Frequent Pitfalls

Only applying to one Public Housing Authority

There are not enough Section 8 vouchers or public housing units to help everyone who needs housing. When you apply to one of these programs, the housing authority will probably put you on a waiting list.

Some areas have very long waiting lists. In order to speed up the process of getting housing, you should apply to as many housing authorities as possible.

Not asking for help

If you have difficulty with the application or finding an apartment, tell your housing authority and they can help you.

If your disability makes any part of the application process difficult for you, the housing authority is required to provide reasonable accommodations. You may be able to get an accommodation such as extra help filling out the application, extra time finding rental housing, or assistance finding housing that meets your needs.

Not returning to work because you fear losing your rental subsidy

If you get Section 8 or live in public housing and have a disability, you can get an Earned Income Disregard (EID) so that you can work without having your rent go up. If you have an EID, for the first year after you start working, income from your job is not counted towards your rent, so your portion of the rent stays the same. In the second year, your housing authority will count only half of your total work earnings towards rent.

Not responding to waiting list update letters

Most housing authorities update their waiting lists often to make sure that everyone on them still wants a voucher. If you don’t respond to a letter from a housing authority, they will probably think you don’t want a voucher and they’ll take you off the waiting list.

Not updating contact information while you are on a waiting list

While you are on a waiting list, it is very important to tell the housing authority about any changes in your contact information. If the housing authority is unable to contact you, they may take you off the list.

Not seeking expert help when threatened with foreclosure

If you are having trouble paying your mortgage, or you are already facing foreclosure, it can be very hard to figure out what you should do. The first step to getting help is to call a foreclosure hotline:

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