How do I find shorter waiting lists?

Answer

Generally, large metropolitan areas have long waiting lists, while lower populated areas have shorter waiting lists.

If you don't mind moving, applying for housing assistance in a rural area will usually reduce the amount of time you'll wait for assistance.

The wait time can vary depending on the housing program you apply to as well. An affordable apartment community's waiting list is usually shorter than a Section 8 or Public Housing waiting list (if the property has one at all). However, the waiting list may still be many months to years long, and applicants must go through an approval process.

Also, qualifying for preferences can decrease your wait time. Housing offices often set preferences, such as disabled, elderly or employed applicants, and those who qualify are placed higher on the waiting list than general applicants.

Another strategy to shorten your wait time is to target openings that place applicants on the waiting list by date and time the application is received. If you are among the first to apply, you would have a very high spot on the waiting list. Although, this would require you to be among the first in line, or being fortunate enough to be the first to get through over the phone or online.

More Waiting Lists FAQs from Low Income Households

  • What has to be included in my household income?
  • Since Section 8 vouchers are so difficult to get, is there a place to find other housing programs that set rent based on your income?
  • The housing office I applied through told me I didn't qualify to receive assistance, and I don't know why. What could have made me ineligible?
  • Who qualifies for affordable housing assistance?
  • Can I apply to multiple waiting lists?