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Section 8 Voucher Waitlist to Reopen for One Week in June

By Felicia Clarke

The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) announced last week that it will be re-opening its Housing Choice Voucher waitlist for one week in June.

First announced in Mayor Eric Adams’ State of the City address earlier this year, the move will reopen the waitlist for the first time in about 15 years. Households can apply to join the waitlist between midnight on Monday, June 3 and 11:59 PM on Sunday, June 9, 2024, according to an announcement from NYCHA. To apply online, click here:

NYCHA says once the application window closes, around 200,000 applicants will be selected at random and added to the waitlist—which the agency expects to be set by August 1 of this year. Those who are added to the waitlist will be notified and can check the status of their application online. NYCHA says the expansion of the list will not impact those already on it.

Housing vouchers are one of the most well-funded tools the government has for supporting affordable housing. There are a variety of vouchers available to New York City residents, each with different specifications and requirements. Section 8 is a particularly important resource for survivors of domestic violence, so the staff in our Domestic Violence Program at Brooklyn A are encouraged to see the potential tool become available to our clients. Read more details on Section 8 below, along with details about this one-week application period, as well as another voucher option, City FHEPS.

The Section 8 Program 

What is Section 8? 

The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program, also referred to as Section 8, provides funding for rent subsidies for eligible low-income families for public housing in New York and other states as well. The program allows families to pay a reasonable portion of their income toward rent, typically 30 percent of their income, while the Section 8 program (with certain requirements) pays the remaining amount to the owner. Eligible families receive a voucher to begin their housing search. The voucher allows families to search for housing within a neighborhood or community of their choice and rent a unit from a landlord who works with the Section 8 program. NYCHA, in addition to operating New York City’s public housing, runs the largest Section 8 program in the country for private market rentals—the two programs are separate.

How do I apply to join the NYCHA Section 8 waitlist?

New Yorkers interested in a voucher need to apply between midnight on Monday, June 3 and 11:59 PM on Sunday, June 9, 2024. To apply online, click here: The agency recommends people apply online since it is the fastest method, and paper applications will only be available “as a reasonable accommodation,” and people can request a paper application from Monday, June 3, 2024, through Friday, June 7, 2024 (8 AM to 5 PM) by calling (718) 218-1525 to have an application mailed to them. People can also get an application in person at:

  • Brooklyn Customer Contact Center 787 Atlantic Avenue, 2nd FL 4, Brooklyn, NY 11238
  • Bronx Customer Contact Center 78 East Fordham Road, 2nd FL, Bronx, NY 10458

The paper application must be postmarked by Friday, June 28, 2024, and sent only by US Mail to the address on the application. Again, NYCHA highly encourages everyone to apply online so they can easily check the status of their application.

Each household should only submit one application—duplicates will be deleted. The online application takes about 20 minutes to complete, depending on household size. You cannot save your online application and return to it; you must complete it all in one sitting. To see all the information you’ll need to submit, please review Question 11 on the Frequently Asked Questions document from NYHCA.

Once you complete your application, a pop-up window will appear with your reference number—this number will also be sent to your email with a confirmation notice that your application was submitted. You can use this reference number to check the status of your application on the NYCHA Self-Service Portal. You can also make changes to your application once it’s submitted, but changes to name, date of birth, or Social Security Number must be done over the phone by calling 718 218-1525.

NYCHA expects to notify all applicants of whether they were accepted or rejected for the waitlist in August of this year.

Important details to keep in mind:

  • Applicants who need disability services to complete their application can call (212) 306-4652 or TTY (212) 306-4845.
  • At least one member of the household must be a U.S. Citizen or have eligible immigration status to apply.
  • Domestic violence survivors will continue to get priority once the new waitlist is established, same for people with disabilities.
  • People in rental arrears can still apply. Rent payment history is not a consideration for Section 8 vouchers, but it is likley to be reviewed by a potential landlord in your apartment search.
  • Current NYCHA residents can also apply for Section 8, but since the two programs are separate you must submit all relevant information on the link above. Any personal information currently held by NYCHA will not be transferred over automatically.

What types of referrals is NYCHA typically accepting for its HCV (Housing Choice Voucher) Program?

Prior to this announcement, NYCHA’s HCV (Housing Choice Voucher) waitlist was closed to the general public. Victims of Domestic Violence and other vulnerable populations are entitled to top priority for a Section 8 housing voucher.  If you have an active criminal felony case because of domestic violence in the District Attorney’s office, your assigned DA on your criminal case can write an advocacy letter for a safety transfer. For example, if you shared a residence with your DV partner and feel unsafe and the situation rises to the point where safety is at jeopardy, you may be entitled to a safety transfer to another location.

Outside of the one-week reopening, NYCHA is ONLY accepting referrals for its HCV waitlist for the specific categories listed below:

  • Foster Youth to Independence (FYI) Initiative referrals from the Administration for Children’s Services (effective 7/1/2022)
  • Homeless applicant referrals from the Department of Homeless Services (effective 7/1/2022)
  • Victims of Domestic Violence Referred by Prosecutorial or Law Enforcement Agency (effective 6/8/2020)
  • Intimidated Witnesses Referred by Prosecutorial or Law Enforcement Agency (effective 6/8/2020)
  • NYCHA public housing residents required to move or referred by NYCHA’s Public Housing Operations Department because their unit is not livable, they are at risk of displacement, or they are extremely under occupied or extremely overcrowded in their current apartment. (effective 6/8/2020)

City FHEPS Voucher

City FHEPS is a separate voucher program from Section 8 and assists tenants with rental assistance to help single adults and families secure and sustain their housing throughout New York State. The program is administered through the Department of Social Services (DSS) including the Human Resources Administration (HRA) and the Department of Homeless Services (DHS). Many tenants currently receiving City FHEPS received previous vouchers including SEPS, LINC, and CityFHEPS which have transitioned into one singular City FHEPS program to help streamline the process. The program is beneficial to tenants who are at risk of becoming homeless or currently residing in a shelter with limited income. There is generally a five-year limit on this voucher program; however, exemptions are made for good cause, 60-year-old or older tenants, and adults receiving federal disability benefits (in our experience, so long as people continue to recertify, we don’t often see them kicked-off after five years). Qualifications include numerous variables below:

  1. The household includes someone who served in the U.S. Armed Forces and is at risk of homelessness; OR
  2. The household gets Pathway Home benefits and would be eligible for CityFHEPS if they were in DHS or HRA shelter; OR
  3. A person has been documented as street homeless or if Adult Protective Services applies on their behalf; OR
  4. The household was referred by a CityFHEPS qualifying program, and DSS determined that CityFHEPS was needed to avoid shelter entry; OR
  5. The household is facing eviction in court (or was evicted in the past year) AND:
    • Includes someone who has previously lived in a DHS shelter; OR
    • Includes someone who has an active Adult Protective Services (APS) case or is in a designated community guardianship program; OR
    • Lives in a rent-controlled apartment and will use CityFHEPS to stay in that apartment
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