Lawrence Housing Authority
353 Elm Street
Lawrence, Essex County, MA

978-685-3811 http://www.cityoflawrence.com/housing-authority.aspx

Section 8 HCV Waiting List Status: Open Indefinitely

The Massachusetts Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Centralized Waiting List (MS8HCVCWL) manages a single waiting list for 93 housing authorities in Massachusetts. This waiting list is currently open. The waiting list opened in January 2003, and is open indefinitely.


There are four ways to apply
  1. Fill out the online application online here
  2. Download and print the online application. There are applications available in seven different languages: EnglishChineseHaitian CreolePortugueseRussianSpanishVietnamese.
  3. Contact your respective housing authority to have an application mailed to you. Click this link to find your local housing authority's contact information.
  4. Applicants with disabilities who require reasonable accommodation can call any housing authority. Contact information for each housing authority has been provided above.
Please click this link to read the MS8HCVCWL preferences.

Once the application has been completed, mail or deliver it in person to your local housing authority.

Please note: Once the application has been submitted, it will be included on the centralized waiting list, and will be under consideration for every participating housing authority. Because of this, there is no need to apply to multiple participating housing authorities, and only one application will be accepted. 

For more information, please call the MS8HCVCWL at 1-877-868-0400.

Public Housing Waiting List Statuses

Family Senior Other
ClosedOpenNot Applicable

The Lawrence Housing Authority (LHA) is currently accepting public housing waiting list applications for senior/disabled individuals.


Please note: The family public housing waiting list is currently closed.

The LHA offers four public housing communities with 1,049 for families and senior/disabled individuals.

To apply for public housing, visit the LHA to pick up an application, located at 353 Elm St., Lawrence, MA between normal office hours Monday-Friday.

Once the application has been completed, it must be hand delivered to the address listed above on Wednesdays only.

Be sure to include these documents with your application: birth certificates, social security cards, proof of all income, and photo IDs for all adult household members.

No preferences were noted.

For more information the LHA can be reached by calling 978-683-2751 during normal office hours.

Resident Characteristics
as of June 30, 2015

Lawrence Housing Authority operates 1,056 affordable units across its public housing portfolio.

Bedroom Sizes of Public Housing Units

The bedroom sizes of Lawrence Housing Authority public housing units range from studio apartments to 4 bedroom apartments. The housing authority’s public housing inventory includes: 8% studio apartments, 48% 1 bedroom apartments, 29% 2 bedroom apartments, 13% 3 bedroom apartments and 3% 4 bedroom apartments.

Vacancies in Public Housing Portfolio

As of Lawrence Housing Authority’s most recent Resident Characteristics Report (June 30, 2015), the 16-month average number of units occupied was 1,045 out of a total 1,056 rental units. This represents a 16-month average vacany rate of 1.04%.

Family Type

Of the 751 households who reported head of household data in the housing authority’s most recent RCR report, 182 (24.23%) were elderly, 569 (75.77%) were non-elderly, 479 (63.78%) were disabled, 234 (31.16%) contained children and 218 (29.03%) were headed by a female.

Tenant Contributions to Rent

Residents of public housing pay rent based on their income. The rent contribution of the tenant is called the Total Tenant Payment (TTP). The TTP is generally 30% of a residents income with a $25 (National minimum) to $50 (some PHA’s) minimum rent. Based on the information in the most recent Resident Characteristics Report (June 30, 2015) the minimum rent in Lawrence Housing Authority's public housing developments is $50.

The average tenant rent contribution for Lawrence Housing Authority’s public housing developments is $326.

The average tenant contribution for elderly residents residing in all properties across the housing authority’s public housing portfolio is $246. The average rent payment for disabled residents is $229. The average TTP for non-elderly, non-disabled renters in the housing authority’s public housing units is $459. Households headed by females had a total tenant payment of $149.

Race and Ethnicity

The HUD Resident Characteristics Report provides updated Head of Household race and ethnicity data at the housing authority and property level. Across all properties in the Lawrence Housing Authority portfolio, 2% of households identified as Black, 95% identified as White, and 91% identified as Hispanic or Latino.

Income of Public Housing Residents

HUD divides household income into four categories: Extremely Low Income (ELI) for households earning less than 30% of the median, Very Low Income (VLI) for households earning between 30% and 50% of the median, Low Income (LI) for households earning between 50% and 80% of the median and Above Low Income for households earning 81% of the median and over.

Of the public housing residents residing in Lawrence Housing Authority properties, 850 were Extremely Low Income, 149 were Very Low Income, 30 were Low Income and 16 were Above Low Income.

The average annual income of public housing residents living in Lawrence Housing Authority properties is $16,016. Of all public housing residents, 1% have no income and 15% earn more than $25,000 while 84% have incomes that fall between $0 and $25,000.

The HUD RCR data includes source of income information as well. The data includes five categories of family income: wage income, welfare income, SSI/SS/Pension income, other income and no income. Some families receive income in multiple categories.

Among families residing in Lawrence Housing Authority public housing 29% have wage income, 6% have welfare income, 75% have SSI/SS/Pension income, 76% have other income and 0% have no income.

Household Information of Public Housing Residents

As of the last HUD RCR report (June 30, 2015), there were a total of 1,045 households containing 1,866 total persons residing in the housing authority’s public housing properties. The average household size across all properties in the housing authority’s public housing portfolio was 1.8.

Across all units operated by the housing authority, 31.16% of households included children. Across all household members in Lawrence Housing Authority public houins units 4.7% are aged zero to five and 17.6% are aged 6 to 17.

30.4% of all residents across the housing authority were age 62 or older and are considered seniors while 47.4% of all residents were aged 18 to 61.

Length of Stay at Public Housing Properties

The HUD RCR report includes length of stay data for Lawrence Housing Authority public housing communities. 7.75% of all families residing in public housing have lived there for less than 1 year, 4.98% have lived in public housing for 1 to 2 years while 87.27% have lived in public housing for more than 2 years.

Assisted Unit Distribution What is Housing Assistance?

The Lawrence Housing Authority administers both a public housing and Section 8 housing voucher program. The housing authority owns and manages 4 projects which contain 1,049 affordable rental units. It also administers 1,023 Section 8 housing vouchers.

According to HUD, Lawrence Housing Authority is determined to be a Medium High public housing authority, meaning it manages between 500 - 1,249 public housing units. Also according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the housing authority is designated as Medium High, meaning it administers 500 - 1,249 Section 8 vouchers.

Comparing the housing assistance distribution of Lawrence Housing Authority between Public Housing Units (51%) and Section 8 Housing Vouchers (49%) to that of all housing authorities in Massachusetts, Lawrence Housing Authority has a larger proportion of public housing units than the average housing authority. The housing authority’s proportion of Section 8 vouchers under management is larger than the average housing authority in Massachusetts.

Source United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (hud.gov, 2014)

SEMAP Performance What are SEMAP Scores?

Each year HUD reviews and scores the housing authority’s Section 8 program management based on 14 different criteria. This score is a reflection of how well the housing authority manages the Section 8 waiting list, the physical quality of housing assisted with Section 8 and the financial management of the program.

From 2001 to 2009, Lawrence Housing Authority scored an average of 99 points as of the last set of publicly available data. The housing authority had a high score of 104 in 2004 and a low score of 88 in 2002. The average SEMAP Score for Housing Authorities in Massachusetts is 76.35.

Lawrence Housing Authority has an average score that is more than the average Massachusetts housing authority. Higher SEMAP scores indicate more effective financial management, a smoother waiting list process and higher quality physical conditions at assisted properties.

Source President's Open Government Directive (hud.gov/offices/pih/, 2012)

Latest Public Housing Inspection Scores What are REAC Scores?

Every public housing project is inspected every one to three years by HUD.

Lawrence Housing Authority manages 4 rental properties which, as of the last set of publicly available data, have an average inspection score of 92. The scores for properties managed by Lawrence Housing Authority range from a high of 98 to a low of 76.

The highest scoring property in the Lawrence Housing Authority portfolio is Elm Street and the lowest scoring property is Merrimack Courts.

To be a passing score a public housing property must have a score of 60 or more. 100% of properties managed by Lawrence Housing Authority have a passing score.

Source United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (data.gov, 2014)

Housing Authority Annual and 5 Year Plans

Public housing agencies, also called public housing authorities, which receive funding from HUD, are required to submit and receive approval from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development of both an Annual Plan and a 5 Year Plan. These plans establish each housing authority’s policies, strategies, programs and operations for meeting the housing needs of persons within their target area.

The housing authority plans include specific details about the cost of renovations to real estate (also known as capital improvements), changes to Section 8 HCV policies, planned redevelopment of public housing projects and other major administrative changes.

Following are the HUD-approved public housing agency plans for Lawrence Housing Authority.

Year Date Approved Plan PDF Document
2012 3/6/12 Plan
2011 4/5/11 Plan
2010 3/26/10 Plan
2009 3/3/09 Plan
2008 2/29/08 Plan
2007 2/13/07 Plan
2006 3/9/06 Plan
2005 3/11/05 Plan
2004 2/27/04 Plan
2003 2/13/03 Plan
2002 3/8/02 Plan
2001 3/29/01 Plan
2000 6/2/00 Plan