How to apply for Section 8 housing in Georgia

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How to apply for Section 8 housing in Georgia

Living in Atlanta isn't easy. You have to handle a rising cost of living in a city where your paycheck doesn't go as far. For those trying to receive a federal rent subsidy under the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Section 8 or housing choice voucher program, getting in requires a lot of waiting and a bit of luck.

But the initial application for Section 8 in Georgia is pretty straightforward.

For example, the Marietta Housing Authority website says a family wishing to receive assistance must submit an application when the waiting list in their area is open.

MHA advertises the opening of its waiting lists in the "The Marietta Daily Journal" and online.

Other housing authorities in Georgia take different notification routes, but looking online will show most. DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett post their statuses online. That last one comes courtesy of Affordable Housing Online, a useful resource.

Any such notices will also provide instructions for how to submit an application. Ordinarily, a certain number of applicants will then make it to a waiting list, selected at random by lottery.

That's the simple part. The more difficult aspect of Section 8/HCV in Georgia is there simply is not enough assistance to go around, says Mike Eddins, director of business operations for the Housing Choice Voucher program in DeKalb County.

According to its website, the Housing Authority of DeKalb County (HADC) is the third largest HCV Program in the state and administers a combined total of more than 6,100 housing choice vouchers.

Eddins recommends that people considering applying to any waiting lists be prepared to apply to any they might qualify for, and to be prepared to wait. "Even if you made the waiting list it doesn't mean you're going to be housed," he said. "You should be prepared to be denied and you should be prepared to apply to as many waiting lists as possible."

Also consider that Section 8/HCV Programs in Georgia are not meant to be "an immediate answer" for families who are facing a housing emergencies. "Even if the subsidy works out for you, it could take years," Eddins said.

Particularly where the elderly are concerned, the HADC website also warns against dishonest HCV schemes. The site reminds potential applicants that registration is always free and so are any other necessary applications. At no time would a housing authority require credit or debit card information or call you to request that over the phone.

While you would need a valid email address to complete the online pre-application, you can obtain one at no charge from Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail, notes HADC.

Particularly where the elderly are concerned, the HADC website also warns against dishonest HCV schemes. The site reminds potential applicants that registration is always free and so are any other necessary applications. At no time would a housing authority require credit or debit card information or call you to request that over the phone.

While you would need a valid email address to complete the online pre-application, you can obtain one at no charge from Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail, notes HADC.

For more answers to frequently asked questions about Section 8/HCV in Georgia, click here.

Landlords and Section 8 in Georgia

Landlords benefit from Section 8/HCV because the program provides assistance to private landlords for approved units selected by the voucher holder. The MHA encourages landlords to list their units at www.georgiahousingsearch.org, a site sponsored by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs that helps people find housing that best suits their needs. The accompanying toll-free, bilingual call center can be reached at 1-877-428-8844.

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