Families whose income equals 50% or less of Denver’s median income are eligible for Section 8 housing vouchers. Section 8 allows the federal government to cover a percentage of a participant’s rent.
Created in the 1970s, the Section 8 program provides low to very low-income families, elderly people, and disabled individuals access to decent housing. If you have a Section 8 voucher, you can pay 40% or less of your monthly income in rent while the government covers the other 60%.
Unfortunately, understanding the Section 8 program can be a challenge. The considerable paperwork, extended wait times, and communicating with understaffed government offices, can all make finding Section 8 housing seem impossible.
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Jerry has put together this guide to Section 8 housing in
Denver. We cover the essentials of the Section 8 program, review the requirements, and help you understand Denver’s Section 8 application and approval process.
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What is Section 8 housing?
Section 8 is an affordable housing program run by the federal government. Section 8 provides funding vouchers to very low-income families—as well as elderly or disabled people—to help pay their rental costs. Established in 1974, the housing voucher program is named for Section 8 of the Housing and Community Development Act.
Here’s how Section 8 works:
Eligible individuals or families needing rental assistance can apply to their local housing authority to receive housing choice vouchers or project-based vouchers.
Housing choice vouchers enable renters to live in any residence that meets the qualifications indicated on the voucher.
Project-based vouchers are assigned to specific properties where landlords allocate specific units as low-income homes.
The housing authority will assign a voucher for a specific number of bedrooms to best accommodate family size and composition.
Renters who apply for housing with a housing choice voucher will pay no more than 40% of their income in rent—the government pays the rest directly to the owner.
Section 8 obligations
Under the Section 8 program, tenants, landlords, and local housing authorities all have certain responsibilities. Here’s what each is responsible for:
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Since the DHA uses a lottery application system, there isn’t a traditional wait list available. If your number is selected, you can begin the application process as funds become available. That said, families with children, disabled members, or elderly members may have their applications prioritized.
How to apply for Section 8 housing in Denver
The DHA Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program uses a lottery-based application process. Lottery dates change yearly but are typically in the third week of September and announced in the following ways:
Local papers in the public notice section
Applicants submit their entries online within the given time frame. Throughout the year—as vouchers become available—DHA holds computer-generated random drawings. When lottery numbers are selected, applicants are notified by US mail within 120 days after the date of the drawing.
Once you’ve won, your lottery number is valid for the remainder of the year, but will expire December 31 of each year. If your number was not selected, you must resubmit your information the following year to participate in the next lottery.
How to find Section 8 housing in Denver
you’ve been approved for Section 8 housing in Denver, your information is forwarded to the DHA’s Section 8 Department. All newly accepted clients or families are required to attend Orientation. You will be notified by US mail of your scheduled Orientation session. During Orientation, families will receive vouchers that authorize them to search for a unit, the leasing information, and a list of available properties to choose from in the City and County of Denver.
Using the voucher and the list of available properties, you have at least 60 days to find housing. If you are an elderly and disabled applicant, the time period is longer. Visit
AffordableHousing.com to find eligible housing, or look at this
map created by HUD.
Once you receive a housing voucher, it is your responsibility to find suitable housing in the community of your choice, where the landlord agrees to rent under the program. You are not limited to units located in subsidized housing projects; you can choose any housing that meets the requirements of the program.
During your housing search, document everything. Always note when you meet with landlords, submit applications, or anything else related to your search. If you run into difficulties and can’t find a house in time, written records of your search will help if you need to apply for a 30-day extension. If you can prove to DHA that you’ve been working hard to find housing, they’re more likely to extend your search time.
If you come across any apartment listings that say “no section 8,” you can report them to the housing authority.
When you find an apartment, send a copy of your lease agreement to DHA along with any required documents that accompanied your voucher.
Once you move in, an inspector will visit to confirm that it meets the definition of “decent housing.” Additionally, DHA performs annual inspections and recertifications to make sure that you and the unit comply with program requirements.
As long as you are a participant in Denver’s affordable housing program, be sure to
notify DHA immediately of any changes in your income, family composition, or mailing address.
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