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Is there a universal nationwide waiting list for Section 8 and Public Housing?

There is no universal nationwide waiting list for any affordable housing program.

Section 8 and Public Housing waiting lists are managed by Public Housing Authorities, which serve a specific jurisdiction at the local level, whether it is on a city or county-wide basis. There are very few housing authorities that manage a waiting list for an entire state, and if they do, there tends to be a separate waiting list for each county. The only single state-wide Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher waiting list we are aware of is the Massachusetts Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Centralized Waiting List; but not all housing authorities in the state are participants and manage their own waiting list instead.

You can find information on how to apply to open Section 8 waiting lists nationwide here, and open Public Housing waiting lists here.