Waiting for Section 8 openings can feel frustrating. The high demand for rent assistance through this program makes most applicants have to join waiting lists until a voucher becomes available. Section 8 (the Housing Choice Voucher Program) provides safe, affordable housing to low-income adults, seniors and disabled individuals.
Looking for rent assistance in your area? Since your name may likely be placed on a low income apartment waiting list, finding out exactly how they work and tips for finding openings can be extremely helpful. Also, did you know that if you meet a few requirements, you may receive preference and move up toward the top of the waiting list? Find out more below.
The Section 8 program is managed locally by Public Housing Authorities, or PHAs. Most PHAs have a low income apartment waiting list full of people who want to be Section 8 tenants. This is because of the extremely high demand for housing assistance.
In many PHAs, waiting lists are ordered chronologically. This means that those who apply earlier will get the chance to receive a housing voucher before those who apply later on. So when you first apply to the program, your name may likely be placed at the bottom of the list. Other PHAs use randomizing computer software to help with ranking applicants on their waiting list.
As housing vouchers become available, applicants at the top of the list will be taken off, allowing you to move up the list with time.
The amount of time it takes for you to move up the list depends on a few factors, including:
- Where you live and the local PHA
- The availability of vouchers
- The current number of Section 8 applicants
Finding an open Section 8 waiting list may be difficult. In fact, PHAs may close their waiting list when there is a substantial amount of applicants who are already waiting for housing assistance.
Nevertheless, there are many ways to search for Section 8 openings in your area, but the easiest and fastest way is to look online.
Nearly all PHAs have websites that allow you to search for openings before you apply to the program. Some may even provide information about the number of applicants currently waiting for housing assistance, helping you make a decision about whether you want to apply.
You aren’t restricted to applying to just one PHA either. Actually, joining multiple waiting lists is allowed and encouraged. It may increase your chances of receiving housing assistance faster.