Hardship Recovery

How To Get An Emergency Section 8 Voucher As A Felon

Section 8 isn’t known as emergency rent assistance, but you can get it quicker if you make the priority waiting list. Here’s how to get such help, even if there’s a felony on your record.

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A Housing Choice Voucher from the Section 8 program is highly sought-after government assistance. Why are housing vouchers so popular? Because getting one means that you only have to pay between 30 and 40 percent of your adjusted gross income towards rent and utilities. That leaves a big chunk of your income that can be used for other purposes.
As a felon, such assistance is ideal for helping you reintegrate into society. It provides savings, and more importantly, stability since Section 8 housing isn’t just affordable, it’s safe and decent.

Felons and Section 8 Eligibility

A convicted felon can qualify for a Housing Choice Voucher. However, some circumstances can prevent approval, such as being convicted of a sexual or violent crime, drug trafficking, or having a felony that’s less than five years old. Your nearest Public Housing Agency (PHA) will tell you if your felony can prevent you from qualifying, so don’t hesitate to ask.
If your felony doesn’t prevent you from Section 8 eligibility, you will still have to meet the program’s essential criteria. This involves specific citizenship requirements, earning less than 50 percent of the state median income, not having evictions in the past, and not having a history of drug or alcohol abuse.

Section 8 Emergency Assistance

As stated in the intro, Section 8 is not considered to be a form of emergency rental assistance. This is because the demand for vouchers is high, and some waiting lists can take years to get through. Some circumstances can accelerate this process, though. If any of the following apply to your situation, you could receive a Section 8 voucher rather quickly:

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  • Senior citizens
  • People with mental and physical disabilities
  • Veterans
  • People who are battered and trying to escape physical or sexual abuse
  • The homeless or those facing eviction
  • Displaced due to a natural disaster
  • People paying more than 50 percent of their income towards rent (who, in some cases, must be single parents with young children)

The more of those apply, the more priority your application will be given, as each circumstance is assigned specific points.
As for what gets the most priority, that’s usually anyone who’s disabled or senior citizens living on a minimal income.
How fast can you get Section 8 emergency rent assistance? If your felony doesn’t disqualify you and some of those circumstances apply, it could get an emergency Section 8 voucher in a matter of weeks or months. That’s a lot quicker than the typical two-year wait for vouchers.

How to Get Section 8 as Quickly as Possible

There are some moves you can make to get Section 8 quickly so you can begin to build your post-felony future. First, you can remain in contact with your PHA every week. Let them know how vital the voucher is, so you become more than just a number on the waiting list.
Second, you can apply to multiple PHAs to increase your chances of getting a voucher faster. Third, you can solicit the help of a social worker for free. They will know the ins and outs of the process and offer some much-needed support. You may find a social worker through legal aid programs, your doctor, or local community agencies.

Need Help Finding Assistance Programs?

Hardship Recovery can provide information of assistance programs to those who qualify!

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