The process for applying to Section 8 housing assistance programs follows certain steps. While these steps are generally the same across-the-board, certain procedures differ in each state and with each PHA agency. The time a person might spend on a Section 8 housing voucher waiting list might last for up to one or two years. This is a long time to wait for affordable housing. Methods to understand your circumstances exist early in the application process, however.

HUD and local PHAs provide information online about the length of time you might have to wait before you receive any housing assistance once approved. One reason the program is so popular involves its leniency pursuant to renters choosing their own homes. Section 8 apartments, townhomes and even full houses are available. 

Section 8 Housing Application Process (Find Your New Home Faster)
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Many are of extremely high quality as well. This benefit is a proverbial double-edged sword, however, because the ability to choose your own home is partly why most waiting lists are always full. If you are willing to be flexible in your choice of residence you might obtain housing assistance faster.

HUD homes for rent listings are posted in every PHAs region within your state. No limitations are imposed upon the number of PHAs to which you are permitted to apply. For example, you might apply to PHAs in five different areas around your county or state. Doing so will increase the speed at which you are granted your first vouchers. Once approved, however, you must forgo all other pending application processes.

It is highly advisable to consult all PHA and HUD website pages regarding the time you will likely have to spend on each Section 8 waiting list. Waiting lists currently closed due to surplus application submissions might open up again at a moment’s notice, especially if numerous Section 8 recipients relocate in close succession. Apply to the waiting lists where openings are available. Also apply to the waiting lists with the fewest applicants on the list.

Following these two steps helps improve your chances of receiving expedited benefits.

Definitive steps are taken to obtain Section 8 housing vouchers. These steps begin by locating a selection of preferred PHAs near you. You may use the “PHA CONTACT INFORMATION” website page to find the PHAs in your preferred areas. Your eligibility is determined based on your income, disabilities and other factors. 

Your cumulative household income must be fifty-percent or less than the median income of the area in which each PHA operates. If you know you are eligible based on income criteria, the next steps are to obtain, complete and submit your applications. Standard income, identity and residential status documentation are required.

Continue the process by completing these additional steps:

• Research waiting list status for each applicable PHA program.

• Confirm your place on each applicable waiting list.

• Apply for preferential selection treatment if qualified.

• Receive your voucher.

• Locate adequate approved housing.

• Pay the remaining balance of rent owed to your landlord (if any) and move into your new home.

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