Everything You Need to Know About Section 8 Housing in Colorado Springs

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Families who make 80% or less of Colorado Springs’ median income are eligible for Housing Choice vouchers. If you’re a tenant with a voucher, the federal government pays a portion of your rent. 
The Section 8 program, created in 1974, ensures that very low to low-income families, the elderly, and disabled individuals have access to affordable housing. If you are approved for a Section 8 voucher, you’ll pay between 30-40% of your income toward rent, and the government will cover the rest. 
Unfortunately, like many government programs, the Section 8 requirements and approval process can be confusing. As you make your way through complicated paperwork, lengthy wait periods, and overloaded office staff, you may feel like it’s impossible to qualify for the Section 8 program. 
To help you apply, car and renters insurance broker and super app Jerry has put together everything you need to know about Section 8 housing in Colorado Springs. Here, we cover what you need to know about Section 8. We’ll look at specific requirements in Colorado Springs and provide tips to help you navigate the application process, look for apartments, and maintain your Section 8 lease. 
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What is Section 8 housing?

Section 8 is an affordable housing program run by the federal government. The name stems from Section 8 of the Housing and Community Development Act, which launched the housing voucher program in 1974. Through Section 8, very low-income families, as well as elderly or disabled people, receive federal assistance for a part of their rent. 
Section 8 works by: 
  • Individuals or families can apply to their local housing authority for housing choice or project-based vouchers
  • A housing choice voucher allows renters to live in a unit that matches the voucher specifications.  
  • A project-based voucher is attached to particular properties and allows landlords to assign specific units as low-income homes.
  • Based on family size and composition, the housing authority assigns vouchers for specific apartment sizes or bedrooms. 
  • Renters who apply for housing with a housing choice voucher won’t have to spend more than 40% of their income on rent. 
  • The government pays the remaining balance, usually 60% to 70%, to the property owner. 

Section 8 obligations

Under the Section 8 program, tenants, landlords, and local housing authorities all carry certain obligations. Here’s what each party is responsible for:
TenantLandlordHousing authority
Provide accurate and complete documentationScreen tenantsDetermine applicants’ eligibility and issue vouchers
Find suitable housing and complete all required paperwork before the voucher expiresComply with fair housing lawsApprove units, rental amounts, and leases
Pay rent promptly and attend all required appointmentsComplete all necessary repairs and maintenanceInspect subsidized units annually
Notify the housing authority of any changes in income or family compositionProvide housing authority with documentation of any notices to tenants, including eviction noticesEnsure that both tenants and landlords comply with program rules
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Key Takeaway Once you meet the qualifications for Section 8 housing, the government will pay 60% to 70% of your monthly rent, but you’ll likely face long wait times and some government hoop-jumping. 

What are the requirements for Section 8 housing in Colorado Springs?

Section 8 housing in Colorado Springs is managed by the Colorado Springs Housing Authority (CSHA). To qualify for Colorado Springs Section 8 vouchers, you first need to meet the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) federal requirements. 
To qualify, applicants must meet several requirements, including:
  • 18 years of age or older 
  • A US citizen or a documented immigrant 
  • Free from eviction due to drug use or methamphetamine production
  • Not a convicted sex offender
  • Haven’t been evicted from a federal housing program in the last five years
  • Don’t owe any money to subsidized federal programs 
  • Cannot exceed 50% of the median income as set by the housing authority 
HUD partially calculates income using the following: 
  • Employment wages
  • Income from business
  • Interest from bank accounts 
  • Welfare or other federal assistance
  • Alimony
  • Child support
You can examine this list to determine what may be used when HUD calculates your income. 
The median household income in Colorado Springs as of 2021 is $82,400. Income limits vary depending on your family size, and federal law requires the CSHA to give 75% of its vouchers to applicants whose income is 30% or less of the median income. The table below breaks down qualifying income based on family size in Colorado Springs:
Family size12345678
Low income (80%)$46,150$52,750$59,350$65,900$71,200$76,450$81,750$87,000
Very low income (50%)$28,850$33,000$37,100$41,200$44,500$47,800$51,100$54,400
Extremely low income (30%)$17,300$19,800$22,250$26,500$31,040$35,580$40,120$44,660
Other factors the CSHA will take into account are if you have family members who are children, disabled, or elderly. In these cases, your application may be prioritized. Your application may also be prioritized if you are currently homeless. 

How to apply for Section 8 housing in Colorado Springs

To apply for Section 8 housing in Colorado Springs, first, check the CSCH website for the most up-to-date instructions to apply. 
The information you will need to provide when you apply for Section 8 includes:
  • Social Security verification letter and proof of benefits
  • Proof of income (pay stubs, W2, tax returns)
  • Bank statements
  • Documentation of public assistance benefits
  • Information on any assets you own
The waitlist for Section 8 housing in Colorado Springs is currently closed, but CSHA opens an online lottery once a year in June or July.
All applications accepted during the open lottery time frame are assigned a lottery number. Numbers are drawn randomly as vouchers become available. If your number is not chosen during a lottery year, you will have to reapply when the list reopens the following year. 
You can also check currently open and closed waitlists near Colorado Springs and throughout Colorado. 
Once your number is drawn, CSHA will contact you with instructions on all needed forms. Do not fill out any forms until you are instructed to do so by CSHA.
Because wait times can be one to two years or longer, you can apply for vouchers through multiple public housing authorities. Contact CSHA for a list of locations where your voucher can be used. 

How to find Section 8 housing in Colorado Springs

After your application is approved and you have your voucher, you typically have a limited window to find housing—60 days is standard, with an extension provided for elderly and disabled applicants—but check with your housing assistance counselor. You can use AffordableHousing.com to find an available place or use this map by HUD. 
Document everything in your housing search. This includes meetings you have with landlords, applications you submit, or any other activities related to finding eligible housing. If you can’t find housing within the allotted period and you need to apply for a 30-day extension,your written records will help show CSHA that you’ve been looking for housing, meaning they’ll be more likely to approve an extension. 
If you come across any apartment listings that specify “no section 8,” you can report them to CSHA.
Once you find an apartment, send a copy of your lease agreement to CSHA along with any other required documents that you got with your voucher. 
An inspector with the housing authority will visit the apartment after you move in to confirm it meets the government’s definition of “decent housing.” CSHA also performs annual inspections and recertifications to ensure you and your home still meet program requirements. 
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Under Section 8, you aren’t required to pay more than 40% of your income in rent. That means that Section 8 will cover the rest—usually 60% to 70% of your monthly income. The exact dollar amount will vary depending on your income, your family size, and the fair market rent in your area.
A 2-bedroom Section 8 voucher in Colorado Springs will typically pay a maximum amount between $1,172 and $1,432.
Colorado recently passed HB20-1332, stating it is illegal for a landlord to deny a tenant’s application based solely on their source of income—including Section 8 status.

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