Section 8 housing is a form of government-subsidized housing that provides rental assistance to low-income families and individuals. The program is run by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and funded by the federal government. The goal of the program is to make affordable housing available for those who may not otherwise be able to afford it due to their limited income or financial situation.
Section 8 housing is an invaluable resource that helps low-income families and individuals gain access to safe, secure housing at an affordable rate. By providing rental assistance through vouchers or subsidies, it allows tenants to pay only up to 30 percent of their income toward rent while landlords receive fair market rents from HUD for any remaining balance after subtracting what was paid by the tenant.
How to Apply for Assistance
Families who wish to apply for any of the Authority’s programs must complete an online application, which is available by selecting the “Housing Application” link in the main menu. Please note that you MUST have a valid Social Security number AND be age 18 or older to complete an application. The application process involves two phases. The first is the “initial” application for assistance, which results in the family’s placement on the waiting list. The second phase is the “final determination of eligibility,” which occurs when the family reaches the top of the waiting list. At that time, each applicant is interviewed, and the Authority verifies all eligibility factors. Applications may be submitted online through our website whenever the waiting list is open. The waiting list opens and closes depending on how many families are already on it and waiting to receive assistance. Whenever the waiting list is closed, a message will be posted on the Homepage of this website. In addition, any time the list is scheduled to open, an advanced announcement is made in the Lebanon Daily News.
Who qualifies for assistance?
An applicant must meet HUD’s criteria and other criteria established by the Housing Authority to be eligible for participation. One of the most important criteria is income. To determine if the family is income-eligible, the Housing Authority compares the family’s annual income to the applicable income limit for the family’s size. The current income limits for all housing programs are in the Document Library section of this website. An additional criterion is an applicant’s criminal record. Mandatory criminal background checks are completed for each adult residing in the household. Reports of drug-related offenses and violent criminal activity can exclude an individual or a family from the Section 8 Program. The results of these reports are taken into consideration when the Authority determines eligibility.
How long does it take to receive assistance?
Unfortunately, the demand for housing assistance far exceeds the funding available to the Housing Authority. Whenever funds are available to support more families, the Authority randomly draws applicants from the waiting list. Applications are randomly drawn from each preference group on the waiting list (for example, applicants who live or work in Lebanon County before non-county residents). Because applications are drawn at random, it is impossible to predict how long any individual applicant may wait to receive housing assistance. In some cases, waiting time could be as short as a few months or as long as a few years.
How much assistance does a family receive?
Generally, the Authority will calculate income from all sources and arrive at an annual gross income. Allowances and deductions for which the family may be entitled, such as a deduction for each child in the household are subtracted from that figure. In the Voucher Program, the maximum amount the Authority will pay to the landlord is equal to the Payment Standard minus 30% of the tenant’s Adjusted Monthly Income. The Authority establishes the Payment Standard within limits set by HUD. If the rent requested by the landlord exceeds the Payment Standard, the tenant must pay the difference.
Where can the voucher be used?
When a voucher is issued, the applicant will have 90 days to locate housing that meets HUD standards regarding rent level and condition of the unit.
During the first year of participation, an applicant can live anywhere in Lebanon County they choose: in any neighborhood, school district, or town, township, or municipality that best meets the applicant’s needs for employment and transportation, childcare, etc. After the first year of participation, families can take their voucher to any other housing authority in the United States (“portability”). Under rare circumstances and at the sole discretion of the Housing Authority, an applicant’s portability may be permitted during the first year of participation.
What are a family's obligations to the Authority and the landlord in the Section 8 program?
Family Obligations to the Owner: The family obligations to the owner are contained in the lease and include reasonable requirements, such as not damaging the unit, paying the rent on time and in full, keeping all utilities for which the family is responsible in service, being respectful of neighbors and not interfering with their right to live in a safe and peaceful environment.
Family Obligations to the Housing Authority: Some of the most critical obligations the family has to the Housing Authority are that the family must provide all required information promptly; the family may not commit any serious or repeated violation of the lease; family members may not commit fraud, bribery, engage in drug-related activities, or violent criminal behavior.
Where can I get more information?
You can find much more information concerning the Section 8 program by reading the Section 8 Participants Guide available in the Document Library section of this website. You can also contact the Authority’s Section 8 Department during regular business hours at 717-273-1639 (or by TDD at 800-545-1833 ext. 826) or by email at email@example.com.