How to Apply for a Mainstream Voucher

Photo of a woman in a wheelchair using her computer at her kitchen table.

Applications for a Mainstream Voucher must be submitted to a housing authority that manages the program for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

These vouchers are only available at housing authorities that participate in the Mainstream Voucher program. Mainstream Vouchers are not available at every housing authority.

To apply for a Mainstream Voucher, start by finding a waiting list that is open for applications:

  1. Find an open waiting list.

    Just like Section 8 Vouchers, the program’s waiting list must be open for applications. Housing authorities regularly open and close waiting lists in their area throughout the year.

    When a waiting list opens, housing authorities release a public notice to announce the application period. A public notice may be published locally (such as in a newspaper), or published online (either on a website or social media).

    Affordable Housing Online keeps track of Section 8 waiting list openings throughout the nation. Select a “Mainstream Section 8 HCV Waiting List” for more information about applying.

    After finding an open waiting list, it’s important to apply as soon as possible. Waiting lists are not guaranteed to stay open.

  2. Complete the application.

    Mainstream Voucher applications are most commonly available online, by mail, or at an in-person location; but other means such as by email and phone may be used.

    No matter which method is used, the contents of a Mainstream Voucher application are generally the same as what’s in a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher application.

    Read how to complete a Section 8 application.

  3. Find an apartment.

    After getting approved for a Mainstream Voucher, it’s important to start searching for a new home as soon as possible.

    Renters with a Mainstream Voucher follow the same search process as those with a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher.

    Read how to find a Section 8 apartment.

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