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Learn How to Apply for Section 8 Housing in Massachusetts

You can fill out a Section 8 application in Massachusetts with any public housing agency (PHA) of your choice. Overall, there are many different PHAs that issue housing choice vouchers throughout the state. While all of these organizations receive federal funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), it is important to keep in mind that PHAs are still administered independently.

Many of the housing authorities in Massachusetts have partnered with one another to form a single application portal. Therefore, the Section 8 housing application process is the same in many areas of the state. However, the rules and requirements can still vary slightly from one PHA to the next. Read below to learn how to apply for low income housing in MA and get your name added onto a waiting list.

When can I submit a Section 8 application in Massachusetts?

If you apply for Section 8 housing through a PHA that participates in the state-wide waiting list, you can submit your form at any time. This list is designed to stay open indefinitely so that applicants can sign up for help whenever they need it.

However, it is important to keep in mind that not all PHAs in the state use this centralized list. If you wish to apply for Section 8 through a different housing authority, you will need to follow local procedures.

As an example, some PHAs will periodically stop taking applications when there are too many people already waiting to receive assistance. In such cases, it is necessary to wait until the housing authority starts accepting new petitioners.

Whenever a PHA stops accepting new applications, you may need to wait for a long time before you are able to apply for help. Housing authorities will usually announce when they open or close their waiting lists, so it is important to keep an eye out for notifications.

When a PHA begins taking new petitioners, it is important to submit your HUD application as soon as possible. It is common for housing authorities to close their waiting lists shortly after they open.

What documents do I need to apply for Section 8 in Massachusetts?

When you sign up for Section 8, it is important to understand that your initial application is only used to add your name to a waiting list. Therefore, the application only contains basic information about your eligibility. You should be prepared to enter the following details for each member of your household:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security Number (SSN)
  • Citizenship or immigration status
  • Disability status
  • Income and assets

Your initial Section 8 application form may or may not need to include any documents. In many cases, you only need to fully verify your eligibility once a voucher becomes available for your family. At this stage in the process, you should be prepared to show documents that prove you are qualified to receive a voucher.

Acceptable items can include tax returns, photo IDs, pay stubs, bank records, birth certificates, immigration documents, Social Security cards and other similar paperwork. Learn more about the types of documentation you may need to include with your application by reading our Section 8 guide here.

Tips for Completing the Massachusetts Section 8 Housing Application

When you submit a Section 8 application form to the state-wide waiting list, any participating PHA can access your information. In most cases, housing authorities will select applicants who meet specific criteria. In addition, a PHA may give priority to applicants who:

  • Are living in the housing authority’s jurisdiction.
  • Are homeless.
  • Have been living in substandard housing.
  • Are seniors.
  • Are veterans.
  • Were victims of domestic abuse.

As you fill out a housing authority application in Massachusetts, there are several important things to keep in mind. First, you should complete every field of the application or write “N/A” in fields that are not relevant to your family. Incomplete applications may be rejected. Moreover, make sure that your application is signed by each adult resident in your home.

As a general rule, you only need to fill out one application per PHA. If you apply for low income housing through a PHA that uses the state-wide waitlist, you do not need to complete another application for any other housing agencies that use the list.

In fact, if you submit duplicate forms, your applications may be rejected. While you may submit a HUD housing application to multiple PHAs, be careful not to fill out more than one form with the same agency.

Note: Certain housing agencies that utilize the centralized state list will also maintain their own separate waiting lists. You may be able to apply for Section 8 again through such organizations. If you are unsure, it may be in your best interest to ask the PHA for clarification before applying again.

Understanding the Massachusetts Section 8 Application Process

When applying through a PHA that uses the central state list, you can submit a low income housing application in person, online, by fax or by mail. Overall, application methods may vary from one housing authority to the next.

How to Apply for Section 8 Online in Massachusetts

To fill out a Section 8 application online in Massachusetts, you can use the state list or locate your PHA’s website. In most cases, applying online will require that you have an account.

Be sure to save any confirmation number you may receive after submitting your application, as you may need this to access your information in the future.

How to Submit the Massachusetts Section 8 Housing Application in Person

Most PHAs allow you to fill out an application by visiting the office in person. Keep in mind that if a PHA is not currently taking applications, you will not be able to complete the process until the waitlist is open.

How to Apply for Section 8 Housing by Mail

To apply for Section 8 by mail, contact your PHA to have a copy of the form sent to you. Simply fill out the required fields and return the application to the correct address.

What happens after I apply for Section 8 in Massachusetts?

Once you sign up for Section 8, your name will more than likely be added to a waiting list. However, in some situations, a PHA may select you for a voucher right away. If your name is on a waiting list, it is important that you keep your contact information up to date. Certain changes, such as an increase to your income, must be reported as well.

Different ways you can apply

Some PHAs only let you apply for a housing voucher in person. If you want to apply in person, you have to have the right form. You might be able to find the right form at the PHA office, or on the PHA’s website so you can print it. After you have all your documents and fill out your application, you turn in the documents and application form at the PHA office.

You might only be allowed to apply for Section 8 online through your PHA’s online portal. If you can only apply online, you need to make an account on the portal and fill out the online application form.

You might need to upload your supporting documents here, too. After you finish, you can usually come back to the portal to make changes and see your application status.

Some PHAs will let you turn in your application by mail, especially if you are currently living in another city or state. To apply by mail, you have to ask the PHA for an application, or get one on the website if you can.

After you finish your application, you have to mail the form and supporting documents to the address the PHA tells you. Make sure the envelope has the right address to make sure the PHA gets your application.