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How to apply to NYCHA’s Section 8 waitlist when it reopens for the first time in 15 years

  • The waitlist gives you a chance at getting a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher to subsidize your rent
  • You can apply from June 3rd to June 8th; make sure you meet the income eligibility requirements first
Celia Young Headshot
By Celia Young  |
May 29, 2024 - 4:30PM
A row of similar old brick residential buildings with fire escapes on the Upper East Side of New York City

The waitlist will close June 9th at 11:59 p.m.


The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) will reopen its waitlist for a coveted rental subsidy—the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program—on June 3rd. If you’re looking to apply, here’s what you need to know.

Section 8, a federal rental subsidy program, pays for part of a tenant’s rent with the tenant typically contributing 30 percent of their monthly income, according to NYCHA. NYCHA stopped accepting applications for the program in 2009, but plans to add 200,000 New Yorkers to the waitlist when it reopens in June, and then issue around 1,000 vouchers per month.

That doesn’t mean all 200,000 families (plus the 3,759 households currently on the waitlist) will be guaranteed housing. NYCHA can distribute a maximum of 115,346 active vouchers, and currently has 96,509 Section 8 participants either using a voucher to pay their rent or who are searching for housing with one, City Limits reported. 

[Editor's note: As of June 5th, NYCHA had received 409,099 applications, more than double the number of households that will ultimately be placed on the list, City Limits reported. You can still apply until June 9th at 11:59 p.m., and anyone who applies within the application window has an equal opportunity of being placed on the waitlist, according to NYCHA.]

When, exactly, will the waitlist open?

The waitlist opened at 12 a.m. (midnight) on June 3rd and will close June 9th at 11:59 p.m., but you don’t need to rush to submit your application. Anyone who applies within that window will have an equal opportunity of getting placed on the waitlist, according to NYCHA. 

This link will take you to the application portal when it opens. The fastest way to apply is online, but if you need a paper application instead, you can request one from Monday, June 3rd, 2024, through Friday, June 7th, 2024 by calling (718)-218-1525 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can also get a paper application by visiting NYCHA’s Brooklyn center on the second floor at 787 Atlantic Ave. or its Bronx center on the second floor at 478 East Fordham Road.

What do I need to do to apply?

But before you apply, make sure you’re eligible for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program. 

To qualify, the head of your household must be at least 18 years of age or older, and your household must have a gross income 50 percent or lower than the area median income. That means that a family of two must make no more than $62,150 per year. For a full list of eligible incomes, click this link.

Plus, at least one member of your family must be a U.S. citizen or non-citizen with eligible immigration status to qualify for the program, according to NYCHA.

When you do apply, you won’t need specific documents but you will need to provide NYCHA with some information. 

You’ll need the full name, birthday, social security number, demographic information, and disability status of yourself and all your family members to apply. If you’re the head of your household, you’ll also have to submit your contact information, family size, total gross annual income, reason for applying, and an emergency contact. 

NYCHA also asks for additional information, including if anyone in the family is pregnant (and their due date), if anyone is a criminal or sex offender, and for the head of household’s eviction history, according to the authority.

If you need to update your application later, you can do so by logging on to NYCHA’s self-service portal. But if you need to change your or a family member’s name, social security number, or date of birth, you’ll have to call NYCHA directly at 718-218-1525 on a weekday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., according to a spokesperson for the agency. 

What happens after I apply?

Once the application period closes, NYCHA will randomly place 200,000 applicants on the waitlist. Applicants will get a priority code, and NYCHA will first prioritize applicants with mobility issues who are living in inaccessible housing, then applicants who are above the age of 62 or those who have a disability, and then everyone else.  

Applicants will be able to view the list as early as Aug. 1st, and can check the status of their application on the agency’s self-service portal. If you’re picked for the waitlist, NYCHA will reach out to you to get specific documents ahead of your eligibility interview (part of what determines whether you’re selected for a voucher). 

If you do get a voucher, you’ll likely have 180 days to find an apartment and get it approved by NYCHA. Unfortunately, getting a voucher is no guarantee that you’ll land an apartment. Only 53 percent of voucher holders used their voucher in 2022, and those that did typically searched for housing for 171 days, according to a report from New York University’s Furman Center.

When looking for an apartment with a voucher, make sure to have your paperwork ready for showings and apartment applications. It is illegal for a landlord or broker to refuse to rent to you because you have a voucher, so if you suspect discrimination, make sure to gather evidence so you can report it. (Read more about how to rent an apartment with a voucher here and how to report discrimination here).

What do I do if I have more questions on the application process?

You can find more information on the application process on NYCHA’s frequently asked question page here, or you can call their hotline with questions at (718) 218-1525.

If you have a disability that impacts your hearing or speaking, you can contact NYCHA’s Services for People with Disabilities Unit at (212) 306-4652 or teletypewriters line (TTY) here: (212) 306-4845.

Celia Young Headshot

Celia Young

Senior Writer

Celia Young is a senior writer at Brick Underground where she covers New York City residential real estate. She graduated from Brandeis University and previously covered local business at the Milwaukee Business Journal, entertainment at Madison Magazine, and commercial real estate at Commercial Observer. She currently resides in Brooklyn.

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