Learn About Section 8 Requirements in Tennessee

Section 8 eligibility for public housing and the housing choice voucher program in Tennessee is determined by the federal government and administered by the state. Specifically, the programs are funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and administered by the Tennessee Housing Development Authority (THDA). Both programs help low-income resident Tennessee individuals and families as well as disabled individuals and seniors to access decent, sanitary, safe and affordable housing. The voucher program helps residents who meet Section 8 qualifications to afford housing on the private market, while the Section 8 public housing offers government-subsidized housing.

Making sure you meet Section 8 requirements is the first step to getting Section 8 public housing assistance in Tennessee. It is also worth checking with the THDA or PHA in the areas you are considering to ensure there are open waiting lists available in the counties in which you are interested in living.

Learn About Tennessee Section 8 Requirements for Family Status

To meet Section 8 eligibility in Tennessee, you must first meet the definition of a family. For Section 8 qualification purposes, a family is defined according to THDA and HUD guidelines. An individual or a group of people are considered a family, whether related or not, if they live together under the same roof or intend to do so. Not taken into account in defining family are matters of perceived or actual marital status, gender identity or sexual orientation. These one or more individuals must also consent to make their income and other resources available to handle the needs of the household.

If the applicant seeking Section 8 housing eligibility is a single person, the person could be disabled, displaced, near-elderly, elderly or any other single individual, provided the person meets all other criteria for eligibility. If the applicant household is a group of people living or intending to live together, those people can meet the definition of a family in a number of ways as well. The family may be elderly, near-elderly, disabled or displaced, and children may or may not be a part of it. Also qualifying is the remaining member of an existing family of Section 8 recipients. Every family has at least a head of household who applies for Section 8 on behalf of the whole family. A family may also have a spouse or the head of household, co-head, other adult, emancipated minor and dependents.

Also considered in figuring out the Section 8 qualifications of an application, and the subsidy size to grant, are members of the household who are not considered family. These include foster children and adults and live-in aides. To be considered members of an applying household, they must be approved by the THDA. If approved, they are not allotted a dependent allowance when Section 8 benefits are awarded.

What are the Section 8 income limits in Tennessee?

When looking at how to qualify for section 8 housing, one of the primary factors for determining your eligibility is your household’s gross annual income. Section 8 income requirements demand your family’s income be within a certain percentage below the median income level in the area of Tennessee where you live or are interested in living.

Because the income level used to determine exact Section 8 income limits is based on a specific geographic area, income limits vary depending on the area you are considering. Therefore, your income may fall within the necessary income limits for you to qualify for Section 8 assistance in some parts of Tennessee and not in others. There are three levels of income limits, as follows:

  • Low income – 80 percent or less of the median level.
  • Very low income – 50 percent or less of the median level.
  • Extremely low income – 30 percent or less of the median level.

The lower your income level, the greater your chances of being approved when you apply for Section 8. In Tennessee, 75 percent of housing choice vouchers are to be distributed to families in the extremely low-income bracket under orders of HUD.

Learn About Tennessee Section 8 Qualifications for Legal Presence and Residency

As per HUD housing requirements, one or more members of any household applying for Section 8 assistance must be either a U.S. citizen or national or one of certain categories of legal resident alien. In the THDA pre-application, you are notified if you must provide evidence of your citizenship status or legal presence in the country. Assistance eligibility and the application process varies depending on which of the following is true:

  • All members of a family can prove citizenship.
  • All members of a family are citizens or eligible immigrants, but their proof has not yet been verified.
  • At least one member, but not all members, of a family can prove citizenship or eligible immigrant status.

For Section 8 qualifications, each member of any applicant household selected from a waiting list must sign a Citizen Declaration form. Minors can have a parent or legal guardian sign for them. New household members residing in the Section 8 unit must also complete a Citizen Declaration form. To prove U.S. citizenship or that you are a U.S. national, you must submit a birth certificate or U.S. passport or other accepted documentation. Documentation for non-citizens varies depending on the person’s age, when he or she entered the country, when he or she was granted eligible immigrant status and when assistance through HUD was received.

Continued Section 8 qualifications require that if your address changes to another location within Tennessee, you must notify the THDA or PHA administering any waiting list you are signed up for or your name may be removed from the list. If you move outside of Tennessee, your name will be removed from any waiting lists you are on and you will no longer meet Section 8 eligibility requirements. Any changes in income or family composition must also be reported.

Learn About Additional Section 8 Requirements in Tennessee

In addition to family status, income, residency and legal presence requirements are certain other Section 8 housing eligibility requirements for getting Section 8 housing in Tennessee. Most notably, if you are wondering, “Do I qualify for low income housing if I have any drug-related public housing evictions in my background?” the answer is, if it happened within the last 3 years prior to your application , you may not.

To contact your Tennessee HUD office, click here.