state but not another.
For instance, the maximum income limit at which a single person is considered extremely low income in Hall County is $14,300. In Hamilton County, the maximum income limit for the same person to receive that classification is set at $15,050. Since Section 8 income limits scale by family size, as well, a family of four could have an annual income of up to $20,400 in Hall County and up to $21,450 in Hamilton County and still qualify extremely low income.
Nebraska Section 8 housing eligibility applicants must be United States citizens or qualifying aliens to receive assistance. Qualifying non-citizens include individuals or families who:
Federally established HUD housing guidelines do not limit Section 8 eligibility in Nebraska to state residents. However, local PHA policies regarding out-of-state applications and requests to “port” Section 8 benefits into Nebraska from other states vary. It is not uncommon for PHAs to implement policies favoring or prioritizing local applications over out-of-state requests. Applicants will need to speak to the PHA in the region they wish to learn how to move with Section 8 benefits to for specific information before applying.
In addition to Section 8 income limits, most PHAs screen applicants using a variety of other eligibility factors to ensure that vouchers are granted to those families most likely to succeed in the program. Examples of such factors include:
PHAs may also establish localized eligibility criteria that enable them to funnel their resources into specific populations or issues. For example, in an area of the state in which elderly individuals are at particularly high risk of homelessness, a PHA might set up its Section 8 qualification criteria to prioritize elderly applicants over other equally qualified families.
Region-specific eligibility factors may vary but, by law, may not discriminate on any protected characteristics, must be implemented consistently and fairly and must be clearly spelled out in PHAs’ operating agreements with HUD. Tenant disqualifications can vary.
To contact your Nebraska HUD office, click here.