Low-income individuals and families find affordable housing options through the Massachusetts Section 8 Housing Voucher program — a program funded by the Housing and Urban Development program (HUD). It's run by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), which has eight regional offices throughout the state, as well as over 100 local public housing authority (PHA) offices throughout the state.
Massachusetts’ Section 8 Housing Program
Massachusetts’s Section 8 Housing Voucher program provides approved, low-income families with rental vouchers, which are used to pay their monthly rent as long as the rental unit they choose is a Section 8 approved housing option.
Section 8 Eligibility in Massachusetts
Eligibility for Section 8 is based on your family’s total household income. The limits are established by the HUD program, and at least 75 percent of the available housing vouchers have to be awarded to families whose total income doesn’t exceed 30 percent of the area’s median income limits.
How do you qualify for Section 8 housing in Massachusetts?
To qualify for Section 8, your family needs to meet the income requirements set by HUD. Additionally, criminal background and credit checks are conducted by the PHA or regional office. Participants can’t be lifetime registered sex offenders or have a criminal record that includes violent or drug-related crimes.
How do I apply for Section 8 Housing in Massachusetts?
To apply for Massachusetts’s Section 8 Housing Voucher program, contact the PHA or regional DHCD office for the area in which you wish to live. Then, fill out the application to begin the preliminary screening to be placed on the waiting list. It’s important to remember that waiting list times vary depending on the location, and can take years. The PHA or DHCD regional office can tell you an estimated time frame for an area's list.
How to apply for low-income housing
Fill out an application at the local PHA or DHCD regional office for the area you wish to live. The application goes through a preliminary screening process before you’re placed on a waiting list. Once space is open for you, an appointment is scheduled for your application review. Once approved, you receive your housing voucher, which gives you 120 days to find Section-8-approved housing.
Section 8 Housing Massachusetts Application
The application requires information about your household members, including the names, birthdates, and social security numbers. Additionally, it requires information about your income and any assets you have, as well as any circumstances, such as disabilities or homelessness that may place you on a waiting list with a higher priority.
Massachusetts Section 8 Landlord
If you own property in Massachusetts, and you wish to be a part of the Section 8 program, you need to contact the local PHA or DHCD regional office that serves the home’s area. Each Section 8 property has to go through a screening and inspection process to ensure it’s an adequate living space.
Section 8 Waiting List Massachusetts
Each area has its own waiting list. Some are longer than others, which is why some areas stop taking applications at certain times of the year. Some situations place families at a higher priority for housing assistance, so preferences are commonly given to:
- Elderly people (age 62 and older)
- Near-elderly people (age 55 and older)
- Families who are considered extremely low income
- Health conditions and disabilities affecting a person’s housing needs
- Homeless people
- Participants in the Metro Program in Wayland School
- Rent-burdened single people
- People living in substandard housing
Boston Section 8 Waiting List
The Boston Housing Authority receives approximately 10,000 Section 8 applications each year, so there is a long waiting list. Depending on your application status, the points you receive when applying for housing, and the preferences you qualify for, the waiting list can take anywhere from one year to five years. The list goes by a points system, and most applicants need to be considered at least a Priority One status, which includes people who:
- Are homeless
- Displaced due to disaster
- Displaced due to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking of one or more of the household members
- Victim of a hate crime
- Are in the witness protection program
- Have a court-ordered eviction, which is no fault of their own
- Their current house or apartment has been condemned
- Are required to permanently moved due to federal, state, or local government action
- Graduates of project-based units who have fulfilled supportive service goals
Additional preference points are also given to people who:
- Are elderly or are a non-elderly disabled person
- Working families
- Displaced Boston tenants
People who are homeless or graduating from a project-based housing program receive even more priority points, so you should consider applying to local project-based housing options while your name is on the waiting list for Section 8.
Springfield Section 8 Waiting List
To apply for Springfield’s Section 8 program, you need to contact the Springfield Housing Authority at 413-785-4597. Alternatively, applications are taken in person at their office, which is located at:
67 Sanderson Street, Office 1, Springfield, MA 01107
Applications can also be submitted online through MASSNAHRO Centralized Waiting List. There is a waiting list, which is updated every two years, but people can submit applications at any time.
Steps to Receiving Your Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers
Step 1: Contact the PHA or the DHCD regional office for the area you wish to live to determine the exact application process.
Step 2: Complete your preliminary application when the PHA or DHCD regional office opens enrollment for the area. Keep in mind, the MASSNAHRO Centralized Waiting List is always open and allows you to apply for more than one area at the same time.
Step 3: Wait for the PHA or the DHCD regional office to review your application and place you on the waitlist.
Step 4: Confirm your waiting list position periodically. Also, keep all of your contact and income information updated.
Step 5: When you reach the top of the waiting list, schedule your briefing appointment to turn in your paperwork, which includes birth certificates for all household members, income and employment verification, and verification such as bank statements and/or car titles for any assets you own.
Step 6: Wait for the verification process to be approved. Once it's approved, you receive your housing vouchers. This gives you 120 days to find Section 8 approved housing.
Section 8 Income Limits in Massachusetts
Massachusetts Section 8 income limits vary, depending on the area you wish to live. This is because the limits are based on a percentage of the median income for that specific area. Typically, in order to qualify for Section 8 housing families must have a monthly income below 50 percent of the median income for the area.