Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority
880 East 11th Ave
Columbus, Franklin County, OH

614-421-6000 http://www.cmhanet.com/

Section 8 Waiting List Status: Closed

The Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher waiting list is currently closed. There is no notice of when this waiting list will reopen.


The last time the waiting list was opened was in May 2006 when thousands lined up at the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority.  Many residents lined up the night before the waiting list opened.

According to a 2012 news story in The Columbus Dispatch, the waiting list was expected to open in the spring of 2012, but that opening was cancelled due to federal budget cuts. At that time, the housing authority said it expected as many as 25,000 people to apply.

The CMHA reported in its 2012 Annual Plan that as of June 30, 2011, there were 4,200 families on its waiting list.

The turnover in the program is about 75 vouchers per month, meaning that about 900 new applicants are chosen for a voucher each year.  At that pace, not counting annual list purges, the waiting list should be down to around 1,000 applicants.  If that is the case, we would expect the Columbus Section 8 waiting list to open by the end of 2015

About 42% of the households on the waiting list were single person households (1,762).  4.9% were elderly and 17% were disabled.  About 1,100, or 26%, of heads household were male and 3,100, or 74%, were female.  Eighteen percent (18%) of applicants on the waiting list were white and 78% African American while only 1% were Hispanic.

Almost a third of the households on the Columbus Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program waiting list in 2011 earned less than $5,000 per year while a full three quarters had earnings of less than $15,000 per year.


Did you know that you can apply for Section 8 anywhere in the country? If your local Section 8 waiting list is closed, you can apply to programs elsewhere. See all open waiting lists across the country on our Waiting Lists page.

Public Housing Waiting List Statuses

Family Senior Other
OpenOpenNot Applicable

The Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority CMHA) is currently accepting public housing waiting list applications for families and senior/disabled individuals.


The CMHA offers 11 family public housing communities, and two communities dedicated to senior/disabled individuals. For a complete list of each community the CMHA offers, please follow this link.

To apply for public housing, you must visit the CMHA office to fill out an application, located at  880 East 11th Ave., Columbus, OH 43211 during normal office hours.

 Be sure to bring these documents with you: birth certificates, social security cards, photo IDs for all adult household members, present and past landlord information for the past five years, divorce decree if applicable, and doctors statement if applicant is pregnant or disabled.

The CMHA does have a preference point system that may improve your spot on the waiting list: involuntarily displaced, successful completion of a residential program and continued drug and alcohol free status by head of household, substandard housing, veteran, enrolled in an educational or upward mobility program, employed at least 20 hours a week, elderly, full time student in an accredited institution or skills based training program, or homeless.

More information can be found by visiting the CMHA website at http://www.cmhanet.com/, or by calling 614-421-6000 during normal office hours.

Resident Characteristics
as of June 30, 2015

Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority operates 2,203 affordable units across its public housing portfolio.

Bedroom Sizes of Public Housing Units

The bedroom sizes of Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority public housing units range from 1 bedroom apartments to 4 bedroom apartments. The housing authority’s public housing inventory includes: 18% 1 bedroom apartments, 39% 2 bedroom apartments, 33% 3 bedroom apartments and 10% 4 bedroom apartments.

Vacancies in Public Housing Portfolio

As of Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority’s most recent Resident Characteristics Report (June 30, 2015), the 16-month average number of units occupied was 1,321 out of a total 2,203 rental units. This represents a 16-month average vacany rate of 40.04%.

Family Type

Of the 1,088 households who reported head of household data in the housing authority’s most recent RCR report, 91 (8.36%) were elderly, 997 (91.64%) were non-elderly, 231 (21.23%) were disabled, 825 (75.83%) contained children and 757 (69.58%) 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 Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority's public housing developments is $50.

The average tenant rent contribution for Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority’s public housing developments is $237.

The average tenant contribution for elderly residents residing in all properties across the housing authority’s public housing portfolio is $152. The average rent payment for disabled residents is $192. The average TTP for non-elderly, non-disabled renters in the housing authority’s public housing units is $384. Households headed by females had a total tenant payment of $166.

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 Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority portfolio, 88% of households identified as Black, 10% identified as White, and 1% 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 Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority properties, 1,047 were Extremely Low Income, 186 were Very Low Income, 47 were Low Income and 7 were Above Low Income.

The average annual income of public housing residents living in Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority properties is $10,143. Of all public housing residents, 9% have no income and 7% 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 Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority public housing 34% have wage income, 78% have welfare income, 40% have SSI/SS/Pension income, 34% have other income and 1% have no income.

Household Information of Public Housing Residents

As of the last HUD RCR report (June 30, 2015), there were a total of 1,287 households containing 3,573 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 2.8.

Across all units operated by the housing authority, 75.83% of households included children. Across all household members in Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority public houins units 19.8% are aged zero to five and 35.3% are aged 6 to 17.

8.4% of all residents across the housing authority were age 62 or older and are considered seniors while 36.4% 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 Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority public housing communities. 18.57% of all families residing in public housing have lived there for less than 1 year, 9.48% have lived in public housing for 1 to 2 years while 71.95% have lived in public housing for more than 2 years.

Assisted Unit Distribution What is Housing Assistance?

The Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority administers both a public housing and Section 8 housing voucher program. The housing authority owns and manages 48 projects which contain 2,205 affordable rental units. It also administers 12,996 Section 8 housing vouchers.

According to HUD, Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority is determined to be a Large public housing authority, meaning it manages between 1,250 - 9,999 public housing units. Also according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the housing authority is designated as Extra Large, meaning it administers 10,000+ Section 8 vouchers.

Comparing the housing assistance distribution of Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority between Public Housing Units (15%) and Section 8 Housing Vouchers (85%) to that of all housing authorities in Ohio, Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority has a smaller 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 Ohio.

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, Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority scored an average of 89 points as of the last set of publicly available data. The housing authority had a high score of 97 in 2009 and a low score of 79 in 2006. The average SEMAP Score for Housing Authorities in Ohio is 82.91.

Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority has an average score that is more than the average Ohio 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.

Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority manages 20 rental properties which, as of the last set of publicly available data, have an average inspection score of 77. The scores for properties managed by Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority range from a high of 99 to a low of 49.

The highest scoring property in the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority portfolio is Waggoner Senior Housing and the lowest scoring property is Poindexter.

To be a passing score a public housing property must have a score of 60 or more. 85% of properties managed by Columbus Metropolitan 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 Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority.

Year Date Approved Plan PDF Document
2012 2/1/12 Plan
2011 3/15/11 Plan
2010 12/29/09 Plan
2009 2/4/09 Plan
2008 1/29/08 Plan
2007 3/16/07 Plan
2006 12/17/05 Plan
2005 1/12/05 Plan
2004 1/16/04 Plan
2003 4/15/03 Plan
2001 8/7/01 Plan
2000 10/11/00 Plan