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. Amanda higgins says:

    I’m on section 8 in IL .and my husband got a domestic violence charge but not convinced. The charges are going to b dropped..will he still get kicked off if he don’t get convicted?

  2. dior love says:

    I have a felony for obstruction of justice to unarmed robbery it’s 5years old I have section 8 in knoxville but want to transfer to Michigan which is the state of my felony well I lose my section 8 if i try to transfer

  3. I’ve been on Hud for 2 years and I have 2 children. I was wondering if my boyfriend could be added on my housing, he has a felony assault (DV) from 2008. He had been to prison several times before that. He’s 39 now and hasn’t been in any trouble since that charge when he was 31. I live in Mendocino county in Northern California.

    • After 5 years of your conviction you can apply for section-8…..that’s Nj law… Not sure about anywhere else….

    • Don’t do it…..it says after 5 years you can get section-8 in nj law books anyway….. But don’t do it…..sec-8 is very important to have……

    • Here in California, only actual family members are allowed to be on your section 8 – you probably will have to marry him, or adopt him, lol.

  4. Elizabeth Gould Benjamin says:

    I have a fancee who’s felony can we get section 8 together

  5. Hello I’m currently on section 8 out of Sacramento, ca and I’m trying port into phoenix Arizona I’m on probation til January 29 2016 for a dui will I be denied to port into their jurisdiction

  6. My sister currently on Section 8 with her daughter and child. It’s was time for their recertification and the PHA sends out a forum requiring a criminal record check. They have never done that before they have been on the program for years. What would cause such a strange action.

    • Anglea,

      I work for HUD and the answer is the agent does have the right to run criminal background checks at recertificaiton as long as it is done for every tenant at the property. They cannot do it just for one household, it must be across the board. This is being done to see if any tenants has any criminal charges that may be serious and can the agent can then eithe rnot recertify the tenant or begin the eviciton process.

  7. Thanks tommi

  8. HI I’ve been wanting to apply for public housing but not sure if I can because I’m a felon for breaking my ex’s windshield to his eighteen wheeler yea

  9. I have a vocher in Hampton I just caught a felony grandllarcy last year I’m trying to port to Atlanta Ga Will they send my vocher back

  10. I have section 8 and I want to add my child’s father on my section 8 he has felony but they are over 6 or 7 year’s old and non are for sex crimes or drugs selling will section 8 say no or take away my section 8

  11. I just got approved for section 8 and I just got charged with attempting to shop lift… Will they kick me off…!!

  12. My husband is about to be released from federal prison after 10 years. He has a perfect prison record and degrees for many classes he took. Will I lose my sec 8 if he moves into the home with us? I live in NC

  13. debra hester says:

    I have one felony supposivly dismissd. I’m trying to get a one. Be to get away from my daughter. long story. Several misdermers to. I live in Durham Nc

  14. Crystal Young says:

    I got a felony charge in 2008 I served all my time out 5yr and the governor gave my rights back it was not a drug charge its not even a felony now can I get section

  15. Joanna Fulton says:

    If you do have a sex of fence and its 10 yes old can you stay with some one in section 8

  16. amy Hawkins says:


  17. amy Hawkins says:

    My husbands got a felony AND os on house
    arrest i. Diodabled. Traatic er ate living on a pop up csmper in his bosses front yard we need jelpbfinfong a plscr to teny in bero brscj gl sebsdtion fl or pa bsy fl hrlp ple as de help uspost traihelp

  18. I currently have section 8 and just got a robbery charge. Will I lose my voucher?

  19. Okay Ive been liveing with boyfriend over16Years I was added to his hud Tjo if i wanted to separate am i considered on hud so i can get my own apt

  20. I live in tennessee 3 years ago I got a felony for breaking and entering which was a felony of a tattoo shop in North Carolina but been trouble free since, does this hinder my chances of public housing

  21. If I have a drug conviction that’s over ten years old can I get on someone else’s section 8 voucher

    • You have to go through the application process under their benefits. They should have an info update form. Have the person receiving benefits contact their case worker/case manager.

  22. monica love says:

    i have section 8 and caught a theft case and they inhance it to a felony will i loose my voucher program but im on 3 yrs deferred probation

  23. I live in Virginia I got a felony in 2009 served 11 months got out 2010 stayed on probation until 2011, December. It was an assualt on a police officer charge. I just got my rights back from the governor, Restoration of Rights….Can I get public Housing or Section 8 now? Please help me….

  24. I’m truly distraught, I’m 56 years old I haven’t had my own apt since 2008 then moved back in with others and then I caught a break and a program through MH/ MR whom helps a person to reenter back into society slow with their rents assistance through a service coordinator. Now come Sept ny 5years is up, and I’m truly scared without help, to rent on my own. I feel I’m going to be ok just that Im on a fixed income , I’m a felon, so 2 strikes already. So I entered I the Section 8 program voucher ,denied, public housing denied, appealed keep going back to criminal bckgrnd. I looking for a program that rents to demons especially one lil me whom crime is 30 years old how u wish Pgh. Will come to the future, maybe because its a commonwealth state ? Sadness 56

  25. michelle mantia says:

    In the state of Vermont can someone have a drug felony older like 8 years not selling posession. Can he get into section 8, housing has been in two rehabs completed now in a suboxin treatment plan

  26. I have county h now I just pick up a gun offense and tt 1 can my count housing terminate my section 8

  27. I have one possession of meth charge it’s been almost 2 yrs it’s the only felony on my record can I apply for a section 8 in ND cuz I’ve been turned down everywhere else and need somewhere to go to get my daughter back

    • Nelson Rosen says:

      You can try. It will likely take years to get a voucher even if you are approved.

  28. Megan Lewis says:

    I just got an appointment in the mail to come to section 8 (middle tn) my name has reached the top of the list. what can i expect from this appointment? My husband (separated) got me evicted from the tn housing projects in june of 2013 for a indictment for conspiracy to sell prescription pills. Will they tell me i cant get help from them? I need answers please.

    • Nelson Rosen says:

      I don’t know if that would have an affect on your current application. It might.

  29. I was charges with theft by unlawful taking, one count is a felony charge the other two are misdemeanor. I also have a conviction for possession of a controlled substance 3rd degree….can I get housing assistance.

  30. Javonne Taylor says:

    I have a previous eviction in 2014 for non payment but im showing improvements im been paying 600 rent for 16 months now….i also have a petty theft from last November i got a letter for orientation for section 8 will they deny me?

  31. I am a 60 yrs old& been on Section 8 for since 2009,Ive lived where I’m at now& had planned on staying right where I am,But in November of 2015 I ran into a man I dated 35 yrs ago, We were married April 3 2016.My husband is a felon on a monitor and moved in with me when we got Married.Unfortunately due to a person that was upset with me.my landlord was alerted of the situation, My lease was up at the end of June,Since my landlord found out I was told “He couldn’t live here ” because he was monitored” So ok.We went on search for new place to live! In a matter of days,I recived a letter from the Galveston Housing Authority, indicating I was being Terminated from Section 8! I was told to appeal the case,which was done in a legal manner,by my husband who is a certified Paralegal! The letter also indicated that I would be allowed to stay until the end of July or until we had the Appeal, I am on SSI .Disabled. .and my income is $ 659 a month, I’ve tried to talk to Housing, But was told NO they are not going to tell me why this is happening,We did give them a letter announcing the fact that we had gotten married, I believe that this is all happening due to the fact that I gave my husband is Power of attorney to represent me, due to the fact that I have a 6th grade education and also have a disability that is mental issues , and also the fact that he had knowledge that I did not have and do not have! I do hope that I have explained this enough that maybe you can help us! Because as of June 30th I am being told that I have to leave my home but they will not issue a voucher or or rafter until the appeal has went through, in the meantime I have no funds to move and have no way to get another place to live! Please advise me and my husband as to what else we can do, sincerely Rayla&Richard Kuykendall

  32. Is true that California only looks back 3 years in the criminal history? And that they only look for violence. My worker told me this.

  33. My son was charged with a felony but not convicted due to courts deferred the charge to DUI and then the case dismissed because all requirements were completed satisfactorily and he has ab order of dismissal from courts but the charge still shows on records…how would this affect his certification for housing?

  34. sonya bruessRd says:

    I have a felony identity theft . I am living in a shelter trying to get section 8 or his housing. I am from chicago. I have to little girls and no help just found a job if anybody can help me please help .

  35. If u are on section 8
    and I was on jail for shoplifting my first time
    Could i lost the voucher section8

  36. Will I still be able to get section 8 if I have a retail theft felony?

  37. I have a juvenile felony 20yrs ago burglary or habitation 2 felonies over 5yrs ago intoxicated assault w/ vechile serious bodily injury (dwi w/ a wreak) & failure to stop & render aid. have 7 misdemeanors over 5yrs old and 2 recent misdemeanor all in texas. can I qualify for section 8. i’m able to receive food stamps.

    • Juan, my man, wow, that is a heavy load to bear. I am sorry to see that you made such choices in life, doesn’t sound like much fun. Section 8 takes years to get once you apply in some states, so your best bet is to go to the nearest Dept. of Housing office or look online for the Department of Housing’s web page in your specific state and see what their rules are. Many times it is given first to people who are either, a. Immigrants, b. Disabled, c. Families with children. In this economy there demand is high, but in some areas more and more landlords are refusing to accept Section 8 because they want to charge higher rents. We have that problem here in Southern California right now. I hope you find something. Your best bet is to try to get into some type of job training program and share housing with a coworker or fellow student, unless you have a family then you will need your own space.

  38. I have been doing so well since my incarceration. I am a better man today. I have had multiple rehab in prison and sponcership out of jail. I am going to school for medical assistant fir my first degree. I just want to better myself living alone and focusing on life. I am asking for help because I’m working a low income job and have tried getting a better one like my past decent jobs. I always work and u believe in doing what’s right and working hard. I just ask for assistance til I’m able to do things better.

  39. Am on section 8 and am getting married and my soon to be is a felon and he wants to move in with me will lose my section 8

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