Section 8 for former foster youth explained

Are you looking for supportive housing for section 8 for former foster youth? The persons aging out of foster care belong to the most vulnerable group in terms of homelessness and poor housing conditions.

The government implements various programs aimed at supporting such youth with housing needs in their transition to adult life. These programs are administered by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), although there are public child welfare agencies and public housing agencies in each state.a

In this article, we’ll consider how the Section 8 program works for former foster youth.

section 8 for former foster youth
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Section 8 for former foster youth: Eligibility and application requirements

The eligibility and application requirements include limits to age, legal status, and income.

The age to be eligible for Section 8 varies depending on the state regulations.

Usually, a young person should be 18 years old. However, in some states, this age can be 16-17.

The income requirements for eligibility are established by HUD. The limits determined for income can vary in different locations.

A young person having no housing experience may face certain difficulties when applying for Section 8. So, contacting the public housing agencies for more information is recommended. Typically the application process consists of choosing the housing unit and collecting and submitting the required papers to the relevant public housing authorities.

The documents subject to submission should prove the income of a young person, his/her identity, and legal status.

To verify the identity the former foster youth shall submit a photo ID (passport or driver’s license). To prove the income, the former foster adolescent can submit documents such as tax returns, letters from his/her employer, etc.

If an applicant does not have U.S. citizenship, he/she must provide the papers confirming the legal status. For example, green cards or visas.

In addition, some local agencies require the papers to prove disability or homelessness. Anyhow, it depends on the regulations specific to one or another region.

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Section 8-based housing programs for former foster youngsters

HUD provides funds to such programs as the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, Family Unification Program (FUP), and Foster Youth to Independence (FYI). These programs provide eligible foster youth with targeted housing assistance, including rental assistance according to the Social Security Act.

Family Unification Program

FUP was created in 1990. It is designed to provide housing assistance to such a youth provided that they are aged out of foster care and and at risk of homelessness.

The public housing agencies (PHAs) receive the FUP vouchers from HUD and allocate them in partnership with local public child welfare agencies (PCWAs).

This partnership means that PHAs provide housing assistance and supportive services to youth who experienced foster care in the past and currently being at risk of homelessness.

The foster youngsters are eligible for a FUP voucher if they meet the income requirements, and are aged 18 through 24. Another condition is that they are aged out of foster care or this is expected within the coming 90 days.

Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program

Former foster adolescents who are not eligible for FUP or for other reasons cannot be provided supportive services may benefit from the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. The program is not designed especially for former foster youth.

However, due to the low income of the majority of such youth, the public housing agencies (PHAs) can recognize them as eligible.

Like HCV recipients of other categories, the former foster youngsters typically pay 30% of their income in rent. When the youth’s income exceeds the allowed maximum the housing assistance will be lost.

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Foster Youth to Independence Initiative (FYI)

The Foster Youth to Independence (FYI) initiative is modeled on the FUP basis. Despite their common goals two programs have specific peculiarities.

The Foster Youth to Independence (FYI) initiative was announced in 2019 but has been amended several times. The last version of 2020 is applicable currently and designed to provide supportive services to eligible young people via issuing the vouchers under FYI program.

Based on the new edition of the Foster Youth to Independence Program, PHAs provide housing assistance to young people who have left foster care or will leave it within 90 days.

This corresponds to the provisions of the transition plan outlined in Section 475(5)(H) of the Social Security Act.

As of the revised version, vouchers issued to such a youth may be used to provide housing assistance for the youth for a maximum of 36 months. In addition to providing up to 36 months of rental assistance, youth must be provided supportive services.

Youth to Independence initiative is implemented in two ways: non-competitive and competitive. Using the first one, PHAs request assistance on a rolling basis (Notice PIN 2021-26). The FYI Competitive Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) describes the second way to request assistance.

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Final words

The transition to adulthood is a significant challenge for former foster youngsters. However, this is an urgent issue for the entire society especially for the bodies involved in a child welfare system which must set housing support and prevention of homelessness as a priority goal.

Frequently Asked Questions

What benefits do former foster youth get in California?

In California, the youth aging out of foster care are provided with housing support, financial assistance, and other resources. In California, foster care benefits don’t end at 18. After aging out of foster care the youngsters have new options for supportive housing and financial assistance up to the age of 21.

Can you be a foster parent on Section 8 in California?

For those who live in California, there exists an opportunity to be a foster parent while on Section 8. However, each Housing Authority has its own rules regarding this issue.

The basic requirements are that you don’t have a criminal record, and don’t have an abusive requirement. And, naturally, you have to be financially able to support the foster child and themselves.

What are the rights of foster youth in LA County?

The rights of youth being or having been under foster care in Los Angeles County are regulated by the Foster Youth Bill of Rights which includes more than forty laws.

The exhaustive information concerning the rights of foster youngsters in Los Angeles County is available on

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