Affordable Housing Online is monitoring the federal government's response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. As of March 13, 2020, Public Housing Agencies across the nation are closing their doors to the public. Most offices are still running and will communicate by phone, email, or mail. Some offices have drop boxes installed outside, so documents can still be hand-delivered. Visit the housing authority's website for the latest on its current operations, if one is available. If there is no information online, contact the housing authority directly. Due to a high volume of calls and modified office hours in most areas, expect a long wait time (days or weeks) for a response. To find your local PHA's contact info, browse by state here.
The pages for many communities listed on Affordable Housing Online include a way to directly contact the property for more information. You may call the toll free phone number provided on the page, or submit the online information request form. If these methods of contact are not available on the community’s page, visit the property for more information.
The apartment community will require you to complete an application. Applications are usually available online, by mail, or in the office. The application must be obtained per the housing property’s instructions. The only exception to this rule is if an applicant cannot complete an application on their own, and requires a reasonable accommodation to complete it because of age, disability, or another reason allowed by the housing office. Besides a reasonable accommodation request, if an applicant cannot complete the application on their own, they may have another person complete the application on their behalf.
Applicants will often be required to pay an application fee to each apartment community they apply. While it is against HUD policy to charge for a Section 8 or Public Housing application, that is not the case for LIHTC communities, which are not subject to the same rules.
Online applications may require the applicant to create a free account through an online portal, and/or have a valid email address. If you do not have an email address, you can create one for free through providers such as Google. It is important to keep online account login information in a safe, easy to access place. If the application is online, and an applicant does not have access to the Internet, they can use a friend or family member's computer/device, or one at a local library. Don’t forget that if you are applying online, properties will usually contact you using the email address you used to apply. If you don’t receive the email or don’t have access when they send a correspondence, you may be removed from the waiting list. Always make sure you are using an email address you get mail at regularly and know you will have access to years from now.
LIHTC applications tend to be longer than initial Section 8 and Public Housing waiting list applications. Generally, the application is multiple pages and will ask for household information (including name, gender, date of birth, and Social Security Number, income and assets), previous housing history, employment and income information.
The application per the apartment community’s instructions. The rental property may require the entire application or specific sections to be filled out, or it will be rejected. Some properties will return the application and require you to complete the missing information, but others will simply terminate the application.
Information on how to submit an application is usually provided on the application, or by a representative of the community. Submit the application per the instructions given to you.