How to Apply for Section 8 in New Jersey

Applicants who wish to submit an NJ Section 8 application must do so at their local Public Housing Authority (PHA). When accepting applications, the PHAs use rules outlined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to determine how to issue vouchers.

To apply for Section 8, candidates may do so online, in person or by mail, depending on the chosen PHA. When applying, petitioners must provide information about all members of the household. Information needed includes names, Social Security Numbers and citizenship for everyone in the family. The PHA uses this information to determine an applicant’s Section 8 eligibility and their priority ranking on the list. Priority ranks can be determined on a variety of factors such as homeless, victim of domestic violence or disability. These priorities are often left to the discretion of the PHA. Applicants can review the valuable information below on how to apply for Section 8 in the state of New York.

How to Apply for Section 8 Online in New Jersey

To submit a Section 8 application online for low-income housing, applicants must apply directly at a PHA in their area. Each PHA has different procedures for accepting applications. Anyone looking to apply for a voucher should first check the website for their local PHA. Some offices provide an online form for candidates to complete entirely online.

Most offices have a Section 8 waiting list for the voucher program and may only take applications if there is room on the list. Residents should contact their local PHA to determine when the office is accepting applications or pre-applications for closed lists. If the list for a PHA is closed, applicants are encouraged to submit a low-income housing application at another Public Housing Authority. When applicants apply at another PHA, they can increase their chances of finding affordable housing.

To complete an online application, candidates will need to provide:

  • Full name of each member of the household
  • Income of each member of the family
  • Date of birth for everyone in the household 
  • Citizenship status for everyone in the household

Although submitting documentation when they apply online for low income housing, candidates are encouraged to have it on hand when completing the application. Keeping the information at hand helps the petitioner complete the application without the need to revisit it later to complete. The PHA representative may request in interview and that you provide any of these proofs. Should an applicant have questions while completing the form, they may reach out their local PHA.

Submitting a Section 8 application online is the most convenient option. The online option gives petitioners access to an electronic copy of their application where they can check the status and make updates as necessary. Applicants should check to see if the PHA has online applications, or if the applications are even open.

How to Apply for Housing Assistance in New Jersey by Mail

Anyone who wishes to submit a HUD housing application by mail should contact their local PHA for procedures on mailing an application. In many cases, the PHA requires candidates to complete a preliminary HUD section 8 application to help determine their eligibility for the program. Candidates will need to provide basic information such as:

  • Full name of each family member
  • Income for each family member
  • Date of birth for each family member
  • Citizenship status for each family member

Candidates who apply for low-income housing may need to provide copies of relevant documentation along with the application including:

  • Social Security Card
  • Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) documents
  • Paystubs

Some PHAs may not accept mailed in applications. For those that do, you may need to contact the office for a copy of the form.

How to Apply for New Jersey Section 8 Housing in Person

To submit an NJ section 8 application in person, applicants should visit their local Public Housing Authority. The PHA may not accept HUD section 8 applications if the waiting list is closed. As such, applicants should contact the PHA for details on when the list may reopen. When applying in person, voucher candidates must complete an application and provide information for each member of the household. They must provide names, ages and income for each family member. They must also provide evidence of each family member’s citizenship status. This can include Social Security information or immigration documents.

Applying in person does not move the petitioner of the list nor does it give them preference on the list. However, if the PHA considers an applicant a priority, as is the case with homeless applicants or applicants who are domestic violence victims, the PHA may grant them a higher priority on the list. The priority rankings can be different for the PHAs across the state. Common priority applicants include current Section 8 tenants who are displaced or have children or disabled family members. Anyone who meets this criteria should contact their local PHA for next steps after completing their application.

What happens after you submit a Section 8 application in New Jersey?

When a family submits an NJ section 8 application, the PHA uses the information on the HUD housing application to determine the family’s eligibility for the program. If the family meets the criteria, the PHA places the family on a Section 8 waiting list. The PHA can assign applications ranking on the list based on a variety of factors, and many applicants are chosen in a lottery. Anyone on a priority list should speak with a PHA about additional application procedures. 

The waiting list for each PHA varies, and it often takes several years for a candidate’s name to move up the list. Applicants may contact their local PHA to perform a Section 8 application status check, if offered by the PHA. Candidates for a voucher should not sign a new lease until they are approved for the program. Anyone who receives a reject for the program will receive a notice that details tenant disqualifications. The letter will also offer ways to initiate the Section 8 appeals process, if desired.

After a household is approved for the program, their local PHA conducts a more thorough review of the application and begins the verification process. At that time, candidates must provide updated documentation and consent to a background check. Applicants will need to provide:

  • Proof of Social Security Number for each member of the household.
  • Paystubs for anyone under 18 years of age.
  • Immigration documents, when necessary.
  • Any other documents requested, such as identification.

Once approved, the PHA issues a voucher that the recipient may use to begin searching for housing. Applicants can click here for New Jersey HUD contact information.