Missouri Section 8: Eligibility and Application

In this article...
  • Missouri Section 8 vouchers provide housing assistance to people on low incomes. Learn about the eligibility criteria for Missouri Section 8 and how to apply.

Missouri Section 8 provides Housing Choice Vouchers to eligible applicants. This program helps people who would otherwise struggle to secure suitable housing find an affordable place to live, including people on low incomes and some older or disabled adults.  

Local Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) administer the program using funding and guidelines provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Understanding who qualifies for housing assistance through the Missouri Section 8 program and how to apply can help you access the support you need. 

Who Qualifies for Missouri Section 8 Assistance?

You'll need to meet residency and income-based eligibility criteria to qualify for Missouri Section 8 support. You can only receive assistance if you are a U.S. resident or hold qualified alien status. To qualify, you must also be living in Missouri at the time of your application, and you'll need to provide proof of your address. 

PHAs determine income eligibility by comparing your household income to the local median income for metropolitan areas. Generally, you'll qualify for support if your total income is less than half the median income. PHAs may prioritize individuals and families on very low incomes of 30% of the median income or less.

You may be ineligible for the Missouri Section 8 program if you have a drug-related criminal conviction. Your PHA will also examine your record if you've ever received Section 8 support or another type of housing assistance in the past. For example, it may refuse your application if you have missed payments or have persistently late payments on your record.

How Do I Apply for Missouri Section 8 Support?

You can apply for the Missouri Section 8 program by contacting your local PHA. Some PHAs allow online applications, while others may ask you to submit a paper application. Your PHA may offer assistance from a representative if you need help completing the forms. Applying as soon as you need housing support is essential because many areas have long waiting lists. 

Your PHA will require information about your income and household members to determine if you qualify and how much you'll get. It's important to answer all questions truthfully and accurately to avoid delays with your application. 

How Long Is the Waiting List for Section 8 Vouchers in Missouri?

PHAs operate waiting lists for Missouri Section 8 support because the funding available from the HUD isn't sufficient to provide immediate assistance to every eligible applicant. Unfortunately, many candidates remain on the waiting list for long periods. For example, the average time spent on the waiting list for Section 8 vouchers in Kansas City is between 1 and 3 years

Each PHA can choose how to operate its Section 8 waiting list, resulting in highly varied processes from place to place. For example, Kansas City's Section 8 waiting list is always open and issues vouchers by application date. Therefore, you join the bottom of the list when you apply and move up on a first come, first served basis. Meanwhile, the PHA in St. Louis operates a lottery-based waiting list. It assigns each candidate a randomized number to determine their position.

Some Missouri PHAs establish
local preferences designed to give people in the greatest need faster access to Section 8 vouchers. These preferences vary by area and could include:

  • Families displaced due to a natural disaster
  • People fleeing domestic violence or sexual abuse
  • Homeless people with disabilities
  • Older adults with disabilities

What Happens When I Reach the Top of the Missouri Section 8 Waiting List?

You'll receive a letter inviting you to formally apply for the Missouri Section 8 program when you reach the top of the waiting list or your name gets drawn in a lottery. This letter will contain an interview date to attend your PHA. As the waiting lists are so long, you'll need to prove you still meet the eligibility criteria. Therefore, you should bring any documentation listed to prove your income and residency.

If the PHA approves your application, you'll then receive an invitation to an orientation session. A PHA representative will use this session to explain how the local Section 8 program works and the ongoing eligibility requirements. 

How Much Will Section 8 Pay?

How much Section 8 will pay towards your housing costs depends on your household income compared to your rent amount. According to ProPublica, most households receiving Section 8 vouchers spend between 30% and 40% of their income on rent. Generally, your monthly rent must total 30% or less of your household's monthly adjusted gross income for Section 8 to pay the full amount. You'll pay the difference out of pocket if the rent is more expensive. 

How Do I Use My Missouri Section 8 Vouchers?

It's your responsibility to find a suitable rental property, and it must meet certain safety requirements to qualify for Section 8 voucher coverage. Once you find a property within your budget, the PHA will conduct a health and safety inspection before approving your vouchers. You can then enter a lease with your landlord if the property meets the required standards, and your PHA will enter into a separate housing assistance payments contract.

Your PHA will carry out yearly assessments to determine whether you still meet the eligibility criteria for Section 8 assistance in Missouri. It will also check that the landlord has continued to maintain the property to the PHA's standards, as failure to do so can result in withheld vouchers. 

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