The NYCHA Section 8 waiting list closed in December 2009 due to funding shortfalls. Those holding vouchers who had not signed leases on or before 12/10/09 were not able to do so, and those currently on the waiting list should not expect to be offered a voucher soon. However, some persons who were holding vouchers in 2009 may receive an offer from NYCHA to rent one of their Project Based Section 8 units in a public housing development. Current lease holders are not affected by the list closure.
Section 8 is a federal rent subsidy program that provides vouchers to households and helps them bridge the gap between their incomes and rents. The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) administers the majority of vouchers in New York City.
Updates since the COVID-19 epidemic started
People with Section 8 vouchers administered by NYCHA should call the Customer Contact Center at 718-707-7771 with any issues that come up, including if your voucher is expiring soon. Call at least a week and a half before the expiration date on the voucher.
Key Program Points
- Heads of Household accessing Section 8 assistance must be 18 or older and earning some source of income (employment, PA, SSI) that falls under Section 8’s income limits.
- Section 8 tenants pay 30% of their income or their Public Assistance shelter allowance towards rent.
- Section 8 does not pay a security deposit, broker’s fee, or any rent upfront.
Section 8 provides households with a voucher up to “Fair Market Rent” for a particular apartment size, based on their family composition. Section 8 does permit third party payments and will sometimes allow households to pay up to 40% of their income so that they can obtain an apartment at a level above Fair Market Rent.
- Age: The head of household must be 18 or older to receive a Section 8 voucher
- Income: Households must be receiving some source of income (i.e. employment, public assistance, or SSI) that does not exceed Section 8 Income limits. Click here for income guidelines.
- Priority Documentation: The waiting list is closed but, when/if it re-opens, due to overwhelming demand, applicants have generally been required to show priority documentation to be considered for a voucher. Victims of domestic violence have historically been given a priority for assistance if they have the required documentation. When/if the waiting list re-opens, HousingLink will post these documentation requirements.
The waiting list is currently closed. No applications are being accepted at this time.
Finding a Section 8 Apartment
Section 8 voucher holders who have secured an emergency transfer and are searching for a new apartment should know that victims of domestic violence are responsible for finding an apartment on their own. In September 2013, Section 8 lifted borough and zip code restrictions that formerly limited where survivors using transfer vouchers can rent but, all transfers are still subject to Section 8 approval. For help finding an apartment, visit our Affordable Apartments page.
Section 8 voucher holders who find an apartment will be responsible for submitting the apartment paperwork to Section 8 for inspection and approval. Voucher holders can use the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Inspection Checklist as a guide to help ensure a successful inspection and approval process.
Section 8 vouchers are usually valid for 4 months. If an apartment is not found or approved within the allotted time period the voucher may be lost. An extension request should be made to the appropriate Section 8 office and worker before the voucher expires but, obtaining an extension can be difficult, especially given the impact of sequastration and may require the aid of an advocate. Generally, extensions are only available to persons with disabilities who require a reasonable accomodation.
Common Section 8 Issues
Reasons for Ineligibility: The main eligibility obstacles for Section 8 applicants are: immigration status, criminal background, and rental arrears from a previous NYCHA or Section 8 apartment. Click here for more information on how to overcome these barriers to assistance.