Housing Authority Section 8 Waiting List

To get your Section 8 housing application status approved in the United States, you must be a low-income family that spends more than half of its income on rent. Often, families with insufficient earnings cannot afford a good home and are forced to live in substandard rental units, in unsanitary conditions and in dangerous neighborhoods. To apply for public assistance under the Section 8 housing program, you must first be considered eligible by a public housing authority. If so, you will be put on a housing authority Section 8 waiting list.

Waiting list times are long, and there are not many states with open Section 8 lists, due to the great demand for the program. Thus, many public housing agencies throughout the country are forced to close their waiting lists for an unspecified amount of time. If you are interested in the most recent open Section 8 waiting list 2018 housing opportunities, contact your local public authority or check out your state's official website.

To find out all about Section 8 waiting lists, explore the following sections:

  • Waiting times for Section 8 waiting lists

  • Waiting list openings and closings

Waiting Times for Section 8 Waiting Lists

Section 8 waiting lists for the Housing Choice Voucher Program are long, and depending on the state, they can sometimes take years to reopen and for applicants to reach the top. As one of the most sought after federal programs, the number of applicants far exceeds the funds and resources available for the program, and the public housing agencies are compelled to close their Section 8 waiting lists in order to help the families already on the list. During this time, state PHAs have the right to close their waiting lists if they are unable to provide assistance for all applicants. One example is the state of New York, where the Section 8 waiting list has been closed since 2009. However, in smaller counties and rural areas where there is not much demand, the waiting lists may reopen often. So applicants can check for new openings regularly.

To better organize Section 8 housing application statuses and determine which families need more immediate help, PHAs often establish local preferences that put certain families on the top of the list. For instance, if a family pays more than half of its income on rent, lives in substandard housing or is involuntarily displaced, the PHA will grant the family local preference and move it further up on the list. In addition, families with disabled family members, minorities or elderly individuals may also be eligible for local preference. PHAs determine their local preferences in accordance with the housing priorities of the families, as well as the needs of the community they serve. By law, a public housing agency must give 75 percent of the available vouchers to extremely low-income families, i.e. those whose income is 30 percent of the average area income.

Note: If you reached the top of the Section 8 waiting list, the PHA will check your eligibility again in order to verify it. Many families who have been on a Section 8 waiting list for a long time may no longer be eligible for the program because of income or family situation changes. However, if you are still eligible, you will be called for an interview with a PHA worker, and you will receive a housing voucher. Then, you will be able to start searching for a rental home in a location of your choice, as long as the rent amount does not exceed the standards set by the PHA. However, if the PHA finds you ineligible when you reach the top of the list, you will not receive a voucher and your Section 8 housing application status will be void.

Waiting List Openings and Closings

Public housing authorities can open and close Section 8 waiting lists in accordance with the demand and number of applications. In some states and counties, the waiting times are not long and applicants may receive a voucher within months. In others, it may take years before a family reaches the top of the list.

Typically, a PHA may reopen a Section 8 waiting list and receive new applications if a family loses eligibility. A quick online search can easily show you which states, counties or cities will open Section 8 waiting list 2018 housing opportunities, as well as which waiting lists are permanently open. One of the states with open Section 8 lists is Indiana, where the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority has decided to open its Section 8 waiting list indefinitely. Similarly, indefinitely open waiting lists can be found in Lake County in California, in Columbus, Ohio, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in the entire state of Montana, in Tulsa, Oklahoma and in over 400 additional locations. Some of the waiting lists that were recently closed are in Hawaii, Tennessee and Michigan.

Larger cities in the country can even reach a waiting time of 10 years on their Section 8 waiting lists, and when they are granted a housing voucher, the family may be required to stay in a rental unit in the locale that issued the voucher for at least one year before finding a home in another location. In addition, the Section 8 waiting list process is different from one PHA to the next. Some housing authorities may allow online Section 8 applications, while others require applying in person. If a list reopens, there will be a large number of applications, but not all of them will be approved and put on the waiting list. State and county PHAs often select the number of applications through a lottery drawing and then simply close the waiting list for an unspecified amount of time. However, even freshly added families will not be served immediately and will remain on the waiting list for months (if not years) until they reach the top.