Applying for Section 8 Voucher Program

If you are regularly struggling to pay for rent, then maybe it's time to consider applying for housing assistance. Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV), is a federal program administered locally by Public Housing Authorities. Available in most areas of the United States, it aims to help you pay for rent.

What needs to be done for you to get housing assistance?

Meet basic qualifications

  • U.S. citizen, or noncitizen who has eligible immigration status
  • must be at least 18 years old
  • single, married, with children -- all can apply
  • household income must be less than 50% of Area Median Income in the area where you want to apply/reside
  • rental history

Restrictions and preferences

  • The waiting list is usually open to everyone, but some areas have preferences on who they will place higher on the list. Examples of preferences are the elderly, local residents, and others.

Waiting lists

  • Look for open waiting lists especially in the areas where you want to reside.
  • Contact your local housing authority to inquire if there are open waiting lists.


  • Get a copy of the application form from the housing office or through the mail.
  • Fill-up the form.
  • Submit the application.

Follow all the instructions given by your local housing authority when completing and submitting your application form. Not following the instruction provided may cause your application to get rejected. If the open waiting list indicated that you should only apply online, then do so. Because they will not accept any paper applications submitted to them.

If you cannot complete the application on your own, you may bring someone to help you or ask for assistance from the housing agency.

Do not submit multiple applications for your household. Doing so might get your application denied.

Waiting time

  • After submitting your application, you may inquire how long it usually takes for you to know if you got on the waiting list. The housing authorities usually send confirmations thru mail or online.
  • Once you are informed that you are on the waiting list, ask them how you will be able to check your position or status from time to time.
  • Any change in your contact information, household members, or income should be relayed to the housing authority right away. This will ensure that your application information is up to date.
  • Respond to notices sent by the housing authority immediately.

The final interview

  • When you reach the top of the waiting list, it's time to attend the final interview. This will be in person. The housing office will also inform you on who needs to attend. Make sure to be on time.

Housing Voucher received!

  • After getting your housing voucher, it's time to look for houses or apartments for your household.
  • Have the property inspected and approved by the housing authority.
  • Move-in.
  • Maintain the good condition of the property.
  • Pay your share of the rent on time.
  • Get recertified at least once every year.