Eligibility for Section 8 in Rhode Island

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Section 8 eligibility in Rhode Island is dependent on the applicant’s answers to some questions about income, family members, criminal history and citizenship status. Many applicants end up wondering “Do I qualify for Section 8 housing in Rhode Island?” because different local housing authorities in the state have varying rules for eligibility. Furthermore, qualifying criteria for federal Section 8 programs is different from qualifying criteria for Section 8 programs run by state or local municipalities. Therefore, a family could qualify for Section 8 eligibility on a federal level without qualifying on a state or local level, and vice versa. Another source of confusion about Section 8 eligibility in RI is the fact that most housing candidates do not realize that there are actually multiple housing programs for which one may be eligible, as Section 8 eligibility in RI includes both tenant-based and project-based housing programs. Learn more about Section 8 eligibility in Rhode Island and what it takes to qualify by reading the topics below:

  • What are the requirements for Section 8 in Rhode Island?
  • What do I need to apply for Section 8 in Rhode Island?
  • Additional requirements for Section 8 eligibility in Rhode Island

What are the requirements for Section 8 in Rhode Island?

Section 8 eligibility rules, whether on the federal or state level, all require some similar documentation and other guidelines in order to apply. A household’s primary Section 8 eligibility applicant must be a U.S. citizen, although not all members in the family are required to meet this citizenship rule. Documentation for citizenship generally requires a U.S. birth certificate or passport. Additionally, some Rhode Island Section 8 programs will give priority to the homeless, families with young children, the elderly and people with disabilities. Veterans have their own Section 8 programs and must apply through a Veterans Affairs office.

What are the qualifications for low income housing in Rhode Island in terms of income? In order to meet RI Section 8 eligibility guidelines, candidates must prove that their income falls below average for the area where they live. This average income is referred to as the “median average salary.” Generally, Section 8 eligibility in RI requires the petitioner to make no more than 80 percent of the average household income earned in his or her county. Rhode Island Section 8 eligibility guidelines classify those making 30-50 percent of the average salary of the area as “low income” or “very low income,” and some local housing authorities give special priority to these households.

What do I need to apply for Section 8 in Rhode Island?

All information provided on the RI Section 8 eligibility application is subject to verification. Verification for Rhode Island Section 8 eligibility requires the petitioner to submit corroborating documentation, which proves citizenship, personal identity and more for both the applicant and the applicant’s family. RI Section 8 eligibility documentation can include the following:

  • Birth certificates for all family members
  • Social Security cards for all family members
  • A list of assets and debts
  • Transcripts (if a student candidate)
  • Past rental agreements (if applicable)
  • Proof of income (pay stubs or tax returns)
  • Documentation of additional governmental aid (TANF or SNAP benefits)

Additional Requirements for Section 8 Eligibility in Rhode Island

Rhode Island Section 8 eligibility rules also require candidates to pass a background check. What this means is that Section 8 eligibility is determined on a person’s rental history and their personal background with the law. Any applicant who has a serious criminal history or a household member with a criminal record will be denied Section 8 eligibility in RI, especially if the crime was of a serious nature or if the applicant or household member is a registered sexual offender. Additionally, petitioners with a history of defaulting on rental fees will result in a rejection, if not outright denial. Sometimes Rhode Island housing authorities will investigate Section 8 eligibility on a case-by-case basis if a past crime was not of a serious nature and the person has not been in any trouble with the law for the last five years.

Once the Section 8 petitioner has completed the appropriate forms and either mailed them in or submitted them electronically with corroborating documentation, he or she will have to wait for some time. Most Section 8 applications take at least two weeks or more to process, depending on the county or municipality in which they were submitted. Section 8 applicants who would prefer to know that they have filled out the forms correctly can obtain assistance from the local housing authority office, where a trained agent can assist in filling out the application correctly. A large percentage of RI Section 8 applications are rejected each month because they were not filled out correctly. If a Section 8 application is rejected, the candidate is generally not allowed to resubmit for another year.