Understanding North Carolina Section 8 Affordable Housing

In this article...
  • The North Carolina Section 8 program assists low-income residents with finding affordable housing. Take a look at the factors that go into this process.

The North Carolina Section 8 Housing Voucher Program is the federal government's program for assisting low-income families, older adults and individuals with disabilities with finding affordable housing that is safe and sanitary in the state of North Carolina. Funding from the program is used to make up the difference between the cost of rent and up to 30% of your household's adjusted gross income.

The program has service areas in numerous counties throughout the state and housing availability mostly depends on your city of residence. If you're hoping to use this service, take a look at some important factors you should know about. 

What Are the Eligibility Requirements for Section 8 Housing?

If you're hoping to apply for North Carolina Section 8 housing, it's important to make sure you fit the requirements first. 


Income is one of the biggest factors in determining eligibility for Section 8 housing. To be considered low-income, you must make less than 30% of the state median income.  


Being either a U.S. citizen or a naturalized citizen in the state of North Carolina is also required for Section 8 eligibility. At least one person in your household must meet this requirement for consideration. 

Criminal Background

All members of your household must take and pass a criminal background check. To meet this requirement, no one in the household can have a drug or sexual charge on their record. Any other offense will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.


If you have previously used Section 8 housing and been evicted from it, you may lose eligibility to use this service until at least 3 years have passed. At that point, you are free to reapply.

If applicable, additional factors such as pregnancy or having a disability can make you a priority candidate in getting housing. 

How Do You Apply for North Carolina Section 8 Housing?

The most efficient way to apply for Section 8 housing is to fill out a printed application by hand and submit it in person to a public housing agency (PHA) representative. Depending on the city, you may be able to complete the process online or fill out a pre-application form. However, by going in person, you can ask any questions that you need answers to and ensure that you get the correct information. 

It's also important that you fill out all aspects of the application as accurately as possible. If there are any errors or discrepancies in your information, you can be disqualified from consideration. You should also be sure to bring the required documents needed for approval. These documents can include:

  • ID
  • Birth certificate
  • Tax returns
  • Current school transcripts
  • Verification of assets and debt
  • Pay stubs
  • Social Security card
  • Proof of residency 
  • Verification of government benefits

When getting ready to enroll, keep in mind that there are often many more people applying for Section 8 housing than there are units available. If you're an older adult, you have other housing options that are available to you if Section 8 doesn't match your current needs.

How Do You Become a Section 8 Landlord?

If you're looking to rent out to North Carolina Section 8 voucher holders, you'll need to fill out an application and get your property inspected each year by Housing and Urban Development (HUD) authorities. Your responsibility as a landlord is to provide tenants with safe and sanitary housing at a reasonable rent that's in accordance with local standards. 

Once enrolled as a landlord, you can contact local housing authorities to let them know what your property's current availability is and to advertise your property as accepting Section 8 vouchers. As with any other property, you're allowed to accept or decline applications based on your current policies. It's not required to accept a tenant solely based on them having Section 8 vouchers. 

Important Information to Know for Section 8 Housing

Does North Carolina Section 8 Have an Open Waiting List?

Waiting lists for housing are usually only open for a few weeks at a time. There are 70 housing authorities total in North Carolina, and only four of them have waiting lists that are open indefinitely. They are:

  • Piedmont Triad Regional Council
  • Raleigh Housing Authority
  • Twin Rivers Opportunities Inc.
  • Western Piedmont Council of Governments Regional Housing Authority

In most cases, you need to apply to areas that have an open waiting list. You can check the status of the waiting list or get an update on your position on the list at any time. 

What Is Considered Low Income in North Carolina?

Based on a 2019 report, a family of four must earn a minimum of $52,946 to afford basic life necessities such as housing, food, health care and transportation. Falling under that number may mean you are considered low income. The figures do change annually, though, so check with your local housing office.

What Is the Most HUD Will Pay for Rent?

The most that HUD will pay for rent is generally the lesser of the payment standard minus 30% of your monthly adjusted income or gross rent for the unit minus 30% of your monthly adjusted income. A PHA representative will help you calculate the maximum amount of assistance that is available to you. 

Deciding if Section 8 Housing Is Right for You

Before making a decision, it's important to look into the housing options that are available to you and to get any additional questions answered by a PHA representative. This is the best way to get the most accurate information and to check your eligibility for the service. 

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