United Family Network

What To Do When Your Section 8 Wait Time Is Too Long

While the waiting lists for Section 8 housing vouchers can take years to process, there are some ways to get them quicker.

If you need help right away, this relief program will direct deposit a short term loan into your bank account. Review the terms of this funding closely before accepting these funds.

Section 8 won’t provide emergency rental assistance. So if you’re just days away from being evicted, it’s best to look for quicker alternatives to appease your landlord.

What will Section 8 provide? Monthly rental assistance paid directly to your landlord from your Public Housing Agency (PHA).

Getting a housing voucher to help with each month’s rent could be a life-changing move. But since getting that voucher could take years to happen, you’ll want to do everything you can to accelerate the process.

While we can’t guarantee you’ll get your housing voucher tomorrow, here are some proven ways to get it quicker.

How to Get Your Housing Voucher Faster

1. Use waiting list preferences to your advantage.

Some PHAs use preferences as a way to prioritize the order on their waiting lists. Preferences can move you closer to the front of the line, giving you a massive advantage over your voucher competition.

Although the list of preferences is long and varies according to location, here are some that you may be able to use:

  • Homeless
  • Victim of domestic violence
  • Disabled
  • Elderly
  • Displaced by government action or disaster
  • Living in substandard housing
  • Paying a majority of your income towards rent
  • And so on…

Stop! If you need financial assistance such as money to pay bills, a personal loan, or debt relief. See what resources are available to help you today.


Your PHA can tell you which preferences apply. The more you can use to move through the line quicker, the better.

2. Keep your information current.

If your PHA requests information or your income, family composition, contact information, or some other form of data changes, you’ll have to reflect that in your file. If not, you could lose your spot on the waiting list and have to start all over again.

This is why checking your waiting list status frequently is essential. You may be able to check it online or by contacting your PHA.

3. Apply to other waiting lists.

You can increase your chances of getting a voucher quicker by applying to more than one waiting list.

Living in a larger metropolitan area can increase your wait time. To overcome this, you may want to apply to a waiting list in a rural area that has a shorter wait. By having both options, you can lessen the risk of having to wait a long time for assistance.

Since the average Housing Choice Voucher wait time is 1.5 years, make as many moves listed above as you can. And if you’re wondering what the longest wait is, it’s reported to be seven years, which could seem like an eternity when you need rental assistance now.

If you haven’t applied for Section 8 yet, do it now by contacting your PHA. And once your application is approved, you now know what to do to minimize your waiting list time.

It’s also worth noting that making a waiting list doesn’t automatically mean you’ll get a voucher. It just means you’ve passed specific eligibility requirements for that PHA.

Once you reach the top of the list, you may have to undergo additional screening and an in-person interview to get your voucher.

Jonah Jacobs