Waiting in line for a ride at an amusement park creates anticipation. Waiting in line for housing assistance creates possible apprehension, especially when you are already experiencing financial hardship. When you fill out your HUD application for Section 8 approval your name will be entered on the list at the bottom, in place behind every other applicant who applied at an earlier date.
Certain applicants are given preferential selection treatment, however, and granted faster approval times. To be eligible for preferential selection you must meet specific requirements. Many requirements vary in each state and with each PHA. Certain preferential selection requirements are similar or the same across all programs, however.
Low income apartments for rent are generally made available to candidates of certain demographics or who are at risk of specific issues first. Again, not all programs work the same exact way. U.S. veterans might receive preferential selection treatment across the country, especially if they are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
In the case of veterans, however, additional housing assistance programs through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) might also be available. If a veteran is homeless or at risk of becoming so, VA housing programs might take predominance over (or supplement) options available on the general Section 8 waiting list.
Applicants aged sixty-two or older might also commonly receive preferential selection treatment on Section 8 waiting lists. This is because senior citizens are more at risk of experiencing health problems when homeless or incapable of affording their heating and air conditioning bills.
In fact, any applicant who is either homeless or at risk of imminently becoming homeless might be moved to the front (or top) of the Section 8 housing list. One of the primary purposes of this program is to mitigate homelessness if not help eliminate it entirely.
Low-income individuals and families are also potentially eligible to have their approval moved forward on the waiting list timeline. This is especially true for families with dependent children in their households.
Granted, circumstances related to your financial hardships might apply to your approval timeline and waiting list status. For example, a victim of domestic violence might receive rental assistance through Section 8 prior to a person who is merely unemployed. While unemployment is a serious issue and creates significant problems in peoples’ lives, domestic violence victims might literally be killed if they do not have adequate places to shelter and reside.
Waiting list exceptions are also commonly made for families who are displaced from their homes due to damage caused by natural disasters. Emergency assistance grants or loans through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) might also be available for these purposes, however, allowing Section 8 funds to be spent on other applicants.