Available HUD housing is generally in greater demand than what is available. Waiting lists are long and you are encouraged to collect the necessary documents to apply as early as possible in order to get a spot on the list. At the very least you’ll need some form of a picture Identification, your birth certificate, your latest income tax returns, any bank account information that you have, your and every family member’s employer contact information and your previous landlord’s contact information.
Gather the required documents that will be asked for by the Housing Agency (HA) in order to apply for HUD housing, also referred to as Section 8 housing. You must be able to identify yourself and every member of your household before being able to apply for HUD housing.
Document any family characteristics that may influence the HA’s decision, such as handicap, senior or veteran status, presently living in substandard housing and immediate family emergencies that require a change of tenancy.
Document the names and addresses of previous landlords along with the dates of residencies. Your local HA will consider your previous tenant-landlord relationships as a guide to your ability to live harmoniously with other tenants in HUD housing.
Bring your present home into order. A local HA representative may visit your home to determine whether you are a responsible tenant who is able to take care of your present home. They are less impressed with what you have and more with how you take care of it. It will not be unusual for every member of your family to be interviewed.
Prepare to sign an authorization for the release of relevant information to your local HA by the credit bureaus, your employer and any bank with whom you have an account. Your status and your income will be verified before your application can be approved.
Calculate and document the amount of income that every adult in your family will likely earn within the next 12 months. To qualify under “lower income” status your combined incomes may not be over 80% of the median income for the county or metropolitan area in which you apply. To be considered for “very low income” status, your combined incomes may not exceed 50%.
Ask for dated and signed letters of recommendation from previous landlords who will attest to your good tenant status. Document any security deposits that were returned because you did not cause any damage to your previous homes. Your local HA is mostly interested in applicants who have a demonstrated need for housing but also for those who have shown good common sense in their previous rentals.
US Dept of Housing and Urban Development: HUD’s Public Housing Program