The length of time it takes to get rental assistance from the Housing Choice Voucher or Public Housing Programs of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development varies according to the Public Housing Authorities that administer the programs. Many PHAs have long waiting lists.
In some areas, local PHAs have waiting lists so long that they close them to new applicants. However, PHAs have the authority to give preference to families that are most in need of housing. These may include families who are homeless, involuntarily displaced, living in housing that is substandard or spending over 50 percent of income for rent. Applicants should ask PHA officials about any local preference guidelines to see if they qualify.