applying for section 8 in Mississippi
How to Apply for Mississippi Section 8
Mississippi Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program offers assistance to low-income households so that they can afford sanitary, safe, and decent housing in the private housing market. The rental assistance is paid directly to the landlord. The program is funded by U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
A family receiving Housing Choice Voucher can choose a residence anywhere in the state within 60 days from the date of issuing of the voucher. If a voucher holder fails to find a suitable housing within the time period mentioned, it will lose the right to the voucher. It will move to the next applicant on the waiting list.
Section 8 beneficiary can choose a housing unit that can be a mobile home, a townhouse, a single-family unit, or a duplex but it should meet family’s needs. In addition, the housing unit should not be owned by the Section 8 occupant. The unit must be safe and in good condition. It should meet quality standards set by HUD for Section 8 housing units.
Mississippi Regional Housing Authority IV (MRHA IV) will inspect the housing unit to determine whether or not it meets HUD’s quality standards. MRHA IV will also inspect the house after every 12 months to ensure that it is in accordance with the HUD’s requirements. The tenant and the landlord should not resist to such inspection once a prior notice has been served to the tenant.
MRHA IV will also make sure that the housing unit has a ‘reasonable’ rent. A housing unit is said to have reasonable rent when it’s comparable to similar units in the same area. MRHA IV will compare the rent of the housing unit after inspecting it with the market data it has collected for rent of other housing units in the same area.
The tenant may have to pay a security deposit to the landlord in order to obtain the lease agreement for the housing unit. MRHA IV doesn’t pay such security. Households will need to arrange for it by themselves. In most cases, the security for the lease agreement is usually equal to a month’s rent, paid in advance to the landlord.
Mississippi Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher is for low income families who are finding it impossible to afford sanitary and safe housing. The program administering agencies will specifically check income and other eligibility before issuing a voucher. The beneficiary will need to sign a contract of lease as a tenant with the landlord. MRHA IV will also sign a contract with the landlord who will receive direct payment from the MRHA IV.
As the result of tenant-landlord contract, the Section 8 beneficiary will have certain duties as a tenant such as duty to live peacefully, duty to stay away from drug-related criminal activity, and duty to submit rent on time. In case tenant fails to perform his duties under the contract, the landlord will have the choice to serve a notice of eviction after informing the housing authority. Once a Section 8 tenant is evicted for a genuine reason, the chances of obtaining another voucher would from a MRHA IV would be low.
Who can Qualify for Section 8?
Mississippi Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program only accepts those who meet the following eligibility guidelines.
The applicant should be a U.S citizen or a qualified alien with all the documentation to proof the status as legal.
The applicant should be resident of Mississippi. He/she will need to bring proof of such residence along with him/her when applying for Section 8 assistance.
The applicant should meet the definition of family, as per rules of Section 8. A family can be a single person or a group of persons according to the definition of family under Section 8. You can read more about families that fall within the definition by visiting this link (http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=DOC_11749.pdf) and reading under Family Definition.
The household income for the applicant should be below the income limits determined by HUD for Mississippi. Usually, families with income below 30% of area median income qualify for Section 8 assistance. However, households with income below 50% of area median income may also qualify depending on the availability of funds and pending applicants on waiting lists.
The applicant should not have a record showing eviction from a public or Section 8 housing on the grounds of drug-related criminal activity. MRHA IV will run a background check on applicants before issuing any vouchers.
How to Apply
To apply for Mississippi Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, applicants will need to follow these simple steps.
Download pre-application from this link (http://www.mrh4.com/information.htm) and fill application form in all respects using data from your income and other documents.
Once you’ve completed the application and have attached relevant documents, you will need to mail the application to MRHA IV at the following address
Mississippi Regional Housing Authority IV
P.O Box 1051
Columbus, MS 39703
Apply for Section 8 at the earliest. It may take up to 3 years to receive Section 8 assistance in Mississippi. You can contact your nearest housing authority office to ask for details about the application procedure. A representative will help you with everything once you’ve reached out to any Section 8 housing authority in your area. You can find a list of Housing Authority regional offices here (http://www.hud.gov/offices/pih/pha/contacts/states/ms.cfm).