Everything You Need to Know About Section 8 Housing in Austin

To qualify for Section 8 housing vouchers in Austin, your income must be less than the program’s current income limits for your family size.
Written by Katherine Duffy
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
If your family’s income is below certain income limits, you may be eligible for the Section 8 housing program in Austin—which means that only 30% to 40% of your income will have to go towards rent each month. 
Section 8 housing program helps many families get ahead financially, but navigating the application process makes it tough for those in need to get the help they deserve. Between a laundry list of documentation, waitlists, and overstretched systems, getting Section 8 housing vouchers can be very difficult. 
That’s why
and renters insurance super app
is here to help. We’ve created a complete guide on everything you need to know about applying for Section 8 housing in Austin,
, including eligibility, the application process, and how to find housing. 
Let Jerry find you the best homeowners insurance policy for your needs
* checking your rate won’t affect your credit score
Shop Now
* checking your rate won’t affect your credit score

What is Section 8 housing?

Section 8 is a federal affordable housing program that helps low-income families, elderly people, and people living with a disability to pay their rent.
Participants are only required to pay 40% of their monthly rent and the government subsidizes the remaining cost. The program’s name comes from Section 8 of the 1974 Housing and Community Development Act, which established the housing voucher program. 
Here’s how Section 8 works: 
  • Eligible tenants can apply to their local housing authority for housing choice vouchers or project-based vouchers to receive financial assistance. 
  • Housing choice vouchers let tenants live in an apartment that adheres to the specifications on their voucher. 
  • Project-based vouchers are tied to individual properties and allow landlords to designate certain units as low-income housing.
  • Based on family size and composition, the housing authority provides vouchers for a specified number of bedrooms.
  • Tenants who search for housing with a housing choice voucher cannot be asked to pay more than 40% of their income in rent; the remainder is covered by the government.

Section 8 obligations 

The Section 8 housing program outlines certain responsibilities for tenants who participate in the program, landlords who provide housing to participants, and the local housing authorities. 
Here’s what each party is responsible for:
Housing authority
Provide accurate and complete documentation
Screen tenants
Determine applicants’ eligibility and issue vouchers
Find suitable housing and complete all required paperwork before the voucher expires
Comply with fair housing laws
Approve units, rental amounts, and leases
Pay rent promptly and attend all required appointments
Complete all necessary repairs and maintenance
Inspect subsidized units annually
Notify the housing authority of any changes in income or family composition
Provide housing authority with documentation of any notices to tenants, including eviction notices
Ensure that both tenants and landlords comply with program rules
Let Jerry find you the best homeowners insurance policy for your needs
* checking your rate won’t affect your credit score
Shop Now
* checking your rate won’t affect your credit score
Key Takeaway The government will cover a large portion of your rent if you qualify for Section 8 housing, but the qualification process can be long and complicated. 

What are the requirements for Section 8 housing in Austin? 

Section 8 housing is managed by the
Housing Authority of the City of Austin
(HACA). Qualifying for Austin’s Section 8 program means that you must be an adult or a legally emancipated minor and you can’t be currently receiving assistance through Austin’s Housing Choice Voucher program. 
Your family must meet the following requirements to be considered for Austin’s Section 8 housing program:
  • Your family meets HACA’s definition of a family. 
  • The total gross household income is below the current income limits for the program.
  • You and your family members meet citizenship or eligible immigrant requirements. 
  • All family members have provided Social Security numbers and signed consent forms
  • All adult family members have passed a criminal background check
  • No adult family member is on any registered sex offender list. 
  • Your family hasn’t been evicted from federally assisted housing within the last five years. 
To qualify, your income must not exceed 50% of the median income in your area. HUD includes the following in income calculations: 
  • Wages
  • Business income
  • Interest
  • Welfare assistance
  • Social security benefits
  • Alimony and child support
As of 2020, the median income in Austin, Texas is $75,752. Your family’s income limit will depend on your gross household income in accordance with how many family members there are. 
Here’s a table that breaks down qualifying income levels based on family size in Austin:
Family size
Income (50%)
$ 30,100
$ 34,400
$ 38,700
$ 43,000
$ 46,450
$ 49,900
$ 53,350
$ 56,800
Once you apply, your application has to be selected from a lottery to be placed on the Austin Housing Choice Voucher program waiting list. Your eligibility will be assessed once your name reaches the top of this list instead of your application submission date. The waiting list for Austin’s Section 8 program can last anywhere from six months to over three years

How to apply for Section 8 housing in Austin

To apply for Section 8 housing in Austin, you need to fill out an application via
HACA’s online portal.
Once you’ve submitted your online application, you may be placed on the waitlist if your application proves you’re eligible. Eligible applicants who are placed on the waitlist can use the online portal to check their place on the list, update contact information and family composition, receive information about what they’ll need for their in-person interview, and more. 
Families placed on the waiting list initially move forward if they have an applicable preference or need that other families don’t have, and all families without preferences are then listed in order by their lottery number.
HACA has the following preferences for their Section 8 HCV program:
  • Elderly Preference: If the head of household, co-head, or spouse is 62 or older, the family qualifies for this preference.
  • Disabled Preference: If the head of household, co-head, or spouse is disabled, according to the HUD definition of disability, the family qualifies for this preference.
  • Families With Minor Children: If the family has minor children in the household, the family qualifies for this preference.
  • Involuntarily Displaced: If the family has been involuntarily displaced by a natural disaster or government action within the past 6 months, the family qualifies for this preference.
  • Homeless: If the family meets the HUD definition of homeless and has a referral from a homeless service provider, the family qualifies for this preference.
  • Residency: If the family lives within the five-county Central Texas area (Travis, Williamson, Hays, Bastrop, and Caldwell), the family qualifies for this preference.
  • Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) Choice Mobility Preference: HACA gives a Choice-Mobility option to residents of covered RAD projects in accordance with policies outlined in the HCV Administrative Plan. Families who remain in the same RAD property for two years will be placed on the Housing Choice Voucher waitlist that allows them to find housing in the private rental market.
Once your name reaches the top of the waiting list, you’ll be selected for an eligibility interview to assess whether you’re a viable candidate for Austin’s Section 8 HCV program. 
If you’re deemed eligible, you’ll receive your voucher and paperwork to request approval for whatever rental property you apply for. 

How to find Section 8 housing in Austin

Once you have your HCV voucher, you have 90 days to find a rental unit and turn in your Request for Tenancy Approval (RFTA) packet with the possibility of a 30 day extension if you need more time. Families with certain preferences may receive an extension past 120 days. 
Once the RFTA packet is submitted, HACA assesses the unit for affordability and makes sure the unit is up to HACA’s living standards. If HACA approves the unit, your family can move into your new home once the lease is signed and your portion of the rent for that month is paid. 
Finding affordable housing can be tough. Two great places to start are HACA’s
map of HACA-owned properties
that accept HCV vouchers and

How to save money on car and renters insurance in Austin

Applying for Section 8 housing through
HCV program can be difficult, but finding the right
and renters insurance while saving money doesn’t have to be with help from insurance super app
Unlike Austin’s HCV program, Jerry doesn’t require endless paperwork, in-person interviews, or inspections. You can just download the app, answer a few easy questions, and get customized quotes from the top insurance companies in 45 seconds. Our expert team will work with you to get your new policy approved in record time, and we’ll even help you cancel your old policy so you’re not overpaying! 
Jerry doesn’t just handle car insurance—while you’re at it, you can enroll in renters insurance to protect you and your unit from financial risk. 
“This app is all about savings!
just saved me $193/month on my car insurance. They literally found me the cheapest policies out there and with better coverage! Seriously, just sit back and watch Jerry work its magic.” —Rachel B.
Thousands of customers saved on average $887/year on their car insurance with Jerry
This app is great, but the customer service is even better! Not to mention convenient! My husband and I got the lowest rate (much lower than the rates I was finding online through my own searches), quickly, and pretty much all through text message! Thank you so much for a hassle free experience👍
Gabriella R.
Find insurance savings
rating primary
4.7/5 Rating on App Store


While you don’t require an email address to fill out the online application, providing one is the best way to keep up with your application once it’s been waitlisted. 
You’ll need an email address to access the HCV applicant portal which communicates important information like you
You’re only required to pay a maximum of 40% of your income in rent. That means that the government will cover at least 60% of your monthly income. The specific amount varies depending on your income, your family size, and the fair market rent in your area.
Save an average of 18% by bundling your home and auto insurance
Bundle your home and auto insurance with Jerry and save!
Try Jerry

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

No long forms
No spam or unwanted phone calls
Quotes from top insurance companies
Find insurance savings