Rental Assistance FAQ

What is a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher?

Federally-funded, tenant-based Section 8 vouchers are issued by public housing authorities or regional non-profit agencies in Massachusetts. Tenants use vouchers to rent apartments in the private market from landlords or owners of private housing. Vouchers are mobile: with a Section 8 voucher, a tenant can live anywhere in Massachusetts.

Who is eligible for Section 8?

Eligible households are usually limited to those that are very low-income (50% of the area median income), but the housing authority may provide for eligibility up to 80% of the area median income (low-income).

View the Most Recent Published Income Limits .

There also may be preferences for households that earn less than 30%. Additionally, there may be preferences for local residents. There is no mandatory preference for people with disabilities.

How do I apply for a Section 8?

  • Apply at your Regional Non-Profit Housing Agency for a Section 8 voucher. Regional Non-Profits have waiting lists that are open indefinitely for Section 8 vouchers.
  • Apply at all of the Local Housing Authorities within your search where there is an open waiting list.  There is also a centralized waiting list that many housing authorities participate in run by Mass NAHRO, and the information is posted on their web site.

How long is the waiting list?

The length of time it may take to obtain a Section 8 will vary from housing authority to housing authority, and some preferences may apply, making the wait longer. Sometimes the wait may only be a few months and sometimes it could be several years. The agency that you are applying to should be able to provide you with an estimated wait time.