About Cambridge Housing Authority

The Cambridge Housing Authority is a Section 8 and Public Housing public housing agency in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The Cambridge Housing Authority serves Cambridge.

Cambridge Housing Authority Waiting Lists

Cambridge, Massachusetts Section 8 HCV Waiting List : Open Indefinitely

The Cambridge Housing Authority (CHA) Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher and Project-Based Voucher waiting lists are currently open. These waiting lists opened on October 3, 2016 at 10:00 am ET, and are open indefinitely.

Cambridge, MA is about 3 miles west of Boston, MA.

Please note: This waiting list has preferences. This means that applicants who qualify for these preferences will receive assistance before applicants who do not. Because of these preferences, applicants who do not qualify may have a longer wait to receive assistance.

To apply, complete the online pre-application here.

If an applicant does not have access to the Internet, they can use a friend or family member's computer/device, one at a local library, or one listed at the bottom of the page here.

Applicants who require reasonable accommodation to complete the pre-application can contact the CHA at (617) 520-6406.

The following documentation is required of all members of the household: Social Security Number, name, date of birth, income.


This waiting list has the following preferences: Cambridge resident, Cambridge shelter or transitional facility, employed in Cambridge, veteran. Further explanation of each preference can be found here.

Applicants who apply by October 31, 2016 will be placed on the waiting list by random lottery, after sorting preferences.

Applicants who apply after October 31, 2016 will be placed on the waiting list by date and time the pre-application is received, after sorting preferences.

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 In the case that the office sends a notice that does not get returned, or if application information is out of date, your name may be terminated from the waiting list.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, read the CHA public notice, visit the CHA website, or call the office at (617) 864-3020.

Last Updated on 11/02/2016.

Public Housing Waiting List: Closed

The Cambridge Housing Authority is not accepting public housing waiting list applications at this time.

According to this news report in December 2014, the CHA expects an increase in funding and anticipates new construction and rehabilitation throughout the next five years. 

As reported by this article in July 2015, the CHA began its waiting list purge process "for the first time in years" on April 23, 2015. The result was more than 2,000 names being removed from the waiting list due to no response from the purging notice. As of July 2015, there are still more than 7,300 households currently on the waiting list after the purge. 

However, the CHA stated that persons who were taken off the waiting list after the purge can contact the office within the next six months to be placed back onto the list.

While the CHA is in the middle of a major Public Housing renovation and construction project, in which many Public Housing units are unlivable, it has made 250 Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers available to households waiting on the Public Housing waiting list. As of July 9, 2015, there are still 56 Section 8 vouchers available for those on the Public Housing waiting list.

Last Updated on 07/10/2015.


About the Cambridge Housing Authority Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program

As of March 31st, 2016 the Cambridge Housing Authority manages 5,743 active Housing Choice Vouchers.

The following is a summary of the types of vouchers managed and the monthly costs of each:

Standard Tenant Protection Moving To Work VASH Non-Elderly Disabled
Vouchers 32 1,525 2,591 127 82
Monthly Cost Per Voucher $994 $1,018 $1,096 $958 $1,001
Monthly Cost $31,807 $1,551,816 $2,839,326 $121,657 $82,113

Household Characteristics of Voucher Holders for Cambridge Housing Authority

Waiting List and Tenancy

According to the 2016 Q4 Picture of Subsidized Households database, the housing authority's voucher program has an annual turnover of 17% having issued approximately 307 vouchers in the past year. The average voucher holder has received housing benefits for 6 years and 5 months. According to the 2016 PSH database, persons who were issued a voucher in the preceding 12 months waited an average of 18 months on the waiting list1.

Income Characteristics

According to 2016 Q4 Picture of Subsidized Households data, the average voucher household contains 1.9 persons and has a household income of $19,869 per year. 91% of households were very low income (VLI) and 71% were extremely low income (ELI). 36% of households had wages as a major source of income, 3% of households had welfare (TANF, General Assistance or Public Assistance) as their primary source of income, and 59% of households had other income (Social Security, Disability or Pension) as their major source of income.

Heads of Household Characteristics

1% of households were headed by a person 24 years old or less, 32% were headed by a person 25 to 49 years old, 24% were headed by a person 51 to 60 years old, and 43% were headed by a person 62 years old or older. In addition, 5% of households were headed by a person 85 years old or older.

27% of households included children, 6% of which had two adults in the household. 21% of households with children have a female head of household. 66% of all households were headed by a female.

62% of all voucher households were headed by minorities with 40% of all heads of households being Black and 4% being Hispanic.

Of all households participating in the Cambridge Housing Authority Housing Choice Voucher program, 25% include at least one person with a disability. 37% of households with a head of household 61 years or less were headed by a person with a disability. 45% of households headed by someone 62 or older were headed by a person with a disability.

Bedroom Size and Overhousing

53% of voucher holders reside in a home with zero or 1 bedroom, 30% with 2 bedrooms and 17% with 3 or more bedrooms. 8% of voucher recipients are considered overhoused, meaning they occupy a rental unit larger than their family size requires.

Rent, Assistance, and Utility Allowances

The average monthly tenant contribution to rent by Cambridge Housing Authority voucher holders in 2016 was $458 and the average monthly HUD expenditure per voucher holder was $1,013. The average utility allowance across all voucher recipients is $116.



1. This Picture of Subsidized Households data field is the average wait time of those who received a voucher in the preceding 12 months. Due to special voucher programs like VASH, recent waiting list purges, or waiting list preferences the average wait time can vary significantly from one year to the next and it is entirely possible many current applicants on the waiting list have been waiting for assistance for far longer.


Public Housing Operated by Cambridge Housing Authority

55 Essex St
John F. Kennedy Apartments is a 69 unit low income housing apartment community in Cambridge.
Apartments in this community are not rent subsidized. However, this apartment community has rents considered affordable for low income families in Cambridge.
Low Income Housing Tax Credit HOME
100 Harvard St
Washington Elms is a 271 unit low income housing apartment community in Cambridge.
11 Corcoran Ln
Corcoran Park is a 156 unit low income housing apartment community in Cambridge.
131 Washington St
Newtowne Court is a 294 unit low income housing apartment community in Cambridge.
50 Churchill Ave
Daniel F Burns Apartments is a 211 unit low income housing apartment community in Cambridge.

Affordable Apartments near Cambridge Housing Authority

364 Rindge Avenue
Fresh Pond Apartments is a 504 unit low income housing apartment community that provides 1-3 bedroom apartments for rent in Cambridge.
Some or all apartments in this community are rent subsidized, which means rent is income based.
Project-Based Section 8 Project Based Rental Assistance
810 Memorial Drive Suite 102
Cambridge Community Housing is a low income housing apartment community that provides St.-4 bedroom apartments for rent in Cambridge.
2 Mt Auburn Street
Putnam Square Apartments is a low income housing apartment community that provides 1-3 bedroom apartments for rent in Cambridge.