How to Apply for Low Income Housing in Massachusetts

In order to understand the Section 8 application process in Massachusetts, applicants must understand the ways in which an application can be submitted. The Section 8 application can be submitted online, by mail or in person, depending on the preference of the county’s local housing authority. For example, while one county may prefer an online application to be submitted, another county may not have the online capabilities to submit the application.

Registering for Section 8 housing in Massachusetts will involve providing important personal details about each household member in order to verify eligibility. You can learn more information about eligibility. Every Massachusetts county will have its own requirements for submitting the application, however, all counties use the same centralized waiting list option. To find out more information about the application process for low-income housing, as well as how the waiting list works, continue reading below.

How to Apply for Section 8 Online in Massachusetts 

Completing the Massachusetts Section 8 housing application online is one of the most popular options for residents of the state. However, filling out the online HUD housing application will change slightly depending on whether or not there is a waiting list for applicants. In Massachusetts, a centralized waiting list was created in 2003 in order for all 99 Massachusetts housing authorities to utilize the same resources of one computerized list. While some housing authorities will likely be closed to new applicants, the centralized Section 8 waiting list remains open indefinitely and is updated at least every two years. 

New applicants will always be able to apply for HUD housing in MA. The online application for Section 8 housing in Massachusetts acts as a preliminary application. It requires personal information to verify eligibility for assistance. The type of information that the pre-application will require, includes information for the head of household and spouse or partner, such as:

  • First and last name
  • Date of birth
  • Mailing address
  • How many people will live in the unit
  • Total gross annual household income
  • Ethnicity 
  • Preferences

Only one online Section 8 pre-application will need to be submitted for the entire household. Applicants will have access to the online login page which not only allows new applications, but also viewing the status of the waiting list, important updates and the ability to change existing application information.

How to Apply for Massachusetts Section 8 Housing by Mail 

Applicants wondering how to register for Section 8 housing in Massachusetts by mail can also use the same resources as the online option. Through the Section 8 centralized waiting list, a copy of the application can be downloaded and printed out to be mailed in to a local housing authority. Each Section 8 pre-application will have a list of the participating housing authorities throughout the state as well as the corroborating mailing address. An applicant can print the HUD Section 8 application out in various languages, fill out the application by hand and then mail it in to the closest housing authority.

For applicants who do not have computer access, the second best option for mailing in an application is by contacting a participating housing authority and having an application mailed to them. Copies of a Section 8 application by mail will not be accepted, only the original.

How to Apply for Massachusetts Section 8 Housing in Person 

Applying for Section 8 housing in Massachusetts can also be completed in person. Applicants can either visit their local housing authority to pick up a copy of the application, have a copy mailed to them to return it in person, or print out a copy from the internet to bring it back in person. There are a few reasons why submitting a low-income housing application in person is helpful, despite the fact it may be more time consuming. An in-person visit to the local housing authority will provide applicants with the chance to find help filling out the application, as well as have all of their questions answered by trained professionals. Applicants should only visit one housing authority to submit one application per family.

What happens after you submit a Section 8 application form in Massachusetts? 

Once a Massachusetts Section 8 application is submitted, an applicant will be eligible to be placed on the centralized waiting list.  While there is no exact timeframe in which an applicant will be considered for housing assistance, being placed on the waiting list will be the best step toward doing so. Applicants who submit a Section 8 application online will have the option to log back into their account at any time and check the waiting list status. Having this capability is often why applicants choose to apply online in the first place. When submitting an application by mail or in person, there is no way to verify waiting list status except for the mailed updates by the local housing authority.

Applicants will have a faster chance of being selected if there is one or more family member who meets the preferences for approval. Participating housing authorities will use certain preferences to determine quicker approval, such as:

  • Disabilities
  • Active duty military
  • Elderly 
  • Displacement from the Board of Health
  • Displacement by hate crimes
  • Near-elderly
  • Displacement by natural disaster
  • Extremely low income
  • Displacement by violence

After a MA Section 8 application is submitted, it will be up to the applicant to keep his or her family information as current as possible. When the local housing authority references the waiting list for new approvals for vouchers, they will contact applicants based on the information provided on the application. In cases where the application for Section 8 is not current and does not have the most up-to-date address, email or telephone information, that applicant will lose his or her chance at a voucher as well as his or her place in line. While there may not be a universal Section 8 application status check, all applicants should submit changes to contact information as quickly as possible.

Find your local HUD in MA, here.