Boston a city in Suffolk County, Massachusetts

This city is served by the Boston Housing Authority

Boston Housing Authority
Section 8 Waiting List Status: Closed

Affordable Housing Online is tracking the status of the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Waiting List. This is what we know as of our most recent update on April 15th, 2016

The Boston Housing Authority (BHA) Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher waiting list is currently closed. It is not known when the waiting list was last open, or when it will reopen. 

According to its Annual Plan, the BHA will make a public notice two weeks before it reopens this waiting list.

For more information, visit the BHA website, or call the office at (617) 988-3400 during normal office hours.

Boston Housing Authority
Public Housing Waiting List Statuses

Family Senior Other

The Boston Housing Authority (BHA) is currently accepting Public Housing waiting list applications for families and senior/disabled households.

To apply, attend an informational briefing session at the John F. Murphy Housing Service Center, located at 56 Chauncy St., Boston, MA 02111. A schedule of briefing sessions can be found here.

The following documentation is required at the briefing session: Birth dates, Social Security Numbers, income, photo ID.

If you are unable to attend a session because of a disability, an application can be mailed to you by calling (617) 988-3400, during normal office hours. Be sure to include documented proof from you doctor, explaining why you weren't able to apply in person.

No preferences were noted.

Important note: Applicants who have been placed on the waiting list must inform the housing authority immediately if your application information changes (such as contact information, income, and household members). In the case that the office sends a notice that does not get returned, or if application information is out of date, your name may be terminated from the waiting list. Contact the housing authority to find out how to update application information.

For more information, visit the BHA website, or call the office at (617) 988-3400 during normal office hours.

Market Overview

Boston is a city in Suffolk County, Massachusetts. The population of Boston, according to the 2010 Census, is 617,594. The total number of households in the city is 252,699. The average household size for Boston is 2.01. The total number of renter households in the city is 166,908 which means that 66.1% of households are renter households.

Boston’s Federally assisted affordable rental housing stock includes properties financed through the following programs:

Section 8 71 7,449
LIHTC 107 9,477
Section 202 13 682
Section 811 4 56
Public Housing 3 242
Total 165 18,274
Note: The total does not necessarily equal the sum of each program as some properties may participate in multiple funding programs.

The average number of units per property for affordable rentals in Boston is 110.80. The largest Federally assisted affordable rental community in the city is Corcoran Jannison Co. at 1000 units and the smallest is Boston Community Services at 2 unit(s). 18 apartment properties provide housing for seniors containing 1,244 units. Of the 18,274 units, 8,248 units include some form of rental assistance (like Section 8) to make rent more affordable for very low income families.

Federally Assisted Units By Property

Name Total Units
Langham Court 84
Parmelee Court Homes 74
New Communities Services Inc. 6
Westland Avenue Apartments 96
Pine St. Inn 31
Burbank Redevelopment L.p. 35
Westminister Community L.p. Urban Edge 51
Mandela Homes L.p. 276
South End Housing L.p. 75
Oak Terrace L.p. 88
Keen Development Corp. Lowell Sq. L.p. 82
On Luck Hsg/greater South Cove Golden Age Ctr. 35
Boston Community Services Inc. 2
South End Apartments
Chauncy House Apartments
Concord Houses 181
Symphony West 216
Oliver Lofts 38
Mason Place 127
Roxse Homes Apartments 346
St Botolph Street Apartments 135
S. Boston Commercial Housing Development 36
South End Tenants Houses I 100
St Cecilia's House 123
Ebenezer Homes 32
Rollins Square 37
South End Cooperative Hsg 73
Wardman Apartments 88
South End Tenants Houses II 185
Erie-ellington 50
25 Ruggles Assisted Living 43
Victoria Apartments 190
Robert L Fortes House 44
Bcn Properties 53
Mass Ave 549-551
Urban Edge 65
Burbank Apartments 173
Hano Homes 20
Bowdoin School 35
Orchard Park Off-site Phase I 76
Chauncy House 87
Wait Street 100
Northampton St 216 5
Veterans Benefits Clrhs 30
Restoration Housing/rhc 81
Anderson Park 64
The Stearns 140
Methunion Manor 149
Mass Pike Towers 200
South End Apartments 27
Dwight Street 43-45 9
Robert McBride House 16
Norway Apartments 136
Dudley Street Sro 68
Cottage Brook 147
Washington Columbia Ii/granite 2b 175
Warren Apartments Corp. 30
Mhpi Community Apartments 6
Corcoran Jannison Co. 1000
Hemenway Apartments 183
Northampton St 220-224 12
128-130 Park Street 16
Fenway Cdc 55
Casa Borinquen 36
Nuestra Comunidad Development Corp. 30
Dartmouth St 10 5
Mission Main - Phase II 139
Tai Tung Village 214
Yee Realty 12
South Cove Apartments 231
Symphony Plaza East 188
Mt Pleasants Apartments 98
Uphams Corner Market 45
Chinagate Apartments 15
Zelma Lacey House 66
Dormouth Tcb Lp C/o Com 83
Michelangelo School 71
Bradley Properties 71
Quincy-geneva Housing Corp. 56
West Fenway Apartments 48
Mission Park 775
Casa Maria 85
10 Hammond St. 74
Uphams Corner 36
Woodbourne Apartments 75
Mattapan Heights II 83
Joy St Residence/fanueil Hiv 21
The Committee to End Elder Homelessness 41
Castle Square 500
Orchard Park On-site Phase Iiib 22
Viviendas Lavictoria II 190
Maverick Gardens I 150
Susan S. Bailis Assisted Living Community 82
Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Associates 40
Worcester Square 23
Woodledge 130
Dorchester Bay Cdc 134
Quincy-geneva Housing Dc 95
Trinity Financial 54
Camfield Gardens 102
Adams Templeton 76
Boston Aging Concerns 48
Roxbury Tenants 20
West End Place/lowell Square 82
St Botolph Terrace 52
East Springfield St 38 5
Mission Main-phase I 310
Wilder Gardens 61
Morville House 175
Ywca Boston 184
Tremont Houses 109 23
Port Antonio Associates New Port Antoni 227
Arcadia Management 67
The Metropolitan 81
The Foley 83
Hartwell Terrace 17
Concord Street Elderly 40
Mei Wah Village 41
Washington Columbia Apartments/codman Square/granite No.2 151
John Boyle O'reilly School Apartments 32
Seton Manor 19
Alexander-magnolia Lp 38
St Helena House 74
Greenwich Park 23 5
Peterborough Housing 220
Northampton St 210-212 9
Dudley Terrace 56
Urban Edge Housing Corp. Northwest Clea 36
Simsbury Associates 50
Academy Homes 202
Quincy Tower 162
3-4 Holborn Terrace 8
Boston Rehab 144
West Concord Apartments 69
New Georgetowne Homes 967
Providence House 102
Tab I 71
St Germain Associates 8
Mhpi VIII 15
71 Westland Ave. 20
Mr. Lee's Lodge 18
Bay Cove Group Homes III 12
Inter Faith Apartments 69
Kenmore Abbey 199
Rutland Housing 45
Franklin Park 220
Codman Square Hdc 31
Viviendas Associates 185
Franklin Square House 193
Amy Lowell 152
Batavia Cooperative 97
Chapman House 30
East Canton Street Apartments 80
Frawley/delle Apartments 74
Midway Studios 89
† This Property is Federally Assisted though Unit Counts are not available from HUD.

Rental Assistance for Tenants in Boston

Rental assistance is a type of housing subsidy that pays for a portion of a renter’s monthly housing costs, including rent and tenant paid utilities. This housing assistance can come in the form of Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, project-based Section 8 contracts, public housing, USDA Rental Assistance (in Section 515 properties) as well as HUD Section 202 and 811 properties.

In Boston, there are 81 affordable housing properties providing rental assistance to 8,248 very low income households. In addition, Boston Housing Authority provides 14,214 Section 8 rental vouchers in Boston.

To qualify for most rental assistance programs a renter must earn no more than 50% of the Area Median Income (AMI). In some cases, rental assistance is reserved for renters earning 30% or less of the AMI. In Boston, to qualify for Section 8 assistance, a renter household containing four persons must earn $49,050 or less. For some targeted rental assistance programs, a renter household of four can’t earn more than $29,450.

It’s important to remember that in many rental assistance programs there are minimum rent regulations requiring assistance recipients to make a minimum payment of between $25 and $50 per month no matter how low their income.

HUD Assistance Income Limits


Income Limits

All affordable housing programs provided by or through the government have maximum income limits to qualify for assistance. These income limits are typically derived from the Area Median Income (AMI), the theoretical family income of the average household in a given geography.

The AMI is updated each year for each geographical area taking into consideration numerous economic indicators. The geographical areas used for establishing the AMI are either Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA’s) or counties.

Boston is in the Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH MSA. The 2016 Area Median Income for a family of four in Boston is $98,100.

The income limits used for Section 8, public housing, Low Income Housing Tax Credits. the HOME program and other Federal programs all are derived from the HUD defined AMI.

Low Income Housing Tax Credit Income Limits


Fair Market Rents (FMR)

HUD establishes a Fair Market Rent each year for each Metropolitan Statistical Area in the country. This rent standard is used to establish Payment Standards for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, maximum rents in HOME financed rental projects and initial rents for Section 8 project based assistance. HUD establishes FMR’s for 530 MSA’s and 2,045 counties nationwide each fiscal year.

The FMR is largely a statistical derivative of the US Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) 5 year estimates for 2 bedroom median rent.

Calculating the maximum allowable rents under various subsidy programs is complex and each program has slightly different rules. In the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher and Project Based Assistance programs, maximum rents a landlord may charge include any tenant paid utility costs.

This utility allowance includes all necessary utilities like water/sewer, trash, heat, electricity or gas. Cable television, telephone, Internet and other non-essential utilities are excluded from this allowance.

In Project Based Section 8 properties, the owner sets the utility allowance after conducting a utility cost analysis. The amount of the allowance is reviewed and approved by HUD. The utility allowance is different for each size dwelling unit.

In the Housing Choice Voucher program, utility allowances are set by the Public Housing Authority (PHA) that administers the program. The PHA sets the allowance based on reasonable utility costs for similar types and sizes of housing units to the unit the voucher holder is renting.

In Section 8 Project Based apartment communities, the maximum rent a tenant may pay is set by the landlord and approved by HUD each year. Initially, the rent charged by the apartment property is limited to the FMR for the area. In some instances, HUD may approve an initial rent of up to 120% of the FMR for the area. Owners may request and HUD may approve annual contract rent increases based on an Annual Adjustment Factor (AAF) determined by local housing and utility costs changes Though contract rents are seldom exactly the same amount as the Fair Market Rent for the area and each Project Based apartment property will have its own contract rent, the FMR can be used as an approximate guide of what maximum contract rents might be.

The amount a Section 8 Project Based tenant will pay is 30% of their adjusted income.

In the Housing Choice Voucher program, the maximum amount the housing authority will pay a landlord is established each year for similar types and sizes of units and is called a Payment Standard. Each housing authority sets its own Payment Standard and usually sets the amount at between 90% and 110% of the Fair Market Rent for the area.

The amount a voucher holder pays for rent, often referred to as a Tenant Contribution, is equal to 30% of their income. If the rental the tenant selects has rent higher than the housing authority Payment Standard, a tenant may pay up to 40% of their income to make up the difference. At least initially, the tenant would not be allowed to pay more than 40% of their income and would have to find a different rental that has a qualifying rent amount.

In Boston, under the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, the Boston Housing Authority might pay a landlord with a two bedroom apartment to rent about $1,691 minus the utility allowance. Likewise, a renter in Boston with a Section 8 voucher looking to rent a 3 bedroom apartment must find a rental that rents for about $2,116 per month (including the utility allowance). Any amount more than that, the voucher holder could pay the difference as long as they aren’t paying more than 40% of their income. (Note: These rent amounts are approximate since the housing authority’s Payment Standard is likely to be slightly different than HUD’s published FMR. These FMR’s should only be used as a guide. Check with the Boston Housing Authority for their actual HCV Payment Standard.)

2017 Fair Market Rents

$1,194 $1,372 $1,691 $2,116 $2,331

Fair Market Rent Percentage Change Since 1988

The affordable housing industry has long used the FMR as barometer for local rents. Though the geographic areas FMR’s are based on are broad and there are often wide variations in neighborhood rents throughout an MSA, in general, the FMR is one of the best quick tools one can use to judge housing costs in a place.

We took a look at historic FMR’s in Boston and found that they have risen an average of 2.74% year over year. The first year in our sample is 1985 when the two bedroom FMR was $533. That same 2 bedroom apartment rent had increased to $1444 by 2013. In 2002 the two bedroom FMR in Boston saw it’s largest single year increase going up by 27.68%.

It’s also interesting to look at the FMR compared to the Consumer Price Index’s housing index to understand how Boston rents have fluctuated in comparison to the rest of the Nation. The consumer price index grew an average of -0.89% year over year. The two bedroom FMR in Boston has grown faster than the CPI indicating faster than average rent growth in the market.

The largest single year of 2 bedroom FMR growth was in 2002 at 27.68% while the smallest year of growth was 2005 with a 10.78% decrease.




Average Household Size


Total Renters


Renter Households


Total Households

High Renter
(99th percentile)

Renters or Owners


% of Renter Households


Median Rent


Median Family Income


Renters Overburdened


Households in 60-80% AMI Range


Federally Assisted Units


Federally Assisted Projects


Tax Credit Projects/Units


Section 8 Projects/Units


Section 202 Projects/Units


Section 811 Projects/Units


Senior Projects/Units


Units with Project Based Rent Subsidy


Average Units Per Property


Gross Rent Paid By All Renters


Renters with No Vehicle


Renters Below Poverty Level


Renters Who Taxi, Bike, or Walk to Work


Renters Who Use Public Transit to Work


Renters With Children


Vacant Units For Rent


Vacancy Rate


Units With Utilities Included In Rent

Boston Housing Authority

Housing Authority