Everything You Need to Know About Section 8 Housing in Cincinnati

You typically must make less than 50% of the median household income to qualify for Section 8 housing in Cincinnati.
Written by Talullah Blanco
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Families in Cincinnati,
, typically must make less than 50% of the median household income to qualify for Section 8 housing vouchers. Having a voucher allows the federal government to cover a certain percentage of your rent. 
Long waiting lists, bureaucratic red tape, and piles of paperwork make it time-consuming to navigate the Section 8 housing application process, to say the least. Furthermore, every local public housing agency has different requirements to qualify for Section 8 housing. 
That’s why renters and
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has found everything you’ll need to know about Section 8 housing in Cincinnati. We’ll walk you through the specific program requirements set by the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority and how to apply to the Housing Choice Voucher Program. 
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What is Section 8 housing?

Section 8 is a federal affordable housing program that provides rental assistance to very low-income families, the elderly, and disabled people so they can afford safe and sanitary housing in the rising private market. 
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) distributes funds to local public housing agencies (PHAs) to administer housing choice vouchers or project-based vouchers to qualifying families and individuals.
Here’s how Section 8 housing works:
  • Applicants can receive housing choice vouchers or project-based vouchers if accepted into the program.
  • The Housing Choice Voucher Program allows tenants to rent a unit of their choice as long as the property is up to par with the Section 8 requirements.
  • The Project-Based Voucher Program limits tenants to certain participating properties. 
  • Family size and composition determine the size and price of a unit you can take. 
  • If selected, you will not pay more than 40% of their monthly income in rent. The government takes care of the rest. 

Section 8 obligations

Once the lease and housing assistance contract is signed, the tenant, landlord, and housing authority each have obligations to fulfill. The table below explains what each party involved is responsible for:
Housing authority
Provide accurate and complete documentation
Screen tenants
Determine applicants’ eligibility and administer 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 tenants and landlords comply with program rules
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Key Takeaway Qualifying families and individuals won’t pay more than 40% of their monthly income in rent if selected, but the Section 8 application process can be intensive. 

What are the requirements for Section 8 housing in Cincinnati?

Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA)
manages Section 8 housing. You’ll have to meet the federal requirements set by HUD in order to qualify for Section 8 housing vouchers in Cincinnati. 
You must be 18 years or older and a US citizen or documented immigrant to qualify. If you are a convicted sex offender or you’ve been evicted for a serious lease violation,your application will likely be denied. 
Unless your family is already assisted under the 1937 US Housing Act, your income cannot exceed 50% of the median income in your county or metro area to qualify. 
Here are the income sources the HUD considers in income calculations:
  • Wages
  • Business income
  • Interest
  • Welfare assistance
  • Social security benefits
  • Alimony and child support
The median household income in Cincinnati was $42,663 in 2020. However, the exact income threshold you’ll need to meet depends on your family size. 
Note that the CMHA is required to administer 75% of their vouchers to extremely low-income applicants (i.e., those who make less than 30% of the median amount) by federal law. 
In the table below, you’ll find qualifying income based on family size in Cincinnati:
Family size
Extremely low income (30%)
Very low income (50%)
Low income (80%)
Families that have been displaced by public housing demolition or residents and owners opting out of project-based housing assistance payment contracts (with incomes up to 80% of the median income) all qualify for Section 8 vouchers in In Cincinnati.
Key Takeaway You’ll have to meet federal eligibility requirements to qualify for Section 8 housing vouchers in Cincinnati. 

How to apply for Section 8 housing in Cincinnati

When the Waiting List opens, you will submit a pre-application to CMHA to apply for the Section 8 housing program and then be placed on the waitlist. 
Families who enter a random lottery to be placed on the waitlist will be notified by mail. 
CMHA will give you a placement number assigned by a random draw system (but individuals with certain circumstances, like homelessness and disability, will have priority). Once you are on the waiting list, you can check your status
It's common to remain on the waiting list for 12-18 months before you are approved for housing vouchers. If there are any changes to your address, family composition, mailing address, or place of employment be sure to notify the CMHA in writing.
You’ll be notified when you reach the top of the list, at which point the CMHA will request income and background checks to determine your eligibility. 
Qualifying families will be invited to a briefing and then immediately be issued a voucher and Request for Tenancy Approval Form (RTA) to submit when you apply for housing. 

How to find Section 8 housing in Cincinnati

Once you receive your voucher, you have 90 days to find housing, complete the RTA, and submit it to the CMHA before your voucher expires. You can use
for help finding a place.
Make sure to document everything from meetings with landlords to submitted applications. If you don’t find housing within the 90-day limit, you’ll need this evidence if you want to apply for a 30-day extension. 
When you find a unit, send a copy of your lease agreement and completed RTA to the CMHA for review. The housing authority will inspect the unit before you move to make sure it meets quality housing standards. 
Once the unit is approved, CMHA will notify all parties and you can officially move into your new home. CMHA will carry out annual inspections to recertify the apartment and make sure it adheres to program standards.
Key Takeaway If you’re selected from the waitlist, you’ll have 90 days to find housing that meets your voucher requirements. Keep detailed records of your search.

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Section 8 will pay for up to 60% of your monthly income to cover rent. The exact dollar amount will vary depending on your family size, income, and fair market rent in your area.
You can usually find 2 bedroom Section 8 apartments ranging between $1,333 and $2,994 in Cincinnati.
Landlords are prohibited from discriminating against applicants with Section 8 vouchers and are required to accept vouchers as a source of income but they are not obligated to rent to them either.
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