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.

An extensive list of coronavirus resources for low-income households can be found here.

What Happens After Applying to a Project-Based Section 8 Apartment?

  1. Wait for the property to process applications.
  2. Confirm your waiting list status (If Applicable).
  3. Estimate your wait time (If Applicable).
  4. Stay in contact with the property (If Applicable).
  5. Move into offered unit.

Step 1: Wait for the property to process applications.

Since most Project-Based Section 8 properties have waiting lists, once your application has been submitted, you will be placed on a waiting list. Your full application will not be processed until your name has moved to the top of the waiting list. This could take many weeks or even years depending on the length of the waiting list.

Step 2: Confirm your waiting list status (If Applicable).

If there the a waiting list (which most Project-Based Section 8 properties have), the property will usually confirm your status by mail or phone. You should call on a regular basis (monthly) to see where you are on the waiting list.

If placed on the waiting list, keep a record of the rental community you applied to, along with any other relevant information (including login credentials, a confirmation number, or your position on the waiting list). Without this documentation, it is easy to lose track of properties you have applied through.

Step 3: Estimate your wait time (If Applicable).

Once you are on a waiting list, your wait time varies greatly depending on the property you applied to. Because of the high demand for affordable housing and rental subsidies, waiting lists for these properties have been known to be from many months to years long. You should inquire to each property separately about the length of their waiting lists. Since different properties may have different waiting list lengths, you should apply to as many properties as possible.

Contact the community you applied through to find out if a representative can estimate the current length of the waiting list. If the office cannot make an estimate, a representative may be able to confirm the date they are currently pulling applications from. For example, if you applied in January 2016, and the office is pulling applicants who applied in January 2013, you likely still have a long wait for assistance.

Step 4: Stay in contact with the property (If Applicable).

Find out how to periodically check your waiting list status with an office. Usually, this will either be done online, by phone, or at the office.

If any of your application information changes (such as contact information, income, and household members), contact the property manager immediately. In the case that the office sends a notice that does not get returned, or if application information is out of date, your application may be terminated from the waiting list. Contact the office you applied through to find out how to officially update application information.

Reply immediately to notices sent to you that require a response. Housing offices periodically send notices to all persons on the waiting list, asking if they would like to remain on the waiting list. Applicants who do not respond within the given time frame will be terminated from the waiting list. This is known as purging, and is done to process applicants as efficiently as possible. Follow the specific instructions on the notice, or your application may be terminated.

Step 5: Move into offered unit.

After being approved for the Project-Based Section 8 program, you will be able to move into the unit the housing authority has approved for you. You will not be able to move from this unit and keep the rental assistance.

Tenants of Project-Based Section 8 properties must be income certified each year. If your income goes up, your Total Tenant Payment (TTP) may increase and if your income exceeds the income limits for the program, you may have to move.