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How likely is it to get Section 8 immediately?

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If you’re looking for Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance, you may currently be in a situation where you need help as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, due to a variety of different factors, it is not possible to get Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher immediately. However, there are ways to make shorten your wait for a Section 8 voucher.

Read more below about why there is a wait, and what you can do to:

Why is there a wait?

We are in the middle of a housing crisis in which minimum wage workers in U.S. cannot afford rent. There is a great demand for affordable housing, but the nation does not have the supply of units needed for renters with the lowest incomes.

Recent efforts have been made to provide additional Section 8 vouchers for renters in need, but there is not enough federal funding for every low-income renter in the nation.

As a result, federal housing assistance programs have waiting lists that are several months or years long. In extreme cases, some Section 8 HCV waiting lists stay closed for a decade, or longer. This means that renters in need of Section 8 HCV assistance in some areas have no option but to wait a significant amount of time.

No application process is immediate

There are many Section 8 HCV waiting lists that open every year, and a great number of them have stayed open for a long period of time. Currently, there are hundreds of Section 8 waiting list openings in multiple different states.

In the case that you find an open Section 8 HCV waiting list, you still will not be able to get a voucher immediately.

Like other federal assistance programs, applicants must submit information to about their household. That information will then be processed by the housing office (often called a housing authority) to be verified. Verifying applications can take days or weeks, depending on the housing office’s available resources.

Where can I find the shortest wait?

Typically, rural areas have shorter waiting lists than high populated metropolitan areas. But most of these areas will still have a significant wait time.

Many open waiting lists order applicants by the date and time the application is received. Applying earlier than others will give you a shorter wait time.

Also, some waiting lists have preferences, which means that priority placement is given to applicants who qualify for a specific preference category (such as elderly, disabled, or homeless). Qualifying for preferences will give you a shorter wait time than non-qualifying applicants.

In rare instances, some housing authorities have very small quantities of special vouchers for certain populations like victims of domestic violence, and homeless persons. These special vouchers are awarded without being placed on a waiting list; but these opportunities are extremely rare and not usually available to the general public. These special vouchers may need a referral from a participating organization.

Where can I find an open Section 8 waiting list?

Affordable Housing Online has the most up-to-date information on Section 8 HCV waiting list openings nationwide. Our team at AHO gives the important details to apply, including application location, income limits, and preferences.

Find an open Section 8 waiting list here, and apply today!

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