Section 8 waiting list

How long is the section 8 waiting list?

Each state has several housing authorities. The length of each section 8 waiting list may vary greatly. In San Fransisco for example, the waiting list is about 9 years long.

In 2007 in St. Louis, MO the demand to get a place on the waiting list for Section 8 vouchers was so great, people rushed the front door. Police stepped in to disperse the crowd.

“We had to close the thing down because there were too many people,” said Cheryl Lovell, executive director of the housing authority. People really do need to apply for section 8 online instead of showing up in person.

“Lots of people want the assistance,” she added. “A lot of people need it.”

Over 8,000 names eventually landed on the waiting list that week in 2007. Now, seven years later, the application pool has nearly dried up.

The housing authority announced Thursday that a one-week window to pre-register for the income-based rental assistance program will open again July 14.

The agency has been planning for the event for months in hopes to avoid some of the previous struggles. The main difference will be an online option. Applications can be submitted 24 hours a day at

“We don’t want to have people wait in line at our building to apply,” Lovell said. “We want them to do it at their convenience.”

The housing authority expects more applicants this time around, perhaps 10,000. No new vouchers were issued from the middle of 2012 through 2013 for a section 8 application because of funding cuts.

Section 8 is one of many government subsidized housing programs for low-income people and those with disabilities. Recipients pay 30 percent of their income in rent; the government pays the remainder directly to the landlord. Renters find their own housing from a list of properties in the community that meet the standards of the program.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funds the program; local housing authorities manage it on the ground.

Lovell said Congress ultimately decides the speed of getting through the waiting list.

“It takes us seven years to fund it,” she said, speaking of waiting lists for a section 8 application. “It’s not that we sit on these applications. We have to have slots. You have to have funding available.”

The Housing Authority of St. Louis County uses a lottery system for its Section 8 waiting list.

Susan Rollins, director of the agency, said she wants to avoid the stampede situation that erupted in Atlanta in recent years and left people injured.

“Because there are so many people in need, we have gone to a lottery system,” she said. “We think it’s a fair way to get it done.”

When prospects that completed a section 8 housing applicationare called from the Section Eight Lottery Waiting List, they must attend a group orientation briefing. Briefings last approximately 2 hours. All household members, 17 years of age and older are asked to attend. Prospects failing to appear or not receiving approval to be called at a later date will be removed from the Section Eight Lottery Waiting List.

During the briefing, the Housing Choice Voucher program is explained by the Section Eight Department. Caseworkers discuss the program requirements and the responsibilities of tenants and landlords. Forms authorizing the Housing Authority to obtain information regarding income and assets are signed by the prospect. A release form is signed by the prospect and each member 17 years of age and older to check criminal records. Most of these precautions take affect once someone has submitted their application after they apply for section 8 online.

How can I apply for section 8?

Learn how to sign up for section 8

If someone wants to apply for section 8 online, they must assess their income level to see if they even qualify for section 8.

HUD has what’s called their median low income level, and it varies from state to state. The intention is to only allow low income families and individuals the opportunity to apply for section 8 online or at local housing authorities. The reason for this is so others do not try to take advantage of the section 8 program, as it is meant for those that are truly in need.

These realities aside, if you are in a low-income group and you need rental assistance or other aid under the voucher program, you should first determine if you meet some basic income requirements. Income requirements vary from one area to the next, but in general your family will need to earn no more than 50 percent of the median income in your area. HUD estimates different areas’ median incomes every year.

In 2007, the national median income for a family of three was about $52,000. So, to qualify, your family of three would have to earn less than $26,000 a year. Remember, this limit applies to total household income — all the income earned by everyone in the household combined.

Another consideration is the number of people in your family. The fewer people in your household, the lower your Section 8 income limit. This being said however, when housing authorities post applications online, an abundance of people apply for section 8 online that do not even qualify for the program.

Because Section 8 is not considered an entitlement benefit, everyone who qualifies for a housing voucher doesn’t necessarily receive one. According to recent estimates, only about 25 percent of the families qualifying for aid receive it. In many areas, qualified families face fierce competition for vouchers. Waiting lists are often long. Because of huge demand, some local housing authorities have even stopped accepting applications entirely. For example, over 2,300 families are on Chicago’s waiting list. Recipients are chosen from the waiting list by a monthly lottery; until the list is exhausted. People often confuse public housing list with a section 8 application waiting list when applications are being accepted.

Local housing agencies must also give preference to extremely low-income families, those with household earnings less than 30 percent of an area’s median income. Of the new applicants admitted to the program each year, 75 percent must be extremely low-income.

If you qualify for Section 8 and then your situation stabilizes, and your household’s income rises, that’s great. That’s how the program is supposed to help you. The income limits for qualification only matter at the time you apply for Section 8 assistance. However, as your family earns more, your vouchers will be proportionately reduced. Once you’re earning over 80 percent of local median income, your assistance will fade out entirely.

If you think you qualify for a Section 8 housing voucher, you should contact the public housing agency in your area. Contact information, including toll-free phone numbers, addresses and e-mail addresses, can be found on the HUD web site.

If someone qualifies for Section 8 housing, they will only have to pay about 30% of their monthly income towards their rent, the Section 8 or subsidized housing program pays the rest.

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Apply for Section 8 in Atlanta, Georgia

Looking for more info about how to apply for Section 8 and other government rental assistance programs?

Try these helpful links below:

Jacksonville, Florida | Mobile, Alabama | New York | Atlanta, Georgia

HUD – Low Income Housing

What is HUD?

HUD stands for, housing and urban development, which is the government entity that gives funding to housing authorities. What is referred to as a HUD application, is really an application for section 8 or public housing.

Low income housing application

Public housing was established to provide decent and safe rental housing for eligible low-income families. Public housing comes in all sizes and types, from scattered single family houses to highrise apartments for elderly families.

Public housing is obtained by completing a low income housing application at your local housing authority, which is limited to low-income families and individuals and eligibility is based on annual gross income and U.S. citizenship or eligible immigration status. If you are eligible, a public housing agency will check your references to make sure you and your family will be good tenants. Any applicant whose habits and practices may be expected to have a detrimental effect on other tenants or on the project’s environment will be denied.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development, HUD, offers two types of subsidized housing to eligible low-income residents, the elderly and the disabled. The Housing Choice Vouchers program, HCV, also known as Section 8. Applicants can now apply for section 8 online. This program provides renters with a subsidy they can use to secure housing in the private rental market. Public housing comprises government-funded-and-constructed units ranging from single-family homes to multi-unit dwellings. In both cases, you must meet similar eligibility requirements to qualify.

Applicants should decide if the rent subsidy offered through the HCV program or the reduced rent in a public housing project appeals to them. A HUD application online is really for section 8. This program requires the PHA to place you on a waiting list due to high demand for HCVs and public housing. The Housing Choice Voucher Program waiting list usually has a waiting list of 2 years or longer. In California for example, some housing authorities have over 45,000 households on their waiting lists, resulting in an eight to nine year wait. In San Francisco, both the Housing Choice Voucher Program and public housing waitlists are closed. The SFHA does not anticipate them reopening in the near future, as of June 2010. In some cases, you might need to move to an area with less demand to qualify.

When preparing to complete a HUD application online, which is really for section 8, be ready to verify your income. Eligibility is based primarily on how much money you make in relation to your area’s median income. If you live in an affluent city, such as San Francisco, the income limits are higher than they are in places with lower median incomes. Generally, to qualify for the HCV program you cannot make more than 50 percent of your area’s median. For public housing, your income cannot surpass 80 percent of the median. In both cases, preference is given to the homeless, persons living in substandard housing and households that spend more than half of their income on rent.

How to apply for section 8 online

What do I have to do to apply?

In order for someone to apply for section 8 online, they must first find a housing authority that is accepting section 8 applications.

How to apply for section 8 online.

Applications are always free when they are being accepted. Most housing authorities allow new applicants to apply online from their websites as oppose to showing up in person. PHA’s have been overwhelmed recently when they have instructed applicants to apply in person due to the high demand for subsidized housing.

Housing choice vouchers are administered by local public housing authorities (PHA’s), of which there are several in every state.

A section 8 housing application is the first step in applying online for section 8. Vouchers come as either project-based or tenant-based — see below for more details. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) supports PHAs, and your local PHA will help you arrange Section 8 housing.

Under a tenant-based voucher, a tenant gets a voucher and can move into a unit with financial assistance. If that tenant chooses to move to another unit, the voucher carries over to the next unit, offering continued assistance to the tenant wherever they decide to live after they apply for section 8.

Under a project-based voucher, a tenant gets assistance so long as they remain in the unit that the voucher was issued for. The voucher lasts for a specified unit and time. If the family chooses to leave the unit, the assistance does not carry over to the next unit. A family may still, however, be eligible for a tenant-based voucher.

What is Section 8 Housing?

Explaining the Section 8 Housing Program

The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program is a government subsidized rental assistance program. One must complete a section 8 application in order to obtain a housing voucher. The intention of the Section 8 programs is to alleviate the apparent housing shortage nation wide.

Section 8 of the Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. § 1437f), often called Section 8, as repeatedly amended, authorizes the payment of rental housing assistance to private landlords on behalf of approximately 4.8 million low-income households as of 2008 in the United States. The largest part of the section is the Housing Choice Voucher program which pays a large portion of the rents and utilities of about 2.1 million households. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development manages the Section 8 programs and housing authorities administer the section 8 application process.

The Housing Choice Voucher Program provides “tenant-based” rental assistance, so a tenant can move from one unit of at least minimum housing quality to another. It also allows individuals to apply their monthly voucher towards the purchase of a home, with over $17 billion going towards such purchases each year (from analysis). The maximum allowed voucher is $2,000 a month. In the United States, the economy varies from coast to coast. It is mostly about the comparison of property values in the area in question. Completing a section 8 application online however, is the first step in becoming apart of subsidized housing in the U. S.

Section 8 also authorizes a variety of “project-based” rental assistance programs, under which the owner reserves some or all of the units in a building for low-income tenants, in return for a federal government guarantee to make up the difference between the tenant’s contribution and the rent in the owner’s contract with the government. A tenant who leaves a subsidized project will lose access to the project-based subsidy.

Your local housing authority can assist you in finding public housing solutions. Consult them and other agencies to help you find and complete a section 8 application online when applications are being accepted.