The Section 8 requirements in West Virginia are determined through four major eligibility categories: income, citizenship, residency and household size. The Section 8 qualifications process is designed to identify those who are struggling to find safe, decent housing, and to offer government-sponsored housing assistance. In many instances, the programs can help families afford their housing expenses by subsidizing their rent payments. The Housing and Urban Development (HUD) department, a federal program, provides much of the funding for the program, but it is administered on the local and state level by the public housing authorities (PHA). The PHA offices have the specific forms required, along with maintaining the waiting lists, and enforcing program eligibility throughout the state of West Virginia.
Section 8 eligibility for assistance begins with a pre-application in West Virginia. This determines whether you meet basic requirements. A background check is also conducted to make sure criminal records do not include crimes of a serious or violent nature, and to see if you would be a good renter. Use the following information to find out how to qualify for Section 8 housing in WV, before taking the time to complete the pre-application forms.
Section 8 qualifications have evolved over the years. Due to the changing nature of family groups in the United States, the public housing authorities in each state must follow the definition of a family, as designated by the HUD. Low-income housing assistance is offered to any person living with you on a permanent basis, which also includes:
It is common to ask, “Do I qualify for low income housing if someone in my household has a criminal record?” If a family member, as defined by the HUD, lives with you, he or she must not have committed an offense involving the manufacture of drugs such as methamphetamines or be listed as a sexual offender. Significant others who live with you, but who are not legally married to you, cannot be counted as family members for Section 8 qualification purposes, either. Likewise, if you are fostering a child for the state, you cannot claim this child as a member of the household.
Section 8 income limits in West Virginia vary from one county to the next. This is often very confusing to new applicants. However, the program bases its assistance to those in need on the overall average salaries of those living in the same area. For example, a qualifying income for a family of four in Boone County is between $24,250 and $44,300, but in Cumberland County the income ranges are from $24,250 to $60,650. A complete list of Section 8 income requirements for your area can be located through HUD or the PHA in your district.
Section 8 housing eligibility is also based upon your permanent residency status in West Virginia. You must have been living in the state for at least several months in order to claim residency in WV. If you have eligible immigrant status but are not yet a citizen, you may still qualify to learn how to apply for Section 8 assistance successfully. For purposes of eligibility for Section 8 housing assistance, the person applying must be a U.S. citizen, but others in the household do not have to be. If you are unsure and find yourself asking, “Do I qualify for low income housing if someone in my house is undocumented?” then you may not claim the undocumented individual as a household member. Only those household members over six years of age of whom you are claiming must have Social Security cards presented.
Emergency housing services are not available through Section 8 eligibility programs, but the program does allow you to apply for services, and while waiting (if qualified), rent a public housing unit while waiting for Section 8 accommodations.
Other factors considered in the HUD housing requirements for eligibility include a background check. This check will not only reveal any criminal record, but will also indicate credit worthiness, and whether you have a history of making most of your payments on time. If you have a history of nonpayment to former landlords, then you may be denied housing assistance. Section 8 income requirements will factor into the overall application package, as preference is given to those who have at least one person in the household who is currently working and employed. Be prepared to prove employment with paystubs that are current to the month in which you apply.
Your Section 8 eligibility can be reduced, or you can even receive a Section 8 denial, if it is discovered you have been formerly evicted from a previous housing agency or public housing unit. If you currently still have an outstanding balance with a previous landlord, or have unresolved debt to another housing agency, even if that agency is in another area or another state, you can be denied assistance.
Understand that Section 8 qualifications can be revoked if it is discovered that you, or someone in your household, has engaged in bribery, fraud or other corrupt actions while involved in a federal housing program. Any drug-related activity or violence against people or property can also result in the denial of benefits. If someone in your family is involved – or has been involved – in any of these actions and intends to live with you, the chances of qualifying for aid are greatly reduced. However, if this person is related, but no longer resides with you, then his or her actions are not held against you.
If you are denied eligibility for Section 8 assistance in WV, you will be notified by mail. Even then, you still have options. The denial of benefits letter lists all of the reasons for the denial, and offers a way for you to appeal the determination. The process for doing so will be presented, along with the denial letter. In most cases this is just an informal hearing.
To contact your West Virginia HUD office, click here.