Section 8 Assistance For Felons

The search for affordable housing is a major struggle for many felons. HUD offers several types of housing assistance programs for felons, including Section 8 assistance.

Felons will benefit from the program in two ways. Firstly, HUD owns a large number of housing complexes across the country. Felons who have low incomes can live in those public housing complexes for a very low monthly rent. Secondly, they offer vouchers as part of Section 8.

The eligibility guidelines are very strict, so many people with criminal records are turned away. You can learn more about eligibility, the application process, wait times, and how the program works here.

Can Felons Get Section 8?

Section 8 housing assistance is available to felons, but they may be subject to restrictions. In the United States, all citizens have rights and liberties guaranteed by law.

You will automatically be disqualified from federally funded low-income and subsidized housing programs if you commit two felonies.

 Do not submit an application if you have one of these.

  • Sex offender registry listings for life.
  • If you sold meth near public housing.

Eligibility Criteria for Section 8 Assistance For Felons

Various assistance programs provide services to low-income families, such as low-income air conditioning assistance. Families with very low incomes are assessed for eligibility by the Public Housing Authority (PHA) based on several factors.

Section 8 assistance is only available to felons who meet certain criteria.

  • You have lived in the United States legally for at least five years. On the other hand, some PHAs have a 10-year requirement for felonies. If you have taken part in a rehabilitation program, some PHAs will waive the 5-year rule. In this case, you will need to present a certificate of compliance.
  • The state where you wish to apply requires that you have lived there for at least one year (some require more than one year).
  • You may be disqualified from applying for a PHA if you have been convicted of a violent crime, drug dealing, or fraud. If you want to apply for housing, you should contact your local Housing Authorities and tell them what you have been convicted for.
  • There was no violent behavior or sexual misconduct involved in your felony.
  • Your application may be disqualified if you have had bad relationships with your neighbors in the past. It may include physical or verbal assaults, bullying, and other illegal forms of disturbance.
  • There was no connection between your felony and the manufacture or distribution of illegal drugs, especially methamphetamine.
  • The eligibility policy for felons under Section 8 assistance may vary from state to state due to different state policies.

Required Documents for Section 8 Assistance For Felons

There are a number of documents you will need to submit with your application. Depending on the program, this list might differ slightly. 

Make sure the application for HUD has specific guidelines.

  • Identity/citizenship proof
  • Birth certificate
  • Social Security number
  • Pay stubs
  • Bank statements
  • Criminal background check
  • Credit score check
  • Bank statements
  • Tax forms
  • Benefits of food stamps or welfare payments from government agencies
  •  Proof of current residence
  •  An overview of your past five-year residences.

How to Apply for Section 8 Assistance Program for Felons

It is a good idea to apply to as many local housing authorities as possible. Section 8 waiting lists may have closed and are no longer accepting applications. Check back when the list will reopen to apply.

 For more information about Section 8 assistance for felons, contact your local Public Housing Agency (PHA). The local PHA can provide you with information on the program’s income and asset guidelines.

There is a formal criminal background check, which is the most important step. Thus, lying about your criminal record on an application is pointless. Submit your documents after completing the Standard Application (on the Housing Authority website in your state or personally at a HUD office).

The Housing Authority will conduct a personal interview once you submit your application. You have the opportunity to prove to the official that you will avert any disturbances by being an exemplary tenant. 

Depending on your previous landlords’ opinions, the Housing Authority may contact them. Be sure to bring any proof you can to support the fact that you have changed for the better. Depending on your relationship with your landlord, you might be able to rent from them.

Section 8 criminal background check 

You will be required to undergo a criminal background check when applying for a Section 8 housing assistance voucher. As a result, you should be completely honest when you apply or interview for housing assistance.

A background check is still required even if you are not the primary applicant but are part of the household. In order to ensure the safety of people living in public housing, public housing authorities avoid giving Section 8 vouchers to anyone who may pose a threat or cause unrest.

How Does a Housing Voucher Work?

A voucher allows the applicant to start the housing search as soon as they receive it.

In the case of a voucher, you will have to pay 30% of your gross income as rent every month. The government pays the rest of the funds directly to the landlord. You will be required to sign a 12-month lease with this landlord. In the case that you leave a rental, you will be able to use the voucher again at your next residence.

Families receiving housing vouchers are responsible for finding an appropriate housing unit of their choice where the owner agrees to rent to them. The family’s current residence may be included in this unit. It is the responsibility of the PHA to determine whether rental units meet minimum health and safety standards.

The PHA may authorize a family to purchase a modest home using its voucher in certain circumstances.

Wait Time to Get Section 8 Assistance For Felons

In most cases, the funding for Section 8 cannot keep up with the demand. Often, people wait up to six years for Section 8 programs. There can be a 6-12 month wait in some areas, which is much shorter than the national average of 2-4 years. You may only need to wait a couple of months.

How to Find Housing for Section 8 Felons?

(DTA) Department of Transitional Assistance can help you if you have a family with children who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. You can get priority housing status and search for housing with their help.

Assisting applicants in finding appropriate housing and helping them file and complete housing applications, Housing Search Agencies and Community Action Programs (CAPs) are also available. You can also visit the Housing Consumer Education Center (HCEC).


When you have a felony on your record, Craigslist is one of the best places to find an apartment to rent. Unlike property management companies, most Craigslist landlords are willing to work with felons. Private landlords usually offer a lower rental rate if you pay a higher deposit or sign a longer lease. The Craigslist housing section may be a good choice for you if you have a felony on your record and are searching for an apartment.

Transitional Housing

A transitional housing unit serves as a place where people can transition from one stage of their life to another. People who have been incarcerated or have been homeless can benefit from it as a means of transitioning back into the community. You can stay for a couple of weeks or up to 24 months. Google “transitional housing + your city” to find local sober housing options near you. You can also check out the Transitional Housing website.

ReEntry Programs

A reentry program provides housing information and resources for people who have been released from prison or jail. Many reentry programs have connections with felony-friendly apartments for those who want to reenter society after incarceration. County jail departments, non-profit organizations, and health departments run a number of reentry programs. These programs can provide much-needed support and guidance during this difficult time.

2nd Chance Apartments

Renting an apartment becomes increasingly challenging if you have a criminal record. Those who specialize in helping people with criminal records find housing are known as second-chance apartment finders. A realtor will usually charge you a fee (equal to three times your monthly rent) and will use their connections with landlords to help you find the right apartment. 

Homeless Shelters

A homeless shelter is often the last resort for convicted felons. Furthermore, they can assist you in finding permanent housing with local housing programs. In housing programs for homeless people, stays in shelters are a top priority, so you’re already in a good position. You can often find job training and financial counseling at homeless shelters, as well as other programs that can help you get back on your feet.

Buy Your Own House

In spite of having a felony record, you can purchase a home. As a result, a criminal background check is not required when you purchase a home. Three factors should be considered when buying a home:

  • Having money for an even down payment
  • An acceptable credit score.
  • And getting pre-approved for the mortgage.

Get Help from Your Probation Officer

In the case of probation and housing problems, your probation officer can assist you. Through probation officers’ connections with landlords, felons with felony records can find rental housing. So, if you’re struggling to find suitable housing for felons, talk to your probation officer about your options.

Who has priority in Section 8 Assistance For Felons?

A number of factors will increase the chances of your application being chosen if you are found eligible. A couple of months may be enough to reduce your wait time. 

The following factors may give you priority:

  • You do not have a home at the moment
  • There is a serious medical emergency affecting you
  • Your apartment is condemned
  • You spend more than 50% of your income on rent
  • Domestic violence has affected you
  • Eviction will occur without your fault
  • Your home is in the area

What Will Disqualify You From Section 8 Assistance For Felons?

The fact that you are clear in the eyes of justice does not guarantee that you will qualify for housing vouchers. 

Section 8 benefits may not be automatically denied to you if you have a felony on your record, but some felonies may disqualify you.

  • It is possible to be disqualified from Section 8 if you have been convicted of manufacturing or distributing illegal drugs. This can include both felonies and misdemeanors.
  • The housing authority may disqualify an applicant who has been convicted of violent crimes, such as murder, sexual assault, or domestic violence.
  • Section 8 assistance may not be available if you have been convicted of a sex offense, especially one involving a minor.
  •  You may not be eligible for Section 8 if you are a fugitive, have an outstanding warrant, or violate the terms of your parole or probation.

Can a felon live with someone on Section 8?

You must include all family members who will live with you when applying for private housing. It is mandatory for family members like spouses, children, siblings, parents, grandparents, etc..

The housing authority must be updated about the increase in your family size and income if you want your boyfriend, male friend, or new husband to live with you in your Section 8-qualified home.

Visitors to Section 8 cannot stay longer than 14 days consecutively or 21 days in a calendar year. The responsibility for the visitor’s non-living situation lies with you, and you may lose your Section 8 voucher if discovered.


What Criminal Charges Disqualify You From Section 8 Assistance For Felons In California?

A background check determines eligibility for public housing in California, including Section 8. You may be disqualified if you have committed drug offenses or violent offenses. In addition, the annual income you earn plays a crucial role since public housing is intended for low-income households. These affordable housing programs often have waiting lists, and local housing authorities may have specific requirements regarding criminal backgrounds.

How Is Eligibility Determined For Section 8 Assistance For Felons?

The primary determinant of Section 8 housing eligibility is income level, with various other factors also contributing. In most cases, families with earnings below 50% of the area median income are considered eligible for the program.
The eligibility determination process also considers factors such as family size, citizenship status, and family history of drug-related crimes.

What criminal charges disqualify you from Section 8 in VA?

The background check might result in exclusion if it reveals Drug offenses, Violent offenses, or Other crimes that may threaten the health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment of the building by other residents or PHA workers. Within the past five years, the PHA will look at arrests and convictions.

Can I Get Section 8 Assistance If I Have A Felony?

It is possible to get Section 8 assistance if you have committed a felony. Eligibility depends on a number of factors, including the type of crime and the time since the conviction.

How Does The Program Support Families With Low Income?

Housing assistance payments are directed directly to landlords through Section 8 to support low-income families.
A family benefits from this financial aid by alleviating the disparity between their income and the expenses associated with finding a suitable home in their local area.


In today’s housing crisis, Section 8 Housing Vouchers serve as an essential lifeline for individuals and families. It has been proven instrumental in facilitating the creation of secure and stable living environments for those with limited financial means by this federal initiative. Even with a felony record, you can qualify for Section 8 if you follow the proper procedure.