If you are participating in (or trying to join) a Section 8 Homeownership program. You may notice they have a lot of requirements!
If you or someone in your household is disabled, here’s some special policies that may make things easier for you.
Tip: Your housing authority may not know these policies. You can show them.
First Time Home Owner
Some homeownership programs require that you have not owned a home before.
The definition explicitly extends first-time homeowner status to the following individuals or families, provided that they have no current homeownership interest in a residence:
A family that includes a person with a disability, in which any member has owned a unit during the preceding three years, but for which the PHA determines that the use of the homeownership option is necessary as a reasonable accommodation to make the program accessible to the family.
Some homeownership programs require you be employed.
This employment requirement does not apply to an elderly or disabled family (head, spouse or sole member is elderly or disabled).
Also, the employment requirement does not apply to a family that includes a person with disabilities, if other family members are unable to work on a full-time basis because they are required to care for the person with disabilities, and the PHA determines a reasonable accommodation is necessary
Minimum Income Requirements
Some homeownership programs require that your family has a certain amount of income.
As stated in 24 CFR § 982.627(c), at the time the family begins receiving homeownership assistance, the adult family members of a non-disabled family who will own the home must meet collectively a minimum non-welfare annual income requirement that is not less than the Federal minimum hourly wage ($6.55 at the drafting of this guidebook) multiplied by 2,000 hours ($13,100). For a disabled family (a family whose head, spouse or sole member is a person with disabilities), the adult family members who will own the home must have an annual income that is not less than the monthly Federal Supplemental Security Income (ssi) benefit for an individual living alone multiplied by 12 (in 2005, that monthly SSI benefit is $579, resulting in a minimum income requirement of $6948).
Costs for Making Your Home More Accessible
If the family includes a member with disabilities, principal and interest on the debt incurred to financ e the costs of making the home accessible for the family member may be included in the family’s eligible homeownership expenses. The PHA must determine whether the inclusion of the expense is needed as a reasonable accommodation.
Exceptions to ANY Rule
If your disability makes it difficult to participate in the homeownership program, you can request an exception to any rule or policy that the program has.
There are no limits on what you can or can’t request. Examples might be:
- You are unable to attend classes in person and must participate from home
- You need deadline extensions or extra help for certain types of paperwork
- You are requesting a higher voucher to be able to pay for a home that meets special disability needs (such as wheelchair accessible)
- You do not meet one of the criteria to be accepted into the program because of your disability, but you can explain how you will still be able to successfully use the program to buy a home
- You require a larger budget for repairs and maintenance because the work must be done using special materials that do not worsen your disability symptoms
- Anything else that needs to be changed in order to allow you to participate in the program as a person with disabilities.
In most cases, the housing program will have to approve your request, as long as your request is properly documented. There are a few situations where they can say no: For example, they can deny if you are asking for something that would be very expensive, cause a great deal of extra work, or breaks a federal law or regulation.
Learn how to make a request: How to Request Accommodations
The Housing Choice Voucher Homeownership Guidebook has a long section on ways a housing authority can help support disabled people to qualify for mortgages and funding. You may wish to read this and try approaching your housing authority to see if there are any ways they might be willing to work with you.
If Your Housing Program Doesn’t Offer Homeownership
If your housing authority does not have a homeownership program, you can request a disability accommodation to allow homeownership just for you due to your special disability needs for housing. If Your Housing Authority Doesn’t Offer Homeownership
Assistance usually stops in 10-15 years.
The term limits do not apply to elderly or disabled families (head, spouse or sole member is elderly or disabled) at the time of purchase. As indicated in 24 CFR § 982.637(c)(2), in the case of an elderly family, the exception on term limits only applies if the family qualifies as an elderly family at the start of homeownership assistance. In the case of a disabled family, the exception on term limits apply if at any time during receipt of homeownership assistance, the family qualifies as a disabled family. Pursuant to 24 CFR § 982.637(c) (3), if during the course of homeownership, the family ceases to qualify as a disabled or elderly family, the maximum term of assistance becomes applicable from the date the homeownership assistance commenced. However, such a family must be provided at least 6 months of homeownership assistance after the maximum term becomes applicable (provided the family is otherwise eligible to receive homeownership assistance).
As noted above, term limits on assistance do not apply to elderly and disabled families (head, spouse, or sole member is elderly or disabled). This exception applies to: • Elderly families who qualify as elderly families when homeownership assistance begins; and • Disabled families who qualify at any time during receipt of homeownership assistance.
If a family ceases to qualify as an elderly or disabled family, the maximum term is effective from the date that homeownership assistance began. However, the PHA must give the family at least 6 months’ notice regarding their change in status before terminating their homeowner ship assistance (provided they are otherwise eligible). If a family receiving homeownership assistance sells one unit and purchases another unit, the term limit applies to the total term during which the family receives assistance. The applicable limit is based on the term of the mortgage used to purchase the first unit.
This page is part of the online guide: Epic Master List of Disability Accommodation Letters
Learn More: How to Buy a House Through Section 8
Facebook Group: HUD and Section 8 Disabled Residents & Family Members
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