What Happens After Applying to a Housing Choice Voucher Program Waiting List?


Application processing

The housing office where you have submitted your application is going to start reviewing it. It generally takes between a few weeks, to a couple of months for them to review applications depending on their resources.

Paper applications usually take longer than online applications, so if you have not applied yet, for a chance that yours might get processed faster, try applying online.

Confirm your waiting list status

A confirmation will be mailed to you by the housing office if you are placed in the waiting list. There are times that they allow applicants to log-in to an online portal to check this. Some offices only mail letters to those who are placed in the waiting list. So make sure that when you apply, ask the office if they send notifications to those not included in the list as well.

If you are among the lucky ones placed in the waiting list, take note of the office where you applied, along with any other relevant information like login credentials, confirmation number, or your position on the waiting list. This documentation will ensure that you don’t lose track of offices you have applied through.

If you are among those not placed on the waiting list, the housing authority is required to provide the reason why, with information about requesting an informal review. There are a number of reasons why an applicant was not placed on the waiting list by the housing authority. Depending on how the housing authority chooses those who will be included, one reason is not being chosen by a random lottery, or simply because others were able to submit their application before you.

Your wait time

While it is not rare to be on the waiting list for years, you can at least estimate how long your wait time is going to be. Wait time varies greatly on the housing authority office where you have applied. Usually, huge metropolitan areas have long waiting lists, while areas that have lower population have shorter ones.

Find out if a representative from the housing authority where you applied can estimate how long the current waiting list is. If they can’t make an estimate, ask how you can access their Annual Plan. This document is updated yearly, and may have the information on the current number of households in the waiting list, and the annual turnover rate of the office.

Stay in contact

With the housing office that is. May it be through phone, online, or at the office, find out how you can check your waiting list status periodically. While some offices are unable to give you your exact position on the list, they can confirm that you are still on it.

Contact the housing office immediately should any of your application information changes. These may include contact information, household members, and income. There is a possibility that your application may be terminated from the waiting list if your application information is not up to date.

Make sure to respond immediately whenever the housing office send any notices to you that require one. The offices usually send these to ask if the applicant wishes to remain on the list. Be sure to follow the instructions they provide to avoid termination of your application.

Final in-person eligibility interview

A final in-person eligibility interview is required by the housing office once you reach the top of the waiting list. Exciting right? It is a must to attend the scheduled date and time. The office may either require either only the applicant, all the adults, or the entire household to attend the said interview.

This is the final step before getting your affordable housing, so make sure you plan accordingly.