Eligibility for Section 8 in Rhode Island


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.

What is Section 8?

The Section 8 program was created by the federal government to assist low-income individuals and families with finding affordable private housing. To learn how you can become a member of this assistance program, download our helpful guide today. Beneficiaries of the program have a percentage of their rent covered by the government via housing subsidies, which are administered on a local level by public housing agencies or PHAs directly to landlords. Section 8 members are allowed to choose apartments, townhouses or even modest homes in this program, but the landlord must accept government subsidies in order for the provided housing vouchers to be used. Learn more about how you can qualify for housing assistance and discover the steps to file an application by clicking here.

How much will my housing subsidy be?

As a Section 8 beneficiary, you will pay the difference between your landlord’s rent amount and how much your housing subsidy covers. To find out how you can get a housing subsidy, download our guide now. If you are accepted into the Section 8 program, your public housing agency will calculate the maximum assistance you can receive. Your maximum housing assistance will either be the total rent of your apartment/home minus 30 percent of your adjusted monthly income or it will be the payment standard less 30 percent of your adjusted monthly income, whichever amount is lower. To find out how Section 8 can benefit you today, click here.