Low-income housing programs are in extremely high demand. The rapid rise of housing costs throughout the United States paired with financial turbulence caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the number of American families looking for housing assistance. The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, or Section 8, is one of the most competitive housing programs available.
Looking for Section 8 openings in your area? You’ll likely be placed on a Section 8 waiting list, but did you know there are ways to jump to the top of the list and find openings more quickly? Preference is given to certain low-income individuals and families. Learn more about these preferences and how to find Section 8 openings more easily.
Millions of Americans live in low-income housing developments across the country. The Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, oversees several rental assistance programs designed to help low-income families find safe and affordable homes.
Section 8, or the HCV program, is one of the most popular housing assistance programs funded by HUD. Section 8 houses for rent are managed locally by public housing authorities or PHAs.
Nearly all PHAs have a Section 8 waiting list overflowing with residents in need of affordable housing. The demand for rental assistance is far greater than the supply of affordable homes.
When you apply for low-income housing through the Section 8 program, your local PHA will determine whether you meet all the qualification requirements. This involves checking your income to determine if it falls below the average median income in your area.
You’ll be placed on a Section 8 waiting list with your local PHA if you qualify for assistance. However, some PHAs close their waiting lists completely until more housing becomes available. Because of this, Section 8 openings are limited and may only be available at PHAs located outside of your area.
You do not need to apply to your local PHA to receive Section 8 assistance. However, applying to an agency that has Section 8 openings may require you to move across the state.
Most waiting lists are ordered chronologically, which means you will be placed at the bottom of the list immediately after applying. Some PHAs may randomize the waiting list using software programs.
As more Section 8 houses for rent become available, more names on the waiting list will be removed. For each name that is removed, you will move up a slot.
You could spend weeks, months or even years on a waiting list. The length of time it takes for you to find a Section 8 home depends on several factors, such as:
- Your city and state.
- Your local PHA.
- The availability of housing vouchers.
- The number of applicants.
However, you may be able to reduce your time spent on a Section 8 waiting list and even move to the top based on personal criteria. Continue reading the next slide to find out how.