Learn About Section 8 Housing Waiting Lists

However, these families are usually those whose rent expenses are more than half of the household income. Typically, households with inadequate incomes have few choices for housing.

They are often unable to afford housing that is sanitary and safe. These families tend to live in substandard rentals and in dangerous neighborhoods.

In order to obtain housing assistance from the Section 8 program, a public housing authority (PHA) must determine that a household is eligible.

After a family qualifies for the program, they are put on a Section 8 waiting list.

These waiting lists are lengthy and many recipients wait long stretches of time before they receive their Section 8 voucher.

Due to the demand for the program, many states do not have open Section 8 waiting lists.

Therefore, public housing agencies are forced to close their waiting lists indefinitely.

Households interested in the most recent open waiting lists and housing opportunities can contact their local public authority.

To learn all about the waiting lists for Section 8, read the following sections:

  • Average time spent on Section 8 waiting lists
  • Opening and closing of waiting lists

Learn About the Average Time Spent on Section 8 Waiting Lists

Depending on the state, Section 8 waiting lists can be long. It can take years for some households to even have the opportunity to get on to the Housing Choice Voucher program waiting list.

Additionally, families must wait to reach the top of the list. Section 8 is a program that is in high demand.

The number of applicants exceeds the funding and resources available for the program.

Thus, many public housing agencies throughout the United States have no choice but to close their waiting lists to new applicants in order to provide assistance to those already on the list.

Closing waiting lists allows PHAs to use their resources to aid families who have been waiting for a length of time to receive their Section 8 housing vouchers.

The state of New York has had its waiting list closed since 2009.

However, counties with smaller populations and rural areas are able to reopen their lists more frequently.

This is because there is a decreased need for federal housing services due to the smaller population size.

Households in less populated cities and areas can check waiting lists more regularly to see if there are openings.

Because of the extensive amount of applications that PHAs receive, they establish local preferences to determine which households will receive priority.

Doing this helps the agencies determine which families require more immediate need.

Local preferences are determined by housing priorities of families and the needs of the local communities.

For example, a family that contributes more than half of its income toward rent, lives in substandard conditions and is involuntarily displaced is like to receive priority.

Moreover, households with at least one member who is disabled, a minority or elderly are likely to be considered for local preference eligibility.

Public housing authorities are required to disburse 75 percent of their vouchers to families with extremely low incomes.

These are families who earn 30 percent of the average income in a given area.

Households that reach the top of Section 8 waiting lists are often reevaluated for eligibility.

This is because some families no longer qualify for the program’s income requirements after waiting on the list for so long.

Those who are still deemed eligible are called for an interview with a PHA agent.

Afterward, they receive their housing voucher. Then, recipients can begin searching for an appropriate rental. Many rental units are eligible for them program.

They simply must be approved by the PHA and the rent must not exceed PHA standards.

However, residents who are determined to be ineligible once they reach the top of the waiting list will not receive a voucher. In addition, their Section 8 applications will be void.

Learn About the Opening and Closing of Waiting Lists

Section 8 waiting lists open and close in accordance with demand and the amount of applicants.

In certain states and areas, waiting times on these lists are not long. Residents may be able to secure a voucher within months.

Conversely, families in other areas may have to wait years to reach the top of the list.

One common reason that a waiting list reopens is because a family has lost Section 8 eligibility.

After this occurs, the PHA can begin accepting new applicants. Interested households can find out which PHAs have open waiting lists by conducting an online search.

One state that currently has an open waiting list is Indiana.

The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority Section 8 waiting list is currently open indefinitely.

Furthermore, open waiting lists can also be found in Lake County, California, in Columbus, Ohio, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Montana, in Tulsa, Oklahoma and 400 other locations around the United States.

However, several states recently closed their waiting lists including Tennessee, Michigan and Hawaii.

Section 8 waiting lists in large cities can have extensive waiting lists. Beneficiaries on these lists may have to wait as long as 10 years before receiving a housing voucher.

Once they are finally granted a voucher, they must stay at their chosen rental unit for at least one year before they can find another home to live in.

Furthermore, every PHA has a different process of their Section 8 waiting list. For instance, some PHAs allow residents to apply online.

Others require in-person application.

Usually, when a list reopens, PHAs receive an overwhelming amount of applications. However, many will not be approved and will be put on the waiting list.

County and state public housing authorities typically select applicants through a lottery drawing.

Then, they close the waiting list for an undetermined amount of time. Newly added families do not usually receive preferential treatment.

They are usually not served immediately and will be required to wait on the list until they reach a top spot.