Section 8 has a special homeownership program that can help people buy a house and pay part of their mortgage each month. If you would like to try out the Section 8 homeownership program, these are the basic steps:
One: Get a Section 8 Housing Voucher. You cannot join this homeownership program until after you have been given a Housing Voucher. How to get on waiting lists for vouchers: How to Find Open Waiting Lists the Easy Way
Two: Most housing authorities require that you use your voucher as a renter first.
Three: Ask your housing authority if they offer a homeownership program. If they don’t, see: If Your Housing Authority Doesn’t Offer Homeownership
Note: Special rules. There are some special rules that can make it easier to join or use this program if someone in your household is disabled: Special Rules for People With Disabilities
Four: Your housing authority will let you know the next steps. It is different in every program. There may be classes to attend and they may be able to help you with taking the next steps, such as increasing your credit score, working with banks, and finding a house that qualifies.
Five: Find a house you want to buy. Your housing program may have special instructions for you on what size house you can buy and how much the house can cost.
Six: Qualify for a mortgage. This step is unfortunately difficult for many people who are living on Social Security. It does not work out for many people. It may be possible if you have support from family or if your area has special housing assistance programs, such as Habitat for Humanity, or nonprofits that offer downpayment assistance. You can also look into loans from USDA for low income families.
Seven: Pass inspection. This is also a stumbling block because houses in your price range may be foreclosures or in disrepair and have difficulty passing inspection. If you run into this problem, you could try a disability accommodation request for more flexibility in the inspection timeline or standards.
Eight: Your Section 8 voucher will help pay your mortgage every month. The program also takes into account the cost of your maintenance, repairs, utilities and property tax, so your monthly payment may be lower than what you are paying as a renter. You may still need to cover the cost for emergency repairs, or find a local program that can assist with this.
Nine: If your income remains low, your voucher will keep paying a part of your mortgage every month for up to 15 years. (There is no time limit if you are elderly or disabled).
Ten: Done! Once the mortgage is paid off, the Section 8 will stop and you will need to cover utilities, taxes, maintenance and repairs yourself. But you will have a house!
Rosebud is disabled and SSDI is her only income. She worked with her housing authority and Habitat for Humanity and was able to use her voucher to buy her own home. Here’s how she did it: Rosebud Buys a Home
Homeownership is not the best choice for all disabled people. For some disabled people, there is more security in keeping the voucher long-term as a renter.
One issue is that some people have to take additional loans to cover the full cost of the mortgage or needed maintenance and repairs. For example, in Rosebud’s case, she had an additional loan of $6,500 that was not covered by Section 8 and that she must pay back herself.
It’s also important to keep in mind that after the mortgage ends, all Section 8 assistance stops. If you are offered a shorter mortgage (for example, ten years), then when that time comes you will lose all housing help and may need to pay 100% yourself for all maintenance, repairs, utilities, appliances, taxes, insurance, emergencies, upkeep, and any outstanding loans.
On the other hand, owning a home gives some people joy and a feeling of freedome from not relying on landlords. If your health does recover, and you go back to work, you may have more options for covering future costs. A house can also give you something to leave to your kids (Warning: if you are on Medicaid, look into this. Medicaid can take the home when you pass away).
All about the Homeownership Program: Housing Choice Voucher Homeownership Guidebook
This page is part of the free online guide: The Sleepy Girl Affordable Housing Survival Guide
Facebook Group: HUD and Section 8 Disabled Residents & Family Members
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