Applying for Sec. 8 means getting on a waiting list, since vouchers are usually all being used. Many people make the mistake of thinking that there is a single Sec. 8 waiting list. But since HUD gives vouchers to lots of different organizations, there are lots of waiting lists. Only getting on one list means you are missing out on a chance of getting a voucher from an organization that doesn’t participate in that list. Getting on more than one list increases the chance you will get a voucher sooner.
In Massachusetts there are three ways to apply for a Section 8 housing voucher:
- Apply to the Centralized Waiting List
- Apply to a DHCD regional non-profit list
- Apply to an organization that has vouchers, but does not participate in the Centralized Waiting List
Apply to the Centralized Waiting List
Over 100 housing authorities in Mass. have agreed to share a single waiting list, called the “Centralized Waiting List”. If your family member gets a voucher from the Centralized Waiting List, they can use it anywhere in Mass. There are two ways to apply to the Centralized Waiting List: using a paper application; or online. Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to apply to the Centralized Waiting List.
Apply to a DHCD regional non-profit list
The Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) has Section 8 vouchers (the “DHCD Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program”). DHCD does not administer its own waiting list, however. Instead, the waiting list is divided into 8 regions, each of which is assigned to a non-profit organization to administer. Your family member can apply to any of them, and can use a voucher received from a regional non-profit anywhere in the state. Generally, the only way to apply for a regional non-profit list is with a paper application (although one non-profit, MetroHousing Boston, has recently added an online application). Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to apply to a regional non-profit list.
Apply to an organization that has vouchers, but does not participate in the Centralized Waiting List
Many housing authorities and non-profit organizations have vouchers, but don’t participate in the Centralized Waiting List. You will need to contact these individually if you wish to apply through them. Each has its own application. If your family member applies for a voucher in a community where they do not live at the time of the application, they may be required to use the voucher in that community for the first 12 months after receiving it: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/public_indian_housing/programs/hcv/about/fact_sheet. Unlike the Centralized Waiting List and the DHCD regional non-profit lists, these lists are not always open. If your family member is interested in applying to one of these lists, call them. Ask two questions:
- Is your Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program waiting list open? (If it’s closed, your family member can’t apply.)
- Do you require non-residents to use the voucher in your community for the first 12 months? (If the answer is no, the voucher can be used anywhere in the state. If the answer is yes, you will need to decide if it makes sense for the person to live in that community.)
(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.)