Everything You Need to Know About Section 8 Housing in Tulsa

To qualify for Section 8 housing in Tulsa, OK, you’ll need to make less than 50% of the median income.
Written by Emily Maracle
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
In Tusla,
, families with an income of 50% or less than the median income are eligible for Section 8 housing assistance, allowing the federal government to pay a portion of their rent. 
Section 8 was created to assist low-income individuals and families, those with disabilities, or elderly people in finding affordable housing. With a voucher from Section 8, you typically pay 40% or less of your monthly income for rent, and the program covers the rest.
While Section 8 is essential to many, it is an extremely difficult program to navigate, and getting assistance can seem impossible due to a large amount of paperwork, red tape, and long waitlists. 
To help you navigate through Section 8 housing in
, Oklahoma,
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What is Section 8 housing? 

Section 8, otherwise known as the Housing Choice Voucher Program, was created by the federal government to help low- and very low-income families, the elderly, or those with disabilities find safe, decent, and affordable housing. 
While Section 8 is an outdated term for the program, its name comes from its origins in Section 8 of the Housing and Community Development Act, which was passed by Congress in 1974
The basis of the Section 8 program is:
  • Families or individuals eligible for the program can apply to their public housing authority (PHA) for project-based or housing choice vouchers
  • Project-based vouchers are designed for specific apartments and homes, meaning landlords can designate certain units for Section 8 vouchers. 
  • Housing choice vouchers allow a tenant to live in any apartment that meets the voucher’s criteria. 
  • The housing authority assigns a voucher-based on your family size and its composition. Typically a voucher will be for a set number of bedrooms. 
  • As determined by HUD and PHAs, tenants don’t pay more than 40% of their income in rent. The program covers the rest—paying it directly to the landlord. 

Section 8 obligations

As Section 8 is a federal program, each entity and individual has responsibilities and obligations. Here’s what tenants, landlords, and housing authorities are responsible for:
Housing authority
Provide accurate and complete documentation within the application
Screen eligible tenants
Determine applicants’ eligibility and issue vouchers
Find housing and complete all necessary paperwork in the designated timeframe
Comply with fair housing laws
Approve rental units, rental amounts, and leases
Pay rent on time and be present for any appointments or inspections
Complete necessary repairs and maintenance
Inspect units annually
Notify the housing authority of any changes in family composition or income
Provide housing authority with documentation of any notices to tenants, including eviction notices
Ensure that both tenants and landlords comply with program rules
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Key Takeaway Many families and individuals are eligible for Section 8 housing, meaning the government will cover a portion of their rent, but long wait times and confusing processes are major deterrents. 

What are the requirements for Section 8 housing in Tulsa? 

In Tulsa, the
Housing Authority of the City of Tulsa
, or THA, runs the Housing Choice Voucher Program. If you’re interested in applying for Section 8 in Tulsa, you have to meet the eligibility requirements that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) sets. 
HUD’s requirements are: 
  • You must be at least 18 years of age or older. 
  • You are a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or other documented immigrant.
  • You cannot be a convicted sex offender.
  • You cannot have been evicted for a serious lease violation, including anything related to drugs or drug manufacturing.
Additionally, your eligible income cannot exceed 50% of the median income in your area. When determining income, HUD looks at the following:
  • Employment wages
  • Income from businesses
  • Interest from things like bank accounts or investments
  • Social assistance, like welfare or Social Security benefits
  • Child support and alimony payments
There are additional income types that HUD may include; you can
look at this list
to determine your eligible income.
As of 2021, the median income in Tulsa is $74,200. Income limits vary depending on your family size and composition. Here’s a breakdown of qualifying income limits based on household size in Tulsa:
Family size
Very low income (50%)
Extremely low income (30%)
Beyond income and family size, THA also prioritizes victims of domestic violence, current military members or veterans, those displaced by natural disasters, and families with disabled members. Additionally, THA is part of the
Emergency Housing Vouchers
program, which provides additional housing vouchers to individuals or families facing:
  • Homelessness or are at-risk of homelessness
  • Fleeing or attempting to leave dangerous situations, such as domestic violence or human trafficking 
  • At-risk for housing instability 

How to apply for Section 8 housing in Tulsa

If you’re interested in applying for Section 8 housing in Tulsa, you’ll need to complete a preliminary application through the Tulsa Housing Authority’s
online site
Once your preliminary application is approved, you’ll go on a waitlist. Currently, the waitlist for the Housing Choice Voucher program is six months to a year, while the waitlist for the Project-based Voucher program is up to four years
THA doesn’t accept phone calls about applications, so you’ll need to continually check the status
Should your income or family composition change while you’re on the waitlist or once you’re accepted, you must submit a
change form
to THA within 30 days. 
Once you’re matched with a Housing Coordinator, THA requires that you watch a
Housing Choice Voucher Briefing Video
and complete a certification form. 
After your eligibility is confirmed, you’ll receive your voucher and any other necessary paperwork. 

How to find Section 8 housing in Tulsa 

Tulsa Housing Authority gives you 60 days to find suitable housing after receiving your voucher. To search for eligible housing, you can use
this map
created by HUD.
Because there is a voucher expiration date, you want to ensure you’re documenting your search. If you need an extension, you’ll have to submit a written request to THA at least five days before your voucher expires. It’s important to show THA that you’ve been actively searching for housing, filling out applications, and meeting with landlords. 
Once you find a unit, you’ll need to complete a Request for Tenancy Approval (RFTA) with your landlord and submit it to your Housing Coordinator. The request must be submitted before your voucher expires, and it often takes 10-15 days for the RFTA to process. 
From there, your landlord will be given a date and time for the unit’s inspection. THA doesn’t follow up with you, so it’s important to stay in touch with your landlord. 
If the unit passes inspection, THA will begin paying rent on your behalf or whenever you move in, whichever is later. Keep in mind that if you move in before inspection, you’re responsible for the full rent amount until the unit passes. 
You can expect inspections every other year to ensure your unit continues to meet Section 8 standards. 
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With Section 8, you’ll never have to pay more than 40% of your income in rent. Section 8 covers 60% to 70% of your rent depending on your financial situation.
For a 2-bedroom apartment, Tulsa Housing Authority will pay a maximum of $925. Fair market rent in Tulsa for a 2-bedroom is currently $896.
It is against Oklahoma state law to discriminate against a potential tenant based on their age, sex, race, religion, familial status, disability, or national origin. The Housing Authority of the City of Tulsa also requires landlords to agree to treat Section 8 tenants as they would regular tenants.
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