What Do I Need to Know If My Application Is On Section 8 Waiting List?

Know If the Application Is On the Section 8 Waiting List?

Due to high demand, Section 8 voucher holders must wait on “housing waitlists.” Even though the wait feels never-ending, having tips down your sleeves can make this journey smoother and help you secure your place. Let’s dive in and look at everything you need to know about when your Application Is On the Waiting List.

What steps should I take if my application is on the Section 8 waiting list?

Ensure you keep a record of your application information

It is essential to keep track of all the information you mentioned in your application while your Application Is On the Waiting List, i.e., application date and time, personal information like email, phone number, physical address, and housing authority contact details. Keeping all the information in an easily accessible place for security is something you would not want to miss out on.

Please Allow the Housing Authority Sufficient Time to Review Your Application

Let the Housing Authority review your application in peace, and the time could vary from one HA to another, i.e., it could take minutes to even weeks to process your application, so let them take their time as they tend to notify the applicant once they are done reviewing it.

Please verify your placement on a housing waitlist

Once you apply for a Section 8 voucher, you will get a notification via email or mail about your application reception. Then, you are placed on a waitlist that could be shorter or longer, depending on the available funds and number of applicants. The applicants get notified once they reach the top.

Duration of Process Varies: Months to Years Based on Application Location

It is essential to confirm the status of your application on the waiting list, especially since you have never been contacted since you applied, as there is a possibility you might not have reached the waiting list due to errors. So avoid the mistake of not being informed about your application status. Reach out to the Housing Authority in case of rejection to find out the cause of the error and then proceed to rectify it.

Ensure Availability and Timely Responses to PHA Communications

One of the most understated steps of ensuring the success of your application is filling out all the information correctly, i.e., personal information, income details, contact, physical address, and email address, as it will save the PHA from the hassle and you from rejection. It would be best to inform PHA if your contact or other personal information changes.

You will likely receive a Waiting list Status Update Letter confirming your contact info and rental assistance request, especially if you have been on the waiting list for more than a year. PHA will schedule a Housing Briefing Meeting as soon as you reach the top of the list to ensure your proper understanding of the Housing Assistance Program and how the voucher will operate.

 Follow up

If you have any queries, don’t hesitate to contact the respective Housing Authority while your Application Is pending. If you need clarification despite reaching out to the authority, we will say reach out again to get your query addressed clearly and adequately. After all, the Housing Authority is supposed to help you out.

What steps should you take if the application is Pending?

Well! Let’s admit that securing Housing Assistance is hard even when you manage to follow all the necessary steps. However, there are ways to increase your prospects of securing a voucher:

Tips to Get Priority on the Waitlist

It might take years to get a response after being placed on the housing voucher Waiting list as only the applicants with emergency needs are preferred on a priority basis. 

Extremely Low-Income Households

The local HA tends to prioritize households with meager incomes compared to families with relatively low incomes.

Being Homeless

Being homeless is an emergency. That’s why homeless people are prioritized over others (for obvious reasons).

Those Residing in Shelters

If you reside in a shelter, providing safe housing will be a priority for application reviewers.

Have a Disability

If the current housing situation of a disabled person is unsuitable due to the medical condition, then that person will always prioritized over other individuals and even other disabled people.

The Elderly

Older people are considered the vulnerable portion of the population and hence prioritized for housing over the younger lot, especially the elderly over 62.

Be a US Veteran

If you are a US veteran, you will have the upper hand over other applicants as the US Department of Housing and Development funds the program to support the veteran’s transition from military to civilian life.

How to Bypass Waiting Lists

You can bypass waiting lists despite being unable to secure an emergency housing program.

1. Call Housing Authorities

One of the best ways to expedite your application process is to adopt a proactive approach, i.e., contacting the housing authority, inquiring about open waiting lists, gathering information about other agencies accepting new applications, etc.

2. Use a Social Worker

GoodGood work goes a long way when it comes to bypassing waiting lists, so asking a social worker to put in a good word for you after identifying vacancies in Public Housing Authorities buildings helps you secure a roof over your head. Ask legal aid programs, community agencies, or your doctor for referrals. These referrals are primarily free of charge, especially when done via government agencies, community agencies, and legal aid programs.

3. Network within the Community

You can get assistance from communities in case of hunger, homelessness, and domestic violence. So please don’t shy away from networking with people while you are waiting for rental service, as they can provide you with resources that might ease your waiting time. You can consult a social worker, local library, or doctor to access these resources.

Bottom Line

Being on a waiting list for rental assistance is a time-consuming process. However, there are a few ways to highlight your application to increase your chances of accessing the voucher on a priority basis. Being proactive in your search for affordable housing is one way to go. Reach out to the community members, and call the Housing Authorities and people-in-law to get guided on your journey.


How do you track the status of the waiting list?

You can contact your local PHA or HUD office every few months to inquire about your status on the waiting list. You can view your online application via HUD’s Wait List Check functionality. Keep the records of local PHA and HUD correspondence to protect you from clerical errors.

Is there an average waiting time to receive Section 8 housing?

The average waiting time is up to 2 years in case of a long waiting list. So it’s recommended to consider other alternatives for housing, e.g., vouchers, programs, aids, PHAs, etc. while keeping yourself informed with the updated status (check every few months). 

How do I find out the number I am on the waiting list?

Visit the applicant portal on waitlistcheck.com and enter your year of birth and Social Security number to track your waitlist position. Waitlist positions tend to fluctuate over time.

How long could be the waiting list?

Even though the waiting list can take years (up to three years) to process the suitable fits for the applicants, you can increase your chances of moving up the list by having all the necessary paperwork done correctly.

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