Most people think of the government-sponsored Section 8 housing program as a program for low-income renters. While the Section 8 program does indeed assist lower-income individuals and families with affording quality rental housing, it is also possible to buy a home with Section 8 assistance. The reasoning behind the program pertains to the concept of the American Dream.
Rather than provide money for rent payments to landlords who already have financial stability, why not use the money to help working, low-income Americans own their own homes? The homes purchasable with Section 8 assistance are often in better locations than those available for rent. Qualified homeowners also build up equity and maintain a valuable asset, which allows them to create more financial stability throughout their lives.
One phrase key to understanding the qualifying premises of this program is “full-time, working household member.” This means one or more household members are required to be working full time in order to qualify to buy a home with Section 8 assistance. Unemployed Americans are disqualified from this type of housing assistance program. Section 8 does not pay mortgages in full, either. Each household is required to pay a portion of the applicable mortgage payment equivalent to thirty percent of the household’s adjusted gross income.
Approval to buy a house with Section 8 assistance is challenging to obtain. Income requirements are based on the median income of the area in which you live. If your household income is above the regional threshold by a specific amount or more you are disqualified.
The majority of vouchers distributed to households are required by law to go to families with the lowest incomes as well. This means even if your household meets the income requirements, other families are potentially approved before yours.
Still, this program provides exceptional opportunities for households able to qualify. The assistance lasts for up to fifteen years, after which your household must take over the mortgage in full. The assistance also helps cover property taxes, allowances for utility payments, home repairs and homeowners’ insurance.
It is possible for this program to also cover the expenses of making your home handicapped/wheelchair accessible. Contact the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for more information through your local public housing authority offices or visit the HUD website.