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Section 8 Realities - Part 2

How to Apply
First - Submit your application to the local authority or HUD office. Remember, you need to make your application in person, so be sure to bring documentation of your personal information and income.

Second - Complete the home interview. Depending on whatever policies your local housing authority has, the agent may come to your home, or they may ask you to come to their office.

Third - Provide the agents with all the necessary documentation. They'll want to see pay stubs, bank statements, and documents covering any personal assets you may have. All copies must be recent. You might also be looking at having a credit check and background check conducted, which includes contacting previous landlords.

Fourth & Final - It's time to go hunting for a private rental that will accept Section 8. Don't forget; you must have a completed lease agreement with the property's landlord before you move into any rental.

The Pros
Choose Your Neighborhood - Section 8 provides you with a wide selection of homes, so the old days of being sent to an area that's far from your work, any schools, and your family, or an area that's a bad neighborhood, are dead and gone.

Improve the Quality of Your Life - Let's not sugar coat the statistics. Many of the facilities where you would traditionally find affordable homes have high rates of crime and various other neighborhood problems. Section 8 gives you the opportunity to relocate to a safer area with lower crime rates, better schools, and other benefits, a change of scene that could keep you and your family away from drugs, gangs, and violence.

Improve Your Income - You may have been spending most of your income on rent. The assistance provided by Section 8 can reduce that cost, leaving you with more income to devote to the essentials of food, clothing, and the future of your children.

The Cons
Waiting Times - Funding may be limited, leaving housing authorities, particularly in urban locations, with fewer funds than needed to take care of all applicants. This situation could put you on a long waiting list.

Continuous Review - You'll not only go through an application process with the landlord and housing authority, but you'll also have periodic reviews to undergo.

Stigma - People may judge you negatively. It's a sad fact that you may feel judged by neighbors, but more importantly by your family and friends, which can be uncomfortable and stressful. Always remember, "Sticks and stones..."

Dependency - The point of these programs is to help you improve your situation, get a foothold, and make a better life for your family. The world is a mixed bag of all types, some of which may choose to depend on federal assistance rather than taking responsibility for their lives.

Final Word
Despite the list of cons, remember that nothing is perfect, and you can make your difficulties in life temporary. Section 8 has helped thousands of people obtain a decent home in a safe area. This program can put you in a house or apartment that would normally be beyond your financial reach. It can allow you to afford your living expenses and a savings account. Keeping out of debt and saving for the future are never bad ideas. The program is not perfect. Many people still have mixed feelings about Section 8, and many have had mixed experiences as well. There's no doubt, though, that in the right circumstances this program can open up life-changing options for families. Whether it's the right choice for you is something only you can know, but it is certainly an option worth considering.