Everything You Need to Know About Section 8 Housing in Ann Arbor

To qualify for Section 8 housing vouchers in Ann Arbor, you need to make less than 50% of the median income.
Written by Elizabeth Sandberg
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Families whose income is 50% or less of
Ann Arbor
’s median income can apply for Section 8 housing vouchers, which authorize the federal government to cover a portion of their rent. 
The Section 8 program was established in the 1970s and allows low-income families, the elderly, and disabled individuals access to decent housing. Those who receive Section 8 vouchers often pay just 40% or less of their monthly income in rent, while the government covers the rest. 
As with most government programs, navigating the Section 8 program can be overwhelming. The considerable paperwork, lengthy wait times, and overburdened government programs all make tackling Section 8 housing seem like an impossible task. But it is possible.
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, and take you through the process of applying for a voucher, looking for housing, and maintaining your Section 8 standing. 
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What is Section 8 housing?

As a federally funded program, Section 8 allows low-income families, as well as elderly or disabled people, to have a portion of their rent paid for by the government. The name comes from the Section 8Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, which established the housing voucher program. 
Here’s how Section 8 works: 
  • To qualify for rental assistance, residents apply to their local housing authority for housing choice vouchers or project-based vouchers
  • Housing choice vouchers enable applicants to live in an apartment that matches the conditions designated on the voucher 
  • Project-based vouchers are connected to specific properties where landlords allocate some units as low-income dwellings. 
  • The housing authority looks at family size and composition and assigns vouchers for a specific number of bedrooms based on that information. 
  • Housing choice vouchers ensure that tenants who apply for housing will not pay more than 40% of their income in rent—the government pays the remaining rent directly to the landlord or property owner. 

Section 8 requirements

Under Section 8, all participants—tenants, landlords, and local housing authorities—agree to specific obligations. Here’s what each party is responsible for:
Housing authority
Provides accurate and complete documentation
Screens tenants
Determines applicants’ eligibility and issue vouchers
Finds suitable housing and completes all required paperwork before voucher expiration
Complies with fair housing laws
Approves units, rental amounts, and leases
Pays rent promptly and attends all required appointments
Completes all necessary repairs and maintenance
Inspects subsidized units annually
Notifies the housing authority of any changes in income or family composition
Provides housing authority with documentation of any notices to tenants, including eviction notices
Ensures that tenants and landlords all comply with program rules
Key Takeaway Once you are approved for Section 8 housing, the government pays a significant portion of your monthly rent—but you must be prepared for extensive paperwork and long wait periods. 

What are the requirements for Section 8 housing in Ann Arbor?

Section 8 housing in Ann Arbor is managed by the
City of Ann Arbor Housing Commission (AAHC)
. To qualify for Section 8 vouchers in Ann Arbor, you must meet the federal requirements determined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD): 
  • You must be 18 years of age or older 
  • Either a US citizen or a documented immigrant 
  • No previous evictions for a serious lease violation, especially if it involves drugs or the manufacture of methamphetamines 
  • Your application will be denied if you’re a convicted sex offender 
To qualify, your income cannot exceed 50% of the median income in your area. HUD applies the following in income calculations: 
  • Wages
  • Alimony and child support
  • Welfare assistance
  • Social security benefits
  • Business income
  • Interest
Other types of income may be counted in your total income amount. You can
refer to this list
for more information and calculate your income. 
The most recent figures from 2020 indicate that the median household income in Ann Arbor is $69,456. However, exact income allowances will vary based on a family’s size. Keep in mind that housing authorities are required by federal law to assign 75% of 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 Ann Arbor:
Family size
Very low income
Extremely low income
Low income
In addition to the above, the AAHC also takes factors other than family size and income into account. Applications for families with children or disabled or elderly family members may be prioritized over others. Those currently unhoused also may receive priority. 
For those who qualify, a housing subsidy will be paid to the landlord directly by the AAHC. The family is then responsible for paying any rent amount not covered by the subsidy. In some circumstances, a family may use its voucher to purchase a modest home.

How to apply for Section 8 housing in Ann Arbor

The AAHC waitlist for Section 8 housing choice vouchers (HCV) is currently closed. However, you may still
create an account
and pre-register for the waitlist. 
The waitlist for Section 8 project-based vouchers (PBV) opened on March 14, 2022, and will remain open until further notice. To apply for an AAHC PBV, eligible residents must meet the income requirements, based on family size. 
Applications are accepted online only. Candidates must
create an account
and complete and submit an application while the waiting list is open. Applications can be completed through any device with internet access and a valid email address. 
Applications are for the waiting list only, not for immediate assistance. All fully completed and up-to-date applications remain active on the waiting list until the applicant’s eligibility is determined. Any changes in your income, family composition, or mailing address need to be
updated in your account

How to find Section 8 housing in Ann Arbor

Once you’ve been notified that you’ve received a voucher, HUD states that you’ll have at least 60 days to find housing (elderly and disabled applicants are usually allowed longer). It is the family’s responsibility to locate a suitable apartment. The family’s current rental may qualify for the subsidy. 
You can use
to find a place or look at
this map
created by HUD. If you see any listings that say “no section 8,” you can report them to the housing authority. 
As you conduct your housing search, document all your search activities, such as meetings with landlords, and applications you have submitted. If you’re unable to find affordable housing within the time limit, providing records of your search will your request for an extension.
Once you find an apartment, you will need to send a copy of your lease agreement to AAHC along with the “request for tenancy approval” documents that you received with your voucher. 
A representative from AAHC will inspect the apartment after you move in to ensure that it meets federal minimum Housing Quality Standards and minimum required local safety building code standards. The head of household and the landlord (or representative) must be present at the time of the inspection
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Under Section 8, you won’t be required to pay more than 40% of your income in rent. That means that Section 8 will cover the rest—up to 60% of your monthly income. The dollar amount varies depending on your income, family size, and the fair market rent in your area.
A 2-bedroom Section 8 voucher in Ann Arbor will typically pay between $899 and $1,390 per month toward rent.
While requirements may vary throughout the state of Michigan, all rental properties in Ann Arbor are required to accept Section 8. Denying applicants with Section 8 vouchers is considered discrimination.
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