Colorado’s Section 8 Housing Program, now known as The Housing Choice Voucher Program, was started in 1974 to help low-income families find safe and affordable housing. The HCV Program extends to low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled. Qualified applicants of the program receive assistance based on their income through subsidizing of a portion of the monthly rent and utilities. The program is overseen by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and run at the state level by Colorado’s Division of Housing (DOH), who then works alongside public housing authorities and non-profit organizations to distribute vouchers throughout the state via a lottery system.
Who Is Eligible for Section 8 Housing?
To be eligible for Section 8 housing in Colorado, you need to meet several minimum requirements in addition to the basics of age and residency. Applicants must be over 18 years of age, be a legal permanent resident, pass screening criteria of the landlord, and may not owe money to another housing authority.
The following list of factors could increase your chances of qualifying for the program but are not guaranteed:
- Earn significantly less than the average income level for the county in which you’re applying. The majority of the people granted housing vouchers are in the lowest income bracket. Income limits for 2017 vary by county and household size; check with your desired housing authority for confirmed limits. Income limits for Larimer County can be found through Housing Catalyst.
- Have young children in the household
- The applicant is pregnant
- The applicant is a Veteran
- The applicant is a senior citizen
- There’s a disabled family member in the household.
The goal of Colorado’s Section 8 HCV Program is to allocate housing resources to those who are in need of them most. Applicants with a criminal history are considered on a case-by-case basis and lifetime registered sex offenders are not eligible for assistance. Other factors that influence your chances of being approved include rental history and household size. Applicants who are in the lowest income bracket and don’t have a criminal history are considered to have the best chance of being approved for benefits.
What Paperwork Do I Need to Apply for Section 8 Housing?
In order to apply for Section 8 housing, documentation is required from all household members, not just the applicant. The required documents include birth certificates, pay stubs, criminal records, bank statements, passports, social security cards, and any paperwork documenting other government aid that members of the household are receiving.
How To Apply
Local public housing authorities (PHA) will select recipients through a lottery system. Applications can only be submitted once per year and vouchers are awarded as they become available. Participation in the lottery will not guarantee selection for a Section 8 HCV Program voucher. Many PHA’s have waiting lists that are only opened during specific days, so it is recommended to check back often and even apply at more than one. Your desired PHA can also provide you with a list of locations at which housing choice vouchers can be used.
Some PHA’s offer an online application for low-income housing that’s easy to navigate with step-by-step instructions. If this isn’t the case, or if you don’t have access to a computer, you’ll need to go to the nearest brick and mortar location and fill out an application in person. Make sure to come prepared with all the mandatory paperwork. Contacting your local PHA is the best way to ensure you have all required documents.
Information About the Waiting List
If you make it on the waiting list, you’ll be on standby until someone leaves the housing program or until someone ahead of you gets taken off the waiting list. For the most part, the number of vouchers in circulation is fixed, but additional vouchers are occasionally added to meet the overwhelming demand for Section 8 HCV housing.
The Larimer County Housing Authority serves Larimer County, Fort Collins, Loveland, Berthoud, Johnstown, Estes Park, Windsor, Laporte, Red Feather Lakes, Timnath, and Wellington. Waiting lists for Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers are currently closed. As there is no notice of when it will reopen, it is important to routinely check the website or call their office at (970) 416-2910.