Section 8 Guide for the Disabled and Plucky

Art: Robin Mead

Section 8 is a government program that can make your rent low. Super low. If you are low-income and disabled, Section 8 can pretty much be the key to staying alive.

If you have ever tried to apply for Section 8, you may have noticed an uncanny pattern: Every single person you talk to will tell you it is impossible. You will hear a nonstop stream of all the ways you will never get it or it will never work out or how you will be living the rest of your life in a rat-infested hovel of misery.

This guide is for people who are not easily discouraged. Or for people who are formerly discouraged, and have now decided to become plucky!

We are here to tell you that it is possible to get nice, clean, safe, super-affordable, disability-accessible housing through Section 8 without waiting the rest of your natural life.

It make take quite a bit of patience and an endless supply of persistence and (in some cases) you may need to relocate, but it is possible. There are many wonderful places out there, and we hope that you will find that wonderful place meant for you.

How Section 8 Works

What is Section 8? How does it work? Why do people love it so much? Why do people hate it so much? What are the different kinds of Section 8 and which is the right kind for me? Learn all about this and so much more:

🌸 How Section 8 Works & What Kind of Section 8 is Best for You

🌸 The Low Down on Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers

🌸 The Low Down on Project-Based Section 8

🌸 Section 8 Buildings for Elderly or Disabled

🌸 Can Affordable Housing Be Nice? (See For Yourself)

Step One: Find Places to Apply 

Many people try to apply for Section 8 by contacting their local Housing Authority, where they are told the waiting lists are very long and/or completely closed. Or they are told that the only open lists are for public housing projects.

Then they wait a year, call again, and get the same results. Occasionally, someone gets lucky and finds good housing this way. But many more people give up, drop out, or die before they get to the top of the list. Here’s a better way.

🌸 How to Find Open Waiting Lists The Easy Way

🌷 How to Apply When the Wait Lists are Closed

🌷 Long List of Places You Can Call to Find Affordable Housing

🌷 Questions You Can Ask When Calling

🌸 How to Find Affordable Housing if You are Not Super Poor

Step Two: Apply for Some of the Places You Found

Tips for applying. How to stay out of trouble and what to do if you get into trouble anyway:

🌸 How to Apply (And every little thing that happens along the way)

Step Three: You’re In! Maybe!

If you applied for a building, you’re done! Sign the papers and move in.

If you applied for a voucher, this is going to be more complicated. Now you have a voucher, but you still don’t have a place to live. You have to go out and find a landlord to accept your voucher. Easier said than done.

🌸 How to Use a Housing Voucher to Actually Find Housing

🌸 How to Escape Move-In Fees (Security Deposits, Utility Deposits, etc)

🌸 How Much Rent and Utilities Will My Voucher Pay?

🌸 How to Use Your Voucher When the Rent is Too High

Section 8 Secrets

Here’s some secret special rules that help people with disabilities. No one will tell you these rules, which is why it’s great that you are about to read them yourself:

🌸 Section 8 Secrets for People with Disabilities

🌸 Top Ten Disability Accommodations

🌸 How to Request Disability Accommodations

🌸 “How I Got Disability Accommodations”

🌸  How to Request a Live-In Aide

🌸  How to Request Additional Bedrooms

🌸  What Counts as a Medical Expense?

🌸  How to Document Medical Expenses

Rent You Can Afford

Section 8 is set to be 30% of your income. Or is it?

🌸 How to Calculate (and sometimes lower) Rent in Section 8

🌸 Meet Jane and Sally (Section 8 Rent Example)

🌸 How Rent and Bedrooms Work with Live In Aides

Thinking of Moving?

Different Housing Authorities have way different rules. This can have a big impact on your life (and your rent!)

🌸 Questions to Ask Housing Authorities If You Want To Move

🌸 How to Transfer Your Voucher to a New Area

Section 8 Stories

🌸 Everything Camellia Learned About Section 8

🌸 Dandelion Finds 30 Open Waiting Lists

🌸 Dandelion Gets Nice, Affordable Housing QUICKLY

🌸 Pansy Finds a Home Through USDA (Similar to Section 8)

Disability Accommodation Stories

🌸 Basil is Bedridden and Can’t Use His Voucher

🌸 Rosemary Gets an Emotional Support Animal

🌸 Margaret Gets Approved for a Higher Payment Standard

🌸 Delphinium Gets Separate Bedrooms

Facebook Groups

🌸 HUD and Section 8 for People with Disabilities

🌸 Public Housing and Section 8 HUD Tenants

🌸 Housing Choice Voucher Friends

Learn More

🌸 Some Housing Authorities participate in a program called Moving to Work. If you are in a Moving to Work Housing Authority, your rent may be higher and some of the policies listed on this page may be different.

🌸 How to Get Help or File Complaints for HUD Housing Problems – If you are having problems with your landlord or Housing Authority

🌸 Frequently Asked Questions – A really excellent and helpful list from Affordable Housing Online.

🌸 Housing Tips For Spoonies – Making life more livable and housing more hospitable if you have chronic illness.

🌸 Section 8 Made Simple – An ironic name for a long, complex and detailed guide from the Technical Assistance Collaborative. Excellent information for the very patient – or very curious – detailing every step of the Section 8 process and policies.

What Do You Think?

🌸 Please comment below with stories, ideas, questions or suggestions. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working.

🌸 Updated June 2018. If you found this page helpful, please share it with others by pressing one of these magic little buttons:

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