In February of 2008, the Bucks County Section 8 list re-opened. Since then it has been accepting applicants, while closing for only short periods of time. Once the list closes “for good” the Bucks County Housing Authority places those on the list with vouchers and when the list is depleted, they open it back up to low income residence. Whether you made it in for the cut off, already have section 8 through Bucks County, or are porting your voucher to Bucks County, you will want to read this article for helpful tips and guides.
What is Section 8? If you are not familiar with the actual section 8 program offered through HUD, let me give you a quick introduction. Section 8, which is now currently named the Housing Choice Voucher Program gives low income families and individuals access to affordable housing. A section 8 voucher holder is given the ability to rent from any landlord who will accept the voucher. This could mean an apartment complex, a multi-family unit or a single home. The voucher holder is responsible for no more than 30% of their income in rent, and the section 8, through HUD pays the landlord the remaining balance of the fair market rent.
In Bucks County, Pennsylvania, it is the Bucks County housing Authority, Located in Levittown Pa, that handles and manages the waiting list, approves applicants, and helps voucher holders locate affordable housing. If you wish to inquire about the waiting list, you will need to contact them by phone at 215 945-6110.
Many people believe that you have to be severely low income to qualify for the section 8 program, but this is not the case. Currently, a family of four can earn about $40,000 in adjusted gross income and still qualify for section 8 assistance. So it is my advice that you find out if you could qualify and apply as soon as you are able to do so, if your family is struggling. Do not be discouraged about the waiting time and write it off.
Speaking of the waiting time, the Bucks County Housing Authority handles things very promptly compared to many other Housing Authorities. A case manager from a transitional housing service center, located in Montgomery County Pennsylvania, had made comments to me about how much more organized they are and how quickly they move for things such as inspection and so forth compared to Mongomery County. So once you get your voucher, know that they will do all they can to help approve a place for you and your family to live in as quickly as possible.
It is also important to know that the Bucks County Housing Authority only signs leases for the first of the month. This is important to know, since many Landlord’s may ask when can you move in. If it’s only the second of the month, you would have to let them know it would not be until the first of the following month. This is also true if you are past the inspection cut off, usually one week prior to the first. A family dwelling first needs to go under an inspection by the housing authority to be certain it meets all codes and safely measures. The Bucks County Housing Authority needs time to do the inspection, before the signing of the lease, plus your packet, which gets filled out by the potential landlord needs to be received so rent can be negotiated.
The Bucks County Housing Authority keeps an active looking list of dwellings which are already section 8 approved. You may want to call them when it comes time for you to find a place to live, since these are landlord’s who are already wanting to accept section 8 tenants. You can, however, approach any landlord and inquire if they would consider an section 8 voucher. Many landlord’s are not familiar with the program or write it off but if they meet you and have a good feeling, they will usually go through with it.
Finding affordable housing can be a challenge, especially in today’s world. If you live in Bucks County, you will know that rent here is often higher than in surrounding counties. You may wish to seek assistance from the Bucks County Housing Authority to put yourself on their waiting list. If the list is closed, continue to check in every few months, until it re opens.