How to apply for NYC’s Section 8 voucher waitlist

June 4, 2024

Image courtesy of edwardhblake on Flickr

The New York City Housing Authority’s Section 8 housing voucher waitlist reopened on Monday for the first time in 15 years, allowing low-income families to apply for rental subsidies. The waitlist’s reopening comes as New Yorkers struggle to afford the cost of living amid skyrocketing rent prices due to the city’s housing crisis. Once the application period closes on June 9, NYCHA will randomly place 200,000 applications on the waitlist. As of Tuesday morning, nearly 313,000 applications were already submitted. Ahead, find out what you should know about applying for the Section 8 housing voucher waitlist, including eligibility requirements, deadlines, and waitlist preferences.

What is the Housing Choice Voucher Program?

The federally-funded Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, also known as Section 8, provides rental subsidies to qualifying low-income NYC families, allowing them to pay no more than 40 percent of their monthly income for rent with NYCHA covering the remainder.

Households with vouchers can search for housing in any neighborhood they choose. The program requires qualifying households to have a gross income of 50 percent or below the area median income and usually pay roughly 30 percent of their monthly income after tax on rent.

The program is the largest in the nation, currently giving rental subsidies to over 240,000 New Yorkers to help them rent apartments on the private market and giving them access to various social services through OpportunityNYCHA.

NYCHA closed the program’s waiting list for new applications in December 2009. Since then, the agency has worked to cut the waiting list by issuing subsidies and removing applicants who no longer qualify. In 2023, NYCHA issued 7,538 vouchers.

In January, Mayor Eric Adams first announced plans to reopen the waiting list during his State of the City Address, with a goal of issuing 1,000 vouchers per month.

What are the eligibility requirements?

You may be eligible for Section 8 if your family’s annual gross income doesn’t exceed the following limits:

Family SizeIncome Limit

Other criteria include:

  • Having a head of household who is 18 years of age or older, or declared an “emancipated minor”;
  • At least one member of the family is a U.S. citizen or non-citizen with eligible immigration status; and
  • The household’s gross income is 50 percent or below the area median income, which is listed in the income chart above.

All members of the public can apply for the waitlist, and you don’t need to be a resident of NYC. Federal housing assistance is limited to U.S. citizens and noncitizens with eligible immigration status. You can learn more about eligibility requirements here.

How do you apply?

The easiest way to apply is online at NYCHA’s application website. Applications are being accepted until Sunday, June 9 at 11:59 p.m. The website can be accessed from a computer, smartphone, or tablet with internet access. It should take about 20 minutes to complete.

Paper applications are available only for reasonable accommodation. You can request reasonable accommodation until Friday, June 7 by calling (718)-218-1525 to have an application mailed to you or by visiting one of the locations below to get one in person:

  • Brooklyn Customer Contact Center 
    787 Atlantic Avenue, Second Floor
  • Bronx Customer Contact Center
    478 East Fordham Road, Second Floor

Paper applications must be sent by Friday, June 28 to the address listed on the application.

Once the application period closes, NYCHA will randomly select 200,000 applications on the waitlist, regardless of the time during the application period when they were submitted.

Who will be prioritized?

NYCHA uses a priority system that ranks applicants based on predetermined categories using the information listed on the application.

The preferences in order of priority are:

  1. Mobility-impaired and residing in accessible housing
  2. Elderly people (62 years of age and older) and people with disabilities
  3. All other applicants

What if my application is accepted?

Once the application period closes, NYCHA will randomly place 200,000 applications on the waitlist. The waitlist is expected to be established by August 1, 2024.

If your application is accepted for placement on the waitlist, NYCHA will reach out to provide information on completing the application process. This typically involves documentation of income, assets, and expenses. NYCHA will also conduct a criminal background check on all family members 16 years of age or older.

Finally, NYCHA will schedule an eligibility interview and if you meet the criteria, you will be issued a housing voucher and can start looking for your new apartment.

The voucher is valid for 180 days after receipt, which includes an initial 120-day period plus a 60-day extension. Further voucher extensions will be considered on a case-by-case basis through reasonable accommodation requests.

Apply to be on the waitlist here.


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  1. N

    Does anyone know what the assets limits are?