How to Apply for Section 8 in Washington D.C.

A Washington D.C. Section 8 application can be submitted in three different ways. Section 8 candidates can apply for low income housing online, by mail or in person. 

The District of Columbia Housing Authority (DHCA) opens and closes their waiting list periodically based on housing availability. Those hoping to benefit from rent assistant in the D.C. area should check with the DCHA to determine if it is currently possible to apply for Section 8. While the DCHA is the only public housing authority (PHA) in Washington D.C., residents can also search for PHAs in Maryland or Virginia that have open waitlists. The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) encourages Section 8 applicants to consider multiple waiting lists while keeping in mind that PHAs offer preference to potential beneficiaries who live in their region.

How to Apply for Section 8 Online in Washington D.C. 

When the waiting list is open, the DCHA offers a Section 8 application online.  Visit the website to register for an account with your name, Social Security Number and contact information. After signing up for resident services, applicants will be able to download their form and begin the application on the DCHA website. 

The DCHA requires Section 8 candidates to schedule an appointment to drop off an application or complete one in person, so it is convenient to apply for low income housing in D.C. on the website to avoid any wait time. Additionally, the DCHA website offers services in multiple languages. 

How to Apply for Washington D.C. Section 8 Housing by Mail 

Call the DCHA to request that a low income housing application be mailed to you directly. Those with limited mobility, no access to a computer or a verified disability are entitled to a mailed form, and no appointment is necessary to complete a mail-in application. 

Send the completed forms to the DCHA. Do not mail any sensitive forms with your application. Documentation will only be required for the final placement interview. Additionally, any important papers that are lost in the mail cannot be recovered.

If you sign up for an account on the DCHA website, you will be able to perform a Section 8 status check online. If you do not have an account, it is important to call the housing authority to confirm your mail-in application. 

Candidates will be placed on a waitlist after their registration is successfully processed and will be able to check their placement within the waitlist. That ranking, however, does not entitle the applicant to housing assistance, which will not be issued until after the final interview. 

How to Apply for Washington D.C. Section 8 Housing in Person

The DCHA does not have any walk-in days for Section 8 applicants. To file a Section 8 application in person, it is necessary to call the office. Wait times may vary, but the benefit of applying in person is that staff will be available to answer any questions about how to apply for Section 8 housing in D.C.

The DCHA building is large enough that visiting applicants should ask for direction to the Client Placement Division. Section 8 voucher holders who schedule appointments to drop off the yearly update form will visit this same office and mailed applications will be forwarded to the Client Placement Division. 

What happens after you submit a Section 8 application form in Washington D.C.? Applicants who have filed their HUD Section 8 application with the DCHA and met primarily eligibility requirements will be placed on the appropriate waiting list. Wait times in DC can vary from one to 10 years, and applicants will be summoned for a final interview before they receive rental assistance. Learn the Section 8 eligibility requirements in D.C. before applying for housing vouchers to check if you meet any of the district’s preferential criteria. 

Due to the length of the waiting list for the DCHA, D.C. residents should also consider applying to nearby PHAs in Virginia and Maryland. The Housing Choice Voucher Program is federally-funded, meaning that United States residents can apply to the waiting lists of PHAs that do not operate in their district. Housing authorities offer preference to residents who live in their district, but may still offer shorter waiting lists. Interested applicants should call multiple PHAs near them to ask how to apply for housing assistance in that district. 

To prepare for the final placement interview, Section 8 beneficiaries will have to provide verification of all the information provided on their application. A representative from the DCHA will invite the family to an interview to judge their suitability as tenants. To complete the application process and the placement interview, applicants should prepare: 

  • The Social Security cards of all family members. 
  • Recent bank statements and paystubs. 
  • The contact information of all employers. 
  • Legal verification of any preferential categories, such as disability. 
  • Any applicable forms for child support or government services. 
  • Verification of the value of any assets owned by the family. 

After the interview, a family must authorize a background check and release of information to complete their low income housing application. It is unwise to conceal any criminal history from the DCHA. Criminal history does not immediately eliminate a family from consideration for rent assistance, but it will be left to the discretion of the DCHA. Any falsely reported information will result in the family’s removal from all waiting lists. 

If you are on the waiting list and your family situation changes before you have been invited for the final interview, it is important to consistently update your application. Update forms are available, but candidates must make an appointment to drop off their update forms each year. 

To contact your Washington, D.C. HUD office, click here.