Discouraged by a wait list for housing? Don’t panic! It’s not as straightforward as you might think – and we’ll show you everything you need to know.
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Low Income Relief is a free information resource that connects low income people across America with benefits, programs and resources in their local communities. We serve three million people per year at LowIncomeRelief.com.
If you’ve looked into low income housing at all, you’ve inevitably run into waiting lists. In some areas, the wait can be five years or more. It’s discouraging, depressing and overwhelming.
It’s also not that simple.
I’m Nicole from LowIncomeRelief.com, where we help millions of people save money and get free stuff.
What is a wait list?
Basically, a waitlist is a list of people who are waiting to get into a certain housing unit. Low income housing agencies maintain a wait list for housing because there just isn’t enough low income housing to go around. There is a lot of competition for low income housing because there are way more low income households than there are units available.
Why does it take so long?
It is, unfortunately, quite common for a wait list for housing to stretch three, four, or even five years into the future. Some are even longer. It’s horrible.
So, will you really have to wait that long for housing?! Maybe… but probably not.
How do they calculate how long it will take?
The length of the wait list is based on a really simple estimate. If 500 households apply for housing but only 100 apartments become available each year, the office will estimate that the wait list is five years long. That’s because it will take the office five years to serve everyone on the list based on current trends.
However, not everybody on the list will actually move into those apartments. After all, people’s circumstances change as time goes by.
Over time, many of the people on the list will have found other housing options. Many may have moved to different cities where they could find housing. Some may start earning more than the income limits allow. Others may be awarded disability benefits they’ve been waiting on. These people may no longer need or qualify for the low income housing they’ve applied for.
Others may be disqualified for a number of reasons. They may have failed to complete the paperwork or interview process. Someone in the household may have been convicted of a drug-related or violent crime, be a registered sex offender, or have been previously disqualified from public housing assistance. Just behaving in a threatening or abusive way toward a housing authority employee may be grounds for being removed from the wait list. Sometimes, even a traffic ticket can get you knocked out of the running.
What happens when the waiting list is too long?
Sometimes, the wait list for housing will become so full that the agency will stop accepting applications altogether. This has happened to low income housing in many areas. After they are able to work through the waiting list a bit, they reopen applications. Be sure to check often for updates or you may miss your opportunity to apply!
What should I do while I’m on the waiting list?
Whatever you do, don’t just relax and wait! That’s a surefire way to make sure that you don’t get housing right away.
While you’re waiting on one waiting list, apply for others. Apply for all of the housing units you can find. Keep track of how long the waiting lists are for each location and if the waiting list is closed. If the list is closed, call back often to see if it’s opened. Keep records of who you’ve contacted, when and what you learned.
I hope this video has been helpful to you! Please like and subscribe, because we’ll be back soon with more ways to save money and get free stuff!
Hey! While you’re here, I wanted to let you know that we’ve also found ways that you can buy a house with Section 8 vouchers! Isn’t that crazy? Check out our other video for more information.