Frequently Asked Affordable Housing Locations Questions

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?

Yes, there are likely other programs available other than Section 8 and Public Housing. Housing authorities often provide additional housing programs. You can also search our website for your area of interest, and scroll down to the list of affordable housing communities that may have other programs available. Please contact the housing authority or apartment community for more information.

Where can I apply?

You can apply to open affordable housing rental assistance waiting lists nationwide.

To receive rental assistance in your area of interest, you must apply to an open waiting list managed by a Public Housing Authority that serves that area, or an affordable property's management company or landlord.

Some waiting lists have restrictions on who can apply. For example, the waiting list may only be open for seniors, disabled persons, or other targeted applicants.

If the waiting list you are interested in is closed, you cannot apply at that time, and there are no circumstances that would allow you to apply until it reopens (which may take months or years, depending on the area and housing program).

You may apply to open waiting lists in other areas, but you would have to move to that area to receive rental assistance. There are some things to consider about applying to an area where you don't currently live:

  • Be prepared to travel before moving in. Applicants must attend a final in-person interview to receive assistance. And once you have been notified that you may begin to receive rental assistance, you must move to the area or property.
  • Many waiting lists have preferences. If applying to waiting lists in other areas, keep an eye out for a local residency preference. This means that persons who live or work within the area would receive assistance before persons who do not qualify for the preference. Qualifying for other preferences may balance out a local residency preference, but local residency preferences tend to be heavily weighed.
  • After receiving a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher in another area, it is possible to transfer your voucher after one year of tenancy, but only after certain conditions are met (called porting). Read more about HCV portability here.

Once you know where you want to apply, begin your search for housing here:

In what areas can you live for Section 8?

While you may apply anywhere in the country, you must live within the jurisdiction of the housing authority providing assistance once you have been notified that you may begin to receive rental assistance.

In regards to the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, if you were not a resident of the area you applied to, you must live within the jurisdiction of that housing authority for one year before you are able transfer to a new area, known as porting. If you were a resident of the housing authority's jurisdiction when applying, you may port it to a new area at any time.

For example, if you live in California, and there is a Section 8 HCV opening by the Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC) in Maryland, you must move to that housing authority's jurisdiction to receive rental assistance. But, if you lived in Baltimore, MD when you applied to the HABC Section 8 HCV waiting list, you may port it out of the area at any time after receiving your voucher.

Contact the housing authority in your area of interest to find out more information about its specific jurisdiction. You can search our website for housing authority contact information here.

If you are looking for a unit that will accept your voucher, please read our guide here.

Also, the housing authority you applied through may have information on landlords who accept vouchers. Contact the housing authority office for more information. Please click the link above to search for housing authority contact information.

If you report a change in your income, will they make you move?

If your income changes, and it is still under the specified income limit for the number of persons in your household, you likely wouldn't have to move. And if your monthly rent is income-based, your monthly contribution should decrease.

However, if your income change is above the income limit for the number of persons in your household, you may no longer qualify for rental assistance.

Please contact the housing office that manages your unit for more information. You can search our website for housing authority and apartment community contact information.

If I apply to a waiting list in another state, will they require that I come in for an interview before receiving rental assistance?

Usually, housing offices won't require an in-person interview until your name reaches the top of the waiting list. However, some offices may require an interview immediately upon submitting your application, or schedule an interview at a later date.

Housing office policies also differ on who is required to attend the interview. Some require all household members to be present, while others only ask for either all adult (18+) household members, or just the applicant to attend the interview.

If you apply to a waiting list in an area outside of your current location, you should plan to travel to that location at some point before receiving rental assistance.

Contact the housing office you apply through to find out its policy on applicant interviews. You can search our website for housing authority and apartment community contact information here.

Isn't affordable housing supposed to be income based? The property manager said they were affordable housing, but charges all tenants the same monthly rent.

Not all affordable housing programs are operated by having the tenant pay a portion of their income as rent. There are affordable housing programs, such as Low-Income Housing Tax Credit properties, that offer reduced monthly rent. It is likely that the property you are referring to is one of these properties. Your rent is still below the market rate.