The Chicago Housing Authority does not predict the length of time families must be on any of their waiting lists. The CHA uses a lotter system, as of 2014, to narrow the pool of eligible applicants. Being on a waiting list does not guarantee housing assistance for applicants.
The Chicago Housing Authority maintains three different housing assistance waiting lists, including those for public housing, housing vouchers and privately owned subsidized housing. Historically, 15,000 families wait on each list at any given time. Each year, approximately 45,000 to 50,000 families receive housing assistance through the agency. The agency has been criticised by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for not using enough of its funding to provide housing assistance.