FAQ #1: Can a convicted felon get Section 8?

One of the most frequently asked question is can a convicted felon qualify for Section 8?

The answer depends on a number of factors and the type of felony conviction. The application process for section 8 does necessitate a criminal background check so it is a pertinent question.

There are 2 felonies that will exclude you from obtaining a section 8 voucher forever; If you have a lifetime registration on the sex registry or if you sold meth anywhere near public housing facilities. If you already have section 8 and commit one of these felonies you will have your voucher revoked immediately and will never be eligible again.

Any other felony is really on a case by case basis. Most counties will typically allow you into the program if the felony was not committed in the past 5 years. It can be less if you attended Rehab and received a certificate of compliance.

One thing to note is even if you are accepted into the section 8 program, potential landlords can (and usually do) also require their own background check and may not rent to you if you have any convictions on your record. Though that also is on a case by case basis.


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  1. jacqueline says:

    can you please send me application for section 8 i need 2bedroom at 184 concord street rahway nj 07065

  2. I need application please for section 8 in Va or WVa..Thank You

  3. getting married in a month. was wondering since my fiance is a convicted felon and we want o move in together will I lose my section 8? I live in California. He has a GBI, but only did 6 months in jail. He got sentenced 5 years probation but is due to be off June this summer. I need help!

  4. Robin C. says:

    Please send me a application thank you

  5. You go to housing authority office in ur county. Look it up online. And to the last comment – reread the article ur answer is there

  6. My son moved out it was three in my household now it’s two will my voucher cchange I have a two bedroom now

  7. Crystol Dunn says:

    I am a Representative payee for a mentally disabled person who has filled out and applied for Section 8 housing in Minnesota. He was told most ecently that he never lived in Public Housing(this is untrue, and he has proof), and that his name never got entered into the pool to receive Section 8 housing and that his name will not be entered into the pool. Who does he need to talk to for help in this situation. It has been 12+ years of waiting for Section 8 housing voucher and now he’s being denied for what reason??? He is not a felon, sex offender, or had anything to do with drug elated incidents. He is an African American with Mental Disabilities who is in need of assistance to eraticate this issue.

  8. My fiance comes home in june possibly even earlier if released on ctp if accepted n february. my question is I’m on section eight now. Im afraid I will I lose my section 8 if i allow him to move in with us. his conviction was for a class B felony theft & burglary it’s not a serious crime but serious enough to throw him Iin the slammer for four and a half years he’s going to soon be coming home but now I need to know if I will be able to allow him to live in our home being we are on section 8. It took us ten years to finally get approved and get a house. Weve been thriugh so much and we want to be a famiky again but I dont want to loose everything ive worked so hard to finally get… Please can u help to enlighten my greif.

    • Nelson Rosen says:

      Tricky situation. If you add him on the official section 8, you most likely will NOT qualify any longer. If you have him move in secretly without informing section 8, you risk getting caught and thrown out of the program, likely forever.

      I would NOT risk it.

  9. My name is Jessica Cooper and I live in Tallahassee, Fl. and I’ve been trying to apply for section 8 down here but I keep getting denied. I have some drugs charges on my record from ten years ago that they says stop me from getting the place. How long do I have to wait because I am a single parent looking for a place to live.

    • Nelson Rosen says:

      Most counties will allow you to qualify if the conviction is more than 5 years old.

  10. I was recently found guilty on 2 accounts of welfare fraud. However untrue it is that I was purposely fraudulent, it’s still two felonies. I am ordered to pay back $4000 for the overpayment of foodstamps. This just happened last month. I am on probation but no jail time. Would I be eligible for section 8 housing or any kind of assisted housing since it’s a crime against the government? I lost my job over this mess and am having a hard time finding another one. I would live alone except for my daughter on the weekends? Don’t want to waste my time with paperwork or the embarrassment to only be turned down. Could you please enlighten me? ThanksThanks

    • Nelson Rosen says:

      Sorry to hear that. Where do you live? Most section 8 waiting lists are so long it would be years before you would be considered anyway and by that point your felony will be years old.

  11. ok so can a person with a conspiracy to distribute meth felony over 5 years ago apply and get approved? the felony was not near any low income housing…

  12. Hello…While on section 8 I was charged with a felony (shoplifting) charge 6 years ago in VA. The charge was later dropped to a misdemeanor 3 years ago I was evicted from my apt because i didn’t report the charge. I told her i didn’t think i had to report it because it wasn’t a felony conviction. Can i still re- apply for section 8 ???can you suggest any other programs???

  13. Someone that just came up for section 8 in Jefferson County (BMT, Tx) in that meanwhile pled guilty to a felony assult charge….about six months ago…& taking court order Anger managment and Probation…. The interview is nearing very soon….Is it best to inform the caseworker before they process the background check???? & will the assult keep the individual from getting on any type of Government housing for the first time??? Thanks.

  14. Is there section 8 for felons in VA? If so I can I a apply?

  15. I’ve called my local pha agency and was told not to even bother to apply because we would be denied because of my fianc├ęs misdemeanor charge for marijuana in 2011.. We have a one and a half month old son. Is there anything we could do to qualify? Or are we out of luck??

    • Nelson Rosen says:

      Try calling again and speaking with someone else. A misdemeanor drug charge from 2011 should NOT exclude you from getting section 8 benefits.

  16. Jennifer Remis says:

    I have a felony on my record from almost 9 years ago. It was an aggr assault out in Az. I was trying to commit suicide but was charged with aggr assault against a police office. Couldn’t fight it…if I lost I was facing 10 1/2-21 yrs. So I took a 4 yr plea bargain. NO choice. So how and where do I loo for housing on a very low income (SSI) in Orange County, Ca.? I have found it to be extremely hard. Will section 8 take me me since it’s been so long? Never been in trouble with the law before or after and I was 51 yrs old when arrested. I am now 60. I am NO danger to anyone at my age! Please give me some advise. Thank you!

    • Nelson Rosen says:

      Should not be a problem at all at this point. You will be considered as any other citizen who applies.

  17. I got a charge in 2002 for felony possession of Marijuana I was 18 I am now 31. However I was never officially convicted till 2012 where I ended up on probation for a 10yr old charge it has now be 13 yrs. I live in ky will I be eligible I have no other charges. Just paid price for getting car with someone I didn’t know to well!!

  18. If my boyfriend had a drug misdemeanor about 10 years ago and hasn’t had any other arrest since will that disqualify us for section 8 ? It was for amphetamines i believe. We’re in California

  19. Anna Rodriguez says:

    Both my children 16, 23 are Charged with a felony I’m currently on section 8 in Charlotte NC. Will that be a problem for me. Thanks

  20. Salina Hoskins says:

    My boyfriend wants to get added on my section 8 and he has a felony so I was wondering if I could add him to my voucher.

  21. jelissa hernandez says:

    Hello. I have a question me n my boyfriend been thinkin about getting married but im kind of hesitant because he has a felony charge if i do decide to marry him will that affect my housing

  22. gypsywoman07 says:

    My daughter, her two young sons and I are thinking to move from WNY to McKinney, Texas maybe June or July of next year, what is the wait list for that area and how do we get on? Thank you

    • Nelson Rosen says:

      It varies by location. Contact your local HA and ask but most wait times are a few years.

  23. Inquisitive says:

    My boyfriend was charged with something that would disqualify him, but not convicted, case was dropped, can they hold this against him?

  24. I was convicted of gross sexual imposition and felonious assault 29 years ago when I was eighteen. I did 1 year in jail with no probation. This was in 1986. Does that disqualify me from getting section 8?

  25. Hi I was wondering I am recently in the process of being convicted of unlawful use of a weapon was wondering if as long as I comply with court if I was excepted to be on my gf HUD still?

  26. Please send me a application for section 8 affordable housing .

  27. i have a question..i have a deadly conduct w/ a firearm felony charge from 4 years in a half ago will that disqualify me ?

  28. I have a voucher in Va. Can I add my fiance’ to my household, whom had a misdomeanor marijuana posession a year ago for the first time?

  29. I have a felony dui 6 months old. Do i qualify?

  30. Heidi L says:

    My son has custody of his 4 year old son. He lives in Virginia and his child’s mother lives in another state. My son has a felony dui from 2011. Will this disqualify him from section 8?

  31. ive been qualified for section 8 and have my list for apartments ,since housing has accepted me with my felony from 4 in a half years ago.am i still goin to have problems with the apartments section8 with accepting me when i put a application at the apartments? or do they not look into that since ive already been accepted

  32. Denise porter, says:

    Nelson Rosen I have a question are you a representative for housing I see you answered a lot of questions. If so my 17,went to the station at age 13, wrongfully accused charges was thrown out,, and at 17 he was caught in a stolen car with his friend but his friend had keys he didn’t know the car was stolen, but that too, was thrown out no charges will my voucher be taken

    • Nelson Rosen says:

      Lol. I’m not a representative for housing, I just run this site:)

      Your voucher should be fine. Don’t worry.

  33. Margeret says:

    Hi I live in nj, I have neighbors on section 8, they are horrible neighbors. they’ve harassed me and my children this last 6 yrs. They don’t mow their lawn. I’ve written letters to the housing authority, there are criminal harassment charges pending against them. What constitutes a removal through the housing authority?? I’m aware of rules in the acceptance of government subsidies. What are the rules for?? Enough for removal.

  34. Hi quick question my boyfriend soon be fiance is incarcerated and gets out in jan next yr he’s been in since 2011 he wants to be paroled to my house in pa. Will they allow it or will my voucher be taken. He is in there for a gun charge but didnt use it just to scare the person.

  35. Me and my boyfriend both have past felonies and misdemeanors. We’ve both completed rehab and are expecting the baby this year. We are both currently on probation will being on probation disqualify us from section 8? No sexual offense charges or meth charges. Could I apply for myself and baby with no income I’m waiting on my disability. Thanks Nelson! :-)

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