Everything You Need to Know About Section 8 Housing in Miami

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If your household makes 50% or less of the median Miami income, you may be eligible for Section 8 housing rent assistance. Section 8 is a federal program that allows the government to pay a portion of participants’ rent. 
Under the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, low-income and very low-income families and individuals can receive rent assistance from the government, ensuring that they won’t pay more than 40% of their monthly income in rent. 
Housing vouchers give participants access to safe, clean, and decent housing on the private rental market. This can be an incredibly beneficial program to those without stable housing, but unfortunately, the wait times can be excessive, and navigating the process can be confusing. 
To help break down the Section 8 program, Jerry, the super app and car and renters insurance broker, has created this guide that will walk through the application and eligibility criteria, and what to do once you receive a voucher. 

What is Section 8 housing?

Section 8 housing allows low-income and very low-income families and individuals to find safe, decent housing with an affordable rental price. A federal program, Section 8 comes from the 1974 Housing and Community Development Act and gives rent assistance to participants from the government. 
Here’s how Section 8 works: 
  • Eligible families or individuals can apply for Section 8 housing in their area through their local housing authority 
  • The housing authority will determine an applicant’s voucher needs using their adjusted monthly income, household size and composition
  • Once given a voucher, tenants have a certain amount of time to find a housing unit that matches the number of bedrooms assigned on the voucher and informs their leasing officer when they find a suitable unit for their needs 
  • The housing authority will then schedule a unit inspection and determine a fair rent price to offer the prospective landlord. If both the inspection and rent are approved, the tenant can move in and start paying rent and utilities that won’t add up to more than 40% of their monthly income

Section 8 obligations

Section 8 outlines obligations for tenants, landlords, and the housing authority. Here are their responsibilities:
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
Key Takeaway Housing Choice vouchers allow their holders to select a home from the private rental market and get a portion of their rent paid for by the government.  

What are the requirements for Section 8 housing in Miami?

The City of Miami manages the Section 8 program in Miami, Florida. To qualify for Miami Section 8 housing, families and individuals will have to meet the criteria outlined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
Eligible persons must be at least 18 years old, be a U.S. citizen or hold eligible immigrant status, and submit to a criminal background check for drug-related, violent, or sexually-offensive crimes. The annual income of your household must not be above 50% of the area’s median income. The HUD considers multiple income sources including: 
  • Wages
  • Tips
  • Interest
  • Retirement funds
  • Social security benefits
  • Unemployment earnings
  • Worker’s compensation
  • Child support payments
This is not a comprehensive list, so be sure to check all qualifying income defined by the HUD. 
In 2021, the median annual income in Miami was $44,268. Your household income will need to be at or below 50% of Miami’s median income to be eligible for Section 8 vouchers but the exact amount your household can make will be adjusted for your family size. The below table will lay out how much your family can make and still be qualified in Miami:
Family size12345678
Very low income (50%)$31,650$36,200$40,700$45,200$48,850$52,450$56,050$59,700
Extremely low income (30%)$19,000$21,700$24,400$27,100$31,040$35,580$40,120$44,660

How to apply for Section 8 housing in Miami

The City of Miami has not accepted new applications for Section 8 housing since October of 2014 as they are still working through the last waitlist. 
Once the application opens again, this page will be updated and you’ll be clear to start filling it out. The application is extensive and requires a current email address,your income, Social Security or Alien Registration numbers for everyone in your household, and dates of birth for everyone in your household.   
It is common to be on the waitlist for a long time. If your information changes while you are waiting to hear from the city, call 305-416-1572 to provide your updated information—it is your responsibility to keep the information current. 
When your application reaches the top of the waiting list and there are housing units available, the City of Miami will contact you and your entire household to set up a briefing before the rest of the process unfolds. 

How to find Section 8 housing in Miami

Once you get your Housing Choice voucher, you should start looking for housing immediately. Section 8 vouchers in Miami will have an expiration date listed on them, but generally, you will have 60 to 90 days to find an appropriate unit. 30-day extensions can be requested over the phone or in-person as long as they are made at least one week before the voucher expires. 
Because Section 8 vouchers are for the private rental market, you can look for housing in any way. Affordablehousing.com is a popular housing search engine, or you can check newspaper ads, talk to real estate agents, or keep an eye out for “For Rent” signs in your area. 
Once you’ve selected a unit, you will need to have your prospective landlord complete a Request for Tenancy document. As soon as the landlord gives the completed form back to you, you will want to pass it along to your leasing officer as soon as possible so that an inspection of the unit can be scheduled. 
If the unit passes inspection the landlord accepts the rent offer and contract, and you are all set to move in. If either the inspection or the rent offer is not accepted, you will need to immediately begin looking for another suitable unit

How to save money on car and renters insurance in Miami

After filling out the extensive paperwork required through the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, you probably won’t want to have to deal with long, complicated forms for a while. You’ll likely also want to make sure your new apartment or faithful old car has the best insurance coverage for your budget if something unfortunate were to happen. 
Here’s where Jerry comes in. Download the app or go to getjerry.com, answer a few easy questions, and get customized quotes from 50+ top insurance companies in less than 45 seconds!  Have a question about your coverage? Jerry’s friendly agents are here to answer your questions and provide advice on the best coverage options. 
As your life changes, your insurance changes, and Jerry is ready to make those adjustments for you. 
“I thought I was already paying the lowest rate possible for my age group, but Jerry found me a better deal for the same coverage with Travelers! Everything went so smoothly that I couldn’t help but make a change right away.”—Athit S. 
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FAQs

The Section 8 program gives government-provided rent assistance to voucher holders, ensuring that participants will not pay more than 40% of their monthly income towards rent and utilities. The exact amount that the government covers will depend on your family size and composition, and need.
A 2-bedroom Section 8 voucher in Miami will typically pay between $1,505 and $1,839.
It is not required for landlords to participate in the Section 8 program in Florida. It is up to the landlord to decide if this program can work for them because it can take 30-60 days to process a resident’s file and issue the first check.

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