How long are affordable housing waiting lists?

Because of the high demand of affordable housing, and comparatively low supply, it is not rare to be on a waiting list for several years.

Generally, large metropolitan areas have long waiting lists, while lower populated areas have shorter waiting lists. However, an apartment community's waiting list is usually shorter than a Section 8 or Public Housing waiting list. There may also be an instance in which there is no waiting list, but those opportunities are rare, and applicants must still go through an approval process.

Contact the housing authority or apartment community you applied through to find out its policy on how to find out your status on its waiting list. The method of how to find out your status varies by each office. Please keep in mind that some offices are not able to provide your specific position on the waiting list, but can confirm if you are currently on the waiting list.

If the office cannot state your specific position on the waiting list, the 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.

If you applied through a housing authority, and the office cannot provide information on your current wait time, ask how you can access its Annual Plan. This document, which is updated yearly, may have information about the current number of households on the waiting list, and the office's annual turnover rate. You can use simple math to estimate the length of the waiting list based on these numbers. For example, if there are 1,000 households on the waiting list, and the annual turnover rate is 200 households, calculate (1,000 ÷ 200), which is 5. It would take that office about five years to serve all households on that waiting list. Unfortunately, not all housing authorities provide both pieces of information on their Annual Plan.

If there are any further questions about the specific waiting list you would like to apply to, please contact the appropriate housing authority or apartment community.

You can use the search bar at the top of this page to search for housing authority and apartment community contact information.