As of 2015, the elderly, disabled and families are eligible for section 8 housing if their income is not more than 50 percent of the median income of the city or county where they live, reports the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Participants must be U.S. citizens or eligible immigrants. Some areas with long waiting lists have local preferences.
Although 50 percent of median income is the cut-off mark, the law stipulates that 75 percent of section 8 housing must go to applicants with no more than 30 percent of the area's median income, explains the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Local public housing authorities can provide applicants with median income figures for their areas. Some public housing authorities close their waiting lists when they get too long. Many of them also show preference to families with extreme need such as the involuntarily displaced, the homeless, inhabitants of substandard structures and people using over 50 percent of their incomes to pay rent.
Eligible individuals and families should contact their local public housing authorities to apply, advises the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. They must provide details on all household members, their income and their assets. The housing authority verifies the information by contacting employers, financial institutions and local agencies. Once their applications are approved, tenants can make their own choices of apartments, townhouses or single-family homes whose landlords agree to participate in the program.