Connect with us


Can Non-Citizens and Undocumented Immigrants Get Section 8

According to a study conducted in 2015 by Family Options Study for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the section 8 housing subsidy program was more effective in addressing the issue of homelessness than any other such program. The permanent vouchers were considered as more likely than a crisis assistance program in providing permanent housing solutions to the homeless which were increased the Obama administration. All homeless people can, in theory, get into section 8 housing.

In 2016, it was observed that these HUD homelessness grants were focused on refocusing solutions meant for urban areas where the competition was found sharp and emerging concerns of subsidies running out.

In 2017 the New Trump administration proposed around nine key cuts to HUD findings including lowering Housing assistance. Then in 2018 around $300 million cuts on this program was announced which amounts to almost 4.8 percent on the housing vouchers. According to public housing authorities, the even existing funding was not enough to grow or even maintain the program and initiated preemptive strategies. This included the withholding the housing vouchers and excluding certain communities from receiving the assistance.

Restricted or Unrestricted

  • Federal housing programs are either restricted or unrestricted. Restricted program means that at least one person of the household must be either a citizen or an eligible noncitizen while unrestricted means that anyone can apply regardless of their immigration status.
  • Section 8 and the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher programs allow families that are considered ‘mixed families’ to be eligible for this assistance. Mixed households are those that include members who are not citizens and do not have appropriate immigration status, to be eligible for assistance.
  • The HUD, however, adjusts the rent amount, the tenant pays based on the number of people in the household who are eligible immigrants. These programs do not require that the head of the household be a citizen or eligible immigrant. This is called prorated assistance or prorated rent.

Eligibility for noncitizens

Eligible noncitizens include the following:

  • Lawful permanent residents, any noncitizen living in the U.S. under legally recognized and lawfully recorded permanent residence. Also known as a “Green Card holder.”
  • Registry immigrants, People admitted for permanent residence by the U.S. Attorney General.
  • Refugees or foreign nationals in the U.S. who are unable or unwilling to return to their countries of origin because of fear of persecution.
  • Conditional entrants, Foreign nationals granted permanent resident status on a conditional basis have to remove the conditions of their status within two years from initial approval. Examples include a spouse of a U.S. citizen or foreign investor.
  • Parolees, Inadmissible foreign nationals allowed to leave an immigration inspection facility although not formally admitted to the U.S. Usually granted for humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.
  • Withholding grantees, Withholding from Removal granted by a judge to a foreign national slated to be returned to his or her country of origin. Granted on the basis of likelihood of persecution upon return.
  • Persons granted 1986 amnesty status, under the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act. persons who resided illegally in the U.S. prior to 1982 and meet certain conditions.
  • Victims of trafficking, or relatives of such a victim by meeting requirements of 2000 Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act.
  • Residents of the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau or Guam

Latest developments

In 2017, The Trump administration projected a rule intended to prevent undocumented immigrants from receiving federal housing assistance, the latest step in its efforts to ramp up enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws.

More recently in May 2019, Public housing authorities say they were blindsided by a proposed federal rule banning many immigrants from receiving housing assistance — and, they said, they will fight to keep it from being implemented, even if that means ending up in court. HUD Secretary Ben Carson told lawmakers, in a country with 4.2 million families waiting for Section 8 housing vouchers, it makes no sense to keep sheltering residents living in the US illegally.

As per HUD statement, a survey reflected that only 1 in 4 families who meet the criteria for housing assistance actually receive it. Some 2.6 million families are waiting for these vouchers, while another 1.6 million households are waiting for public housing. Cities, counties, and states have 60 days to comment on the proposed rule, which was issued May 10, 2019. This could affect roughly 55,000 American-born children, because many receive partial subsidies to live in public housing with parents or grandparents who do not have their papers, according to a National Housing Law Project analysis of HUD data.

He defended the proposed rule to expel from public housing immigrant with green cards, refugees or asylum-seekers. The rule would require inhabitants under age 62 to verify their immigration status and their public housing or housing voucher eligibility.

Some child and immigrants welfare associations have criticized the proposal. They have argued that the rule is pointless because by law, many migrants, including undocumented people, already are ineligible to receive housing subsidies. But the rule would ban every member of a household from receiving a subsidy even if just one family member is ineligible, including those over 62.