The wait for public housing depends on the number of rental units available, the number of people on the waiting list and the applicants' personal and financial circumstances, according to MassLegalHelp and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. County HUD housing authority offices administer the lists.
Waiting lists open periodically, notes MassLegalHelp. Each housing authority office decides how to handle its selection process. Whereas some contact applicants in the order in which the applications were received, others use a lottery system. Authority offices may prioritize applicants who currently live in dangerous situations, whose current homes are unaffordable or who are facing eviction for reasons other than lease violations.