How to Apply for Section 8 in Michigan

The Section 8 application in Michigan gives low income households the opportunity to find affordable housing. Learning how to sign up for Section 8 will come after an applicant discovers whether or not he or she meets the minimum requirements of eligibility. Depending on the county in which an applicant lives, there will be different ways in which an application can be submitted.

To apply for low income housing in Michigan, all applicants must determine whether or not their local housing authority is accepting applications. When more applications are received compared to the affordable housing available, a waiting list is created. While there are 69 different housing authorities in Michigan, only a few may be open for applications at any given time, as affordable housing options are constantly in demand. To learn more about the process of applying for Section 8 housing in Michigan, continue below.

How to Apply for Section 8 Online in Michigan 

While some states in the U.S. do not offer a Section 8 application online, Michigan does. To apply for Section 8 online, an applicant must first verify that their local Public Housing Agency (PHA) is open and accepting new applicants. Various housing authorities will open at different times throughout the year in order to accommodate new applicants. An online application will only be accepted for open waiting lists. It is the responsibility of the applicant to determine whether or not their county housing authority is open, and if not, when they will be open.

The online Section 8 application is considered a pre-application and will determine which applicants are approved to be on their county’s waiting list. It is important to note that applying online does not guarantee a place on the waiting list, as eligibility is still a major part of the acceptance process. Before an applicant begins the pre-application process, he or she should gather the following information for every household member:

  • Full legal name
  • Social Security Number
  • Date of Birth
  • Annual Income before taxes and deductions
  • Priority status including disabilities or veteran status

Only one low income housing application is allowed per household. If more than one application per household is found, applicants run the risk of having their applications denied even before pre-approval is complete. 

How to Apply for Michigan Section 8 Housing by Mail or In Person 

There are plenty of states which allow the submission of a HUD housing application by mail or in person. In these cases, the application can be printed online or picked up in person at a local PSA. However, Michigan does not allow mail-in or in-person applications to be submitted. Low income applicants in Michigan may only submit a Section 8 application online. There will be no paper applications accepted, nor will any paper applications be available online for an applicant to print out and submit in person. If any applicant with a disability needs assistance with the pre-application forms online, then he or she can call 517-241-8986. All other questions or concerns can be directed toward the local PHA you are applying through. 

What happens after you submit a Section 8 application form in Michigan? 

As soon as your Section 8 application is submitted, you will receive a confirmation number. Within 24 hours, you can log into the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) Applicant Portal to check your status on the waiting list.

One of the most important aspects of any application for Section 8 is maintaining the information on your application up to date. While some residents who apply for Section 8 housing remain on the waiting list for months, sometimes years, it is crucial that the information provided stays accurate in order for the PHA to be able to reach you when housing becomes available. This can easily be done by logging into the MSHDA Applicant Portal. Any information that needs to be updated on an application must be done through the web portal. Updated information should never be submitted using the online pre-application, only through the Applicant Portal. The MSHDA applicant portal can also be used to complete a Section 8 application status check. Changes to an application for Section 8 that will need to be documented include:

  • Change of address.
  • Change in household members.
  • Change in family size.
  • Changes in income.
  • Change of phone number.

The MSHDA will correspond with applicants through the Applicant Portal, but also via mail or telephone. When this information is not properly maintained by the applicant and a housing unit becomes available, the applicant risks losing his or her place in line. 

How long will it take for a Michigan Section 8 application to be chosen? 

While there is no guaranteed timeframe in which a Section 8 application will be approved for housing, there are certain criteria which provide priority to some applicants. Beginning January 1, 2019 in Michigan, a HUD section 8 application will be ranked in the following order:

  • Homeless County of Application Residency:  Applicants who are homeless and are living or working in the county of application.
  • Disabled County of Application Residency: Applicants who are disabled and are living or working in the county of application.
  • County of Application Residency: Applicants who are living or working in the county of application.
  • Disabled Michigan Residency: Applicants who are disabled, not living or working in the county of application, but are living or working in Michigan.
  • Michigan Residency: Applicants who are not living or working in the county of application, but are living or working in Michigan.
  • Disabled Out of State Residency: Applicants who are disabled but are not living or working in Michigan.
  • Out of state Residency: Applicants who are not living or working in Michigan.

If an applicant is not homeless, not a resident of Michigan nor a resident of the county in which he or she is submitting their Section 8 application, then he or she can apply to be on the waiting list with no preference. Applying for no-preference means that when an applicant’s name is drawn for housing assistance, he or she must move to and live in the county of application for a period of at least 12 months.

For more information on affordable housing in Michigan, contact the official Michigan HUD agency.