The Section 8 application process is handled at the local level by Public Housing Agencies that have contracted with HUD to administer federal program resources. Although all PHAs must abide by HUD guidelines, there are often small variations between agencies in the application, awards and implementation processes. This is because each agency is charged with tailoring its services and processes to the specific needs of its particular region. Partially as a result of this tailoring, all applicants who apply for Section 8 assistance are connected to PHA representatives with whom they will work closely throughout the process.
Some PHAs permit or even require applicants to initiate an MS Section 8 application online. Applications may also be accepted in person or by mail. Regardless of the method by which they apply for low income housing assistance, all applicants must be prepared to submit a variety of signed and certified documents as part of the process.
How to Apply for Section 8 Online in Mississippi
The first step for applicants seeking to apply online for low income housing is to determine which PHA handles assistance for the cities or regions in which they live. There are 54 PHAs in Mississippi. Applicants must apply to the PHA overseeing housing assistance in the area in which they want to live. Applicants may apply to more than one PHA, if desired.
PHAs accepting or requiring that applicants submit a HUD housing application or pre-application online will provide clear links to those forms on their websites. Applicants must complete the online forms in their entirety to initiate the application process. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.
Pre-applications often ask for no more than applicants’ names, addresses, contact information and basic family composition facts such as the number of children and adults present in the home. A more comprehensive low income housing application online may require applicants to provide:
- Full names for each person in the household.
- Dates of birth for each person in the household.
- Social Security Numbers for each person in the household.
- Income, asset and expense information for all family members.
Applicants who cannot provide this information upfront for any reason will need to submit their HUD Section 8 application in person, instead.
How to Apply for Mississippi Section 8 Housing by Mail
Applicants must contact their local PHAs directly for guidance on how to apply for Section 8 housing assistance online. Many Mississippi PHAs do not generally accept applications by mail. They may, however, arrange to make exceptions to accommodate applicants with disabilities or other barriers to access. Applicants should call their local PHAs to explain their situations and receive direction before attempting to apply by mail.
How to Apply for Mississippi Section 8 Housing in Person
Policies governing how to apply for housing assistance in person vary from region to region. In most cases, applicants can download copies of their local PHAs’ application forms from the agencies’ websites. They can then take their completed applications, along with the documents listed on the form, to their PHAs’ offices to submit them in person. Before applying, applicants should verify when Section 8 applications are accepted by their local PHAs, as some offices only accept them on certain days of the week or between certain hours due to staffing or scheduling restraints.
Applicants should expect to provide the names, ages, birth dates and Social Security Numbers of all members of their households on their applications. Typically, basic income information is also required. Heads of the household applying for Section 8 will need to provide income figures for every member of the family earning or receiving funds from any source. This might include, for example:
- Earned income from part-time or full-time employment.
- Disability or pension payments.
- Court-ordered child or spousal support payments.
The HUD housing application forms provided by applicants’ PHAs may specify additional information or documentation to be provided as well if the applicant is over a certain age or is claiming a disability.
What happens after you submit a Section 8 application form in Mississippi?
After individuals or families have applied for low income housing assistance online or in person, they can expect to work with a PHA representative to answer questions and collect and submit a variety of additional documentation. During the low income housing assistance application process, PHA representatives may ask questions or request documentation related to:
- Applicants’ former, current, anticipated or potential employment situations.
- Household income.
- Family members’ disabilities, if any.
- Family members’ criminal histories, if any.
- Incidents of victimization, such as dating or domestic violence or stalking, experienced by members of the household.
- Applicants’ housing history.
- Any other forms of state or federal assistance applicants are receiving or may be eligible to receive.
Applicants whose HUD Section 8 applications are denied will be issued formal notice of those decisions. Notices will include explanations of what criteria the applicants failed to meet or why they were otherwise disqualified.
Families that apply for Section 8 housing and are awarded assistance face two potential outcomes. If funds are immediately available, awardees can begin searching for and selecting housing. PHA representatives will assist awardees in understanding the size, safety and sanitation criteria that potential housing must meet. At applicants’ request, they may also assist in finding suitable housing and negotiating leases with the landlords. Applicants will then be free to move into their subsidized housing and to stay there so long as they meet Section 8 eligibility standards and abide by program terms.
If Section 8 applicants are awarded assistance but no funds are available, the family will be placed on a waiting list. PHAs manage their waiting lists through clearly established criteria, which agency representatives can explain to applicants when they are awarded assistance. Generally, waiting lists work in a first-come, first-served manner. However, PHAs may implement rules giving priority to certain sub-populations of applicants, such as the elderly or families at imminent risk of homelessness.
Low income housing applicants who are wait-listed will be notified when funding becomes available for them. They may also perform a periodic Section 8 application status check using whatever methods their local PHAs have set up to keep applicants informed. Often this takes the form of an online system applicants can log into to check their statuses.
Families receiving HUD Section 8 vouchers are free to move within the boundaries of their PHAs’ regions at their own discretion as their housing needs change. Recipients must notify their PHAs in advance of moving, however, and their new housing must meet the same stringent HUD safety and sanitation standards in order for them to continue to qualify for assistance.
Section 8 low income housing assistance may be revoked if applicants fail to maintain their responsibilities as tenants or willfully break or disregard program rules.
To contact your Mississippi HUD office, click here.