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 take forever or you will be living the rest of your life in a rat-infested hovel of misery.
We are here to tell you that it is possible to get nice, clean, safe, super-affordable, disability-accessible housing through Section 8. Not always easy, and not always quick (and sometimes you may need to relocate) but definitely possible!
This guide is for people who are looking for nice housing and are not easily discouraged. Or for people who are formerly discouraged, and have now decided to become plucky!
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?
- How Section 8 Works & What Kind of Section 8 is Best for You
- Different Types of Affordable Housing Buildings
Can affordable housing be nice? See for yourself!
Finding Places to Apply
If someone tells you all the waiting lists are closed, or all the waiting lists will take many years, don’t give up. Get plucky!
- How to Find Open Waiting Lists
- Super Cheap Apartments (Low or No Income)
- Moderately Cheap Apartments (Mid-Low Income)
Little known tricks and secrets for finding even more housing opportunities:
- Long, Long List of Places You Can Call
- 37 Creative Strategies for Getting Section 8
- Help! I’m Too Poor for Low Income Housing
- Finding Emergency or Immediate Housing
- Finding Mainstream Housing Vouchers
Elderly or Disabled Buildings
If your family includes at least one adult who is disabled, call all the “senior” buildings and ask if you can apply (even if you are not a senior). Often nicer than other buildings, and often have shorter wait lists:
- Nice Apartments For “Disabled” or “Elderly”
- If Only One Person is Disabled
- Am I “Elderly” or “Disabled”?
- Find Apartments Like This
Contacting Places to Apply
Be patient. Be plucky. Don’t worry if the first twenty places you call are dead ends. Just keep going down the list:
- Three Magic Questions
- Script for Calling Buildings
- Email for Writing Buildings
- Optional More Questions
Applying for the Places You Found
Tips for applying. How to stay out of trouble and what to do if you get into trouble anyway:
Solving Section 8 Mysteries
You may be wondering:
- Can I Apply if I Live in Another State?
- How Can I Get a Disability Aide?
- Can I Get a Voucher in Another State and Use it Where I Am Now?
Disability accommodations that can help you while applying. Many of these are not needed to put in an initial application. You can make these requests when you reach the top of the waiting list.
- Apply by Mail or Email
- If You Lose Your Spot on the List
- Deadline Extensions
- Skipping Meetings
- Live-in Aides
- Assistance Animals
- Background Checks
- Credit Checks
- Epic Master List of Accommodation Letters
If applying for a specific building, you might want to put in requests for extra bedrooms at the beginning, so that you get on the wait list for the correct number of bedrooms. For vouchers, you can make the request any time:
- Important Things to Do After You Get on a Wait List
- Curious How Much Rent You Will Pay?
- Curious How Many Bedrooms You Will Get?
- How Much Will My Voucher Be For?
Stories from readers about applying:
- Dandelion Finds 30 Open Lists
- Dandelion Gets Nice Housing QUICKLY
- Karen Gets Housing When the Wait Lists Are Closed
- Zanetta Gets Back on Wait List
- Shameka Gets Back on Wait List
- Hibiscus Moves Her Voucher
Yay! You got approved. Now there is just a mere one million more little things you’ll want to know and do:
Types Of Affordable Housing
- The Low Down on Housing Choice Vouchers
- The Low Down on HUD Apartments
- The Low Down on USDA Rural Housing
- The Low Down on Low Income Tax Credit Buildings
- Disability Support and Self Advocacy in HUD Housing
- Housing Choice Voucher Friends
- More Housing for Groups People with Disabilities
- Basil Stays at Top of the List
- Mayflower Communicates by Mail or Email
- Summer Gets a Bird and Dog
- Sweet Pea Gets Deadline Extensions
- Delphinium Gets More Bedrooms
- Summer Gets Her Own Bedroom
- Camellia Finds A New Home
- Rosemary Gets a Support Animal
- How to Get Help or File Complaints for HUD Housing Problems
- Frequently Asked Questions About Affordable Housing
- Housing Tips For Spoonies
- Section 8 Made Simple (sort of)
- Disability Accommodations for Multiple Chemical Sensitivities
- HUD policies for housing vouchers
- Public Housing Occupancy Guidebook
- Multi Family Housing Occupancy Guidebook
- Housing Voucher Forms
- Housing Vouchers Fact Sheets
🌸 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.
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 January 2020. If you found this page helpful, please share it with others by pressing one of these magic little buttons: