Massachusetts is divided into eight regions, each served by a regional non-profit organization. These non-profits administer the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP) for the Mass. Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). All eight non-profits use the same application. An applicant may choose to apply to any one of them. A voucher from a regional non-profit may be used anywhere in the state for the first year. After that, a voucher may be used anywhere in the United States.
Unlike the Centralized Waiting List, the only way to apply to a regional non-profit list is with a paper application. We will walk through the process step-by-step. For the purposes of this exercise, we will assume that Raphael Martinez is helping his daughter Anita, who has a disability, apply. Raphael is Anita’s legal guardian. Anita attends a collaborative school, and lives at home with her family. (Please note that nothing on this website is intended as legal advice, there is no guarantee the information provided is accurate, and using the information provided does not guarantee one will receive a housing voucher. For a complete legal disclaimer, please click here.)
- Print out the application.
- The first section of the application is called “Head of Household Information”. (Click on the image to enlarge it, and click the back button in your browser to return to this page.)
- Because Anita is the person who will use the voucher, Raphael uses Anita’s Social Security number and name to fill out the application.
- Because he is Anita’s guardian and will be the one communicating with housing authorities, Raphael uses his own phone number.
- Raphael leaves “Shelter Name”, “Shelter Address”, etc. blank, since Anita is not living in a shelter.
- The second section of the application is called “Household and Demographic Information”. (Click on the image to enlarge it, and click the back button in your browser to return to this page.)
- Anita will need someone to live with her to help her, so Raphael writes that two people will live in the unit.
- Anita’s only income is her SSI and her Mass. SSI supplement. Raphael takes this amount, multiplies it by 12, and enters it under “gross annual household income”.
- Because Anita is over 18 and living with her family, Raphael checks “I am doubled up with friends or relatives”.
- The third section of the application is called “Certification of Applicant”. This section asks the applicant to certify
- that the information in the previous sections is true;
- that the applicant understands the application is not an offer of housing;
- that the applicant will need to provide proof of information when he/she reaches the top of the list;
- that the applicant will notify the agency if he/she moves; and
- that the applicant must be eligible for housing and must pass a criminal background check.
(Click on the image to enlarge it, and click the back button in your browser to return to this page.)
- Anita is able to sign for herself. If she were not able to do so, Raphael would have signed his name and printed “(guardian)” after it. He would then attach a copy of his guardianship letter to the application when he mails it in.
- The next step is mailing the application.
- It is a good idea to make a photocopy of your application for your files. However, make sure you mail the original, not the photocopy. The application clearly states that “incomplete, photocopied, e-mailed, or faxed applications will not be accepted.”
- You may mail the application to any one regional non-profit organization that you wish. Most people pick the regional non-profit that serves the city or town they currently live in. To find the address of the regional non-profit, go to the application, and scroll down to the list of non-profits and the cities/towns they serve. Find the city/town you live in or wish to live in, and go to the top of the column. There you will see the name and address of the regional non-profit; mail the application to that address.
- If you signed as your family member’s guardian, make sure to include a copy of the letter from the court appointing you as guardian.
- It is a good idea to physically go to the post office and mail the application “certified mail, return receipt requested”. That way, you will be able to track it and ensure it was received. Another option is to hand carry the application to the regional non-profit agency.
- About a month after mailing the application, send a letter to the regional non-profit, asking for written verification that your family member is on the list. If you are the guardian, enclose a copy of the letter from the court appointing you as guardian. Otherwise, your family member must be the one to sign the letter.
- Take steps to make sure you don’t get removed from the waiting list. 1/3 of applications are dropped from the waiting list, due to not reporting an address change. Applicants often do not know they have been purged from the list. When they discover it (usually through contacting the regional non-profit to check on their status), they have to apply all over again, sometimes wasting years of waiting time.