The types of rental assistance available in most communities include:
Public Housing: Low income housing that is operated by the local housing authority. Much public housing is in apartment complexes for public housing recipients only, but some communities also offer scattered site public housing that allows recipients to live in single family homes.
Section 8: A rent subsidy that gives an eligible person some choice about where to live. Under Section 8, the local housing authority or a state housing agency gives the tenant a certificate or voucher that says the government will subsidize the person's rent payments. Generally, the tenant will pay no more than a third of his/her income on rent, with the government paying the rest. Under the Section 8 voucher program, a person may be allowed to pay a little more out of personal income to meet the higher rent charged in some areas or complexes. For the Section 8 subsidy to apply, housing must have been inspected and meet HUD standards.
A Note on Finding Section 8 Housing: Individuals who qualify for Section 8 rental assistance must generally find their own housing. The apartment, duplex or house must pass inspection and the landlord must agree to accept the Section 8 subsidy as part of the rent. This process can add to the time it takes to secure housing. The Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) has prepared a list of landlords (by community) who already participate in the Section 8 program. Request the list by calling 405-419-8100 and ask to speak with a housing specialist or the operator.
Privately Owned Subsidized Housing: In this program, the government provides subsidies directly to the property owner who then applies the subsidies to the rents that are charged to low-income tenants.
Eligibility: Individual or family income must be at or below the maximum income guideline established for your area. This guideline varies from area to area. Anyone can apply for rental assistance. Most rental assistance programs in Oklahoma operate on a first-come, first-served basis, and do not apply priorities according to disability or other factors. There are frequently waiting lists, but their length varies by locale.
Apply directly with management offices at low-income subsidized apartment complexes. Information on these housing complexes is available on HUD web sites, from local HUD offices, and under PRIVATELY OWNED PROPERTIES WITH RENT ASSISTANCE, this section.
Medical Deduction: Under public housing and Section 8, a medical deduction can be applied for persons with disabilities and elderly individuals. This deduction can make a difference by reducing the amount of rent a person must pay directly. A verification of disability is needed for the deduction. A person must be drawing SSI or SSDI, be 62 or over, or have a doctor's statement confirming a disability that probably qualifies for SSDI or SSI. The deduction is $400 annually plus an amount equal to the amount of income a person has to pay for medical expenses over 3% of their income. Eyeglasses, medications, medical supplies and equipment may all be considered medical expenses. When applying for Section 8 or public housing, a person must report he or she has a disability in order to be considered for the medical deduction.
Applications: Note: Housing authorities do not always have the same combination of programs. Some housing authorities offer only public housing, only Section 8, or only housing for American Indians. In general, applications can be made as follows:
Section 8 and Public Housing - apply at your local housing authority (See PUBLIC HOUSING AUTHORITIES, this section) or for rental assistance statewide you may apply at Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency.
Important Note: If you want to be considered for both public housing and Section 8 rental assistance, be sure to indicate you want to make application for both pr