I see so many with the same question how can I find help to find housing? In my experience over the last two years is you have to do it yourself because there simply is no one your lucky to even get thru on phone. I went online and found the website called Affordable Housing online they keep lists of all the open wait-lists for the entire country. When I started I found the wait-lists that were open and I sent a formal letter to please put me on their wait-lists and I actually managed to get on a lottery which is basically being picked from a list just to get on a wait-list which is nuts but that’s what it is I was able to last year get on at least 15 wait-list for low income senior apts and they are just now begining to contact me that I am near the top or at the top of the wait-list and they will send you the application or have you go to where ever the place is and fill out an application be prepared to fill out an application every time you turn around then they forward it to a HUD compliance person and you can bet they will nitpick every single thing and if they don’t like something which I think you can count on it being sent back then you have to correct or explain whatever it is. I put in a fair amount of work doing this but found it far better than having to run around exposing myself to more people than I do in my own day hoping COVID isn’t still around even though it is I didn’t have to deal with over worked HUD employees or housing assistants who are so bogged they don’t even know where to start. But it can be done and you can see if your still active on the lists you got on. Honestly though if you don’t have a car, if you don’t have a computer or don’t know how to use one well you are not going to get anywhere. The worst part for people seeking housing in Sonoma County there are absolutely no open wait-lists for anything as of this time March 2023, and no idea when any will open but that should be obvious to those out there who are just at the end of their rope. That’s my advice anyway, it worked for me now it is just waiting for an apt at one of the places to become available. Wish it wasn’t so but it’s the only thing I could do because you just waisting valuable time trying to get a worker because they are up to their necks with people who need to be walked and helped thru the process but again if your good researching online and filling out tons of forms I would try doing it yourself. They don’t even let it be known you can do it without assistance . Good luck to you all and if you don’t mind the thought of moving there are 49 other states you can find open wait-lists the more remote in some cases the more open wait-lists, currently there are senior apts available in Chico, Oroville, and Gridley and hey they have open wait-lists in Hawaii right now and the Midwest usually as well as Alaska no one seems to want to move there. Again just keep at it and if you got a minute write a letter of complaint to the regional headquarters for FHEO in S,F they are at One Sansome Street, suite 1200 and let them know what you are going thru they will never try to fix things if we don’t complain about not being able to get any help I wrote them don’t let them drive you to depression we should not have to go thru what thousands are facing. And again good luck
Laurel, thank you for your post and sharing your experience, It is honest and direct. This was my favorite part
We wrote an article to help people verify their waiting list status after applying, so we totally agree that it’s difficult but it can be done and congrats that you saw it through. You can read it here
A bit of advise for you Laurel,
You may want to research, is confirm with your PHA if you will need to a do separate lease agreement with the senior apartment building or if the agreement will be managed by the PHA. You may want to ask how you can be prepared for that if you haven’t already. Based on our research it seems for senior section 8 housing project based vouchers this is the lease requirements the PHA will have an agreement like this: https://www.hud.gov/sites/dfiles/PIH/documents/PHOGLeaseRequirements.pdf
Hopefully you don’t have to do a separate leasing agreement with the apartment building for senior housing voucher. We bring this up because many of readers who were accepted to the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) aka section 8 program, reported the disappointment (to say the least ) because they didn’t know they would need a lease agreement with a landlord after being approved for Section 8. We wish the PHA did a better job at this. Many applicants are accepted but don’t take into account background checks. credit checks, employment verification, move in costs and having to compete with other applicants for apartments.
We don’t mean to scare you, this might not be the case for you as you know PHA and employees manage their polices differently. But you have come so far we want you to keep pushing to cross all t’s and dot all i’s, until you have the keys in your hand to your new apartment!
We are going to pin your comment and just add some content and links to some articles, HUD resources and more for anyone willing to read and learn from your experience. Hearing comments like these are really great for our community as getting housing doesn’t come easy for anyone these days but as you say “it can be done”
Obtaining affordable housing from HUD sponsored programs like Housing Vouchers can be a difficult and time-consuming task, especially if you have a limited income or are dealing with additional problems. The author of this post has shared their own experience of looking for affordable housing as well as some useful tips for others who are also are in need of low income assistance and housing. This is a message of strength, persistence, patience, empathy and follow through. It’s not easty but it can be done.
One alternative is to visit the Affordable Housing Online website, which displays available waitlists for low-income housing across the country. The author mentions that they were able to apply to numerous waitlists and eventually won a lottery to be placed on the waitlists. While this procedure can be tedious and time-consuming, securing inexpensive home can be beneficial. Here you can find a link to locate all HUD sponsored housing in your area. You will be able to apply for these programs. Searching your area in google for “open rental assistance waiting lists”
HUD Offices Public Housing Authority Multifamily Properties Assisted Low-income Housing Tax Credit Properties USDA Rural Housing Public Housing Buildings Public Housing Developments Homeless Services/CoC Grantee Area
The author also advises being prepared to fill out numerous applications and being patient while waiting for a response. They point out that HUD compliance officers can be extremely exacting, therefore it is critical to be diligent and exact while filling out applications. You must also be truthful. The PHA will confirm your application info. For list of PHA data bases go here, follow the instructions and select your state, contact the PHA in the same zip code as you or near as possible
To add, accepting a Housing Choice Voucher will require you to fill out an application for a lease agreement, This will require a credit check, back ground check and so forth. In most cases you will have to compete against other applicants for the unit. This isn’t the case for other housing programs like Project Based Vouchers and other emergency housing programs which may be a better fit for applicants
Another useful tip from the author is to consider relocating to a different state or to a more remote region. They say that there are open waiting lists in places like Hawaii and the Midwest, which can occasionally have a lower cost of living.
I did myself sent information they requested I am on to of the wait-list it’s like they are playing games. There telling me they don’t consider me homeless because I look clean and well kept. I go to women’s luncheon everyday to take care of my hygiene. So there several I am waiting on to respond back to me.
Thank you for your comment on my post, again I have reached the top of a wait-list for an apt in a senior complex. This one is in another county and the first thing I thought was do they not have anyone in that county that needs housing? Of course they do and yes I did get myself on that wait-list and heard back from them in under two weeks, I am glad of course but you would think they would house local applicants first. The other thing that gets me is the Fair Housing act says that the applications should be asking for the same things like your ID’s etc and follow the same procedures throughout all the HUD offices. Well since this is in another county is why they are not requiring an in person interview right off I am guessing thank goodness I couldn’t see driving the three hours each time they rejected and want you to fix your applicationds, and this time hey ask for verification of food stamp benefits and copy of your EBT card no one has ever asked me for that let alone this application needs to be submitted by March 31 and beginning in April they are stopping the extra benefit money for food stamps that were given due to COVID so it will be a fair difference in my food stamp allotment going from 180 down to a whopping whole 46 dollars so that’s going to make a difference when they do the math. Also I really don’t like that they want me to send three months of my bank statements with no redacting, personally I don’t think it is any of there business what or how I spend my money nor am I completely sure how to download it do I change the format or what? And what if you don’t know how? I am sure alot of seniors don’t have knowledge on how to convert files. I decided I will just send it in the csv. Format it gets downloaded as and they can do what they want to with it but after a couple of years of this don’t think I am not concerned about having to send all my personal information photos of my identification and of my birth certificate now my stuff is out there on the internet for some criminal who has the knowledge on how to hack no one is safe from that I don’t care if they are govt or state affiliated I had gone to great lengths to make sure I keep my stuff private but that’s not easy when they want all this stuff sent to them online. What I think they should do is figure out a way to screen people who want housing first thing get it all approved and then maybe once they have all your current info then provide you with like a HUD ID card like what the new drivers license you have to have to fly within the country then that means you are cleared and I think it would save everyone alot of time and grief but then I also believe they want it to take a long time to house people so they don’t have to be paying out money for the cost of the apartment they pay. We often have a time limit to produce this stuff but HUD can take however long they want to when it comes to reviewing possible tenants for housing. I was reading on how to file a complaint about HUD and it tells you to call s housing assistant first to discuss your complaint before you actually file one. I called the number they provided of course it was a recording and that was three weeks ago, no call back. I filed my complaint anyway and don’t expect any results other than it made me feel better but they aren’t going to follow through why I would bet my bank statement on that. It still goes to say in my case I have been at it almost two years and have never spoken to a PHA or had any body that works for them contact me. Even when I get a notice that I am at the top of a wait-list, it’s just a generic letter probably used for everyone. So I will just keep plugging along and once I get housed if I ever do then I will start helping my friends who are not getting anywhere and don’t have a clue what to do and maybe I can at least get them on a wait-list. Again thanks for liking my last post even you guys are better at trying to point people in the correct direction because it obvious there are so many out there who are in worse spots than I am and you take time to offer encouragement. That’s more than we will get from HUD so thank you and so many are reaching out to you with the same issue they can’t get any help from HUD or even get a hold of a PHA. It’s shameful.