Information for applicants - CHA (2023)

CHA provides rental housing and rental assistance to low-income families, seniors, and people with disabilities.

Housing Programs and Eligibility

forwardTo complete your application, please review our eligibility requirements.

Family Housing Program

family housingCambridge's (formerly known as Family Housing) is owned and managed by the CHA and is reserved for singles or families.

University of Cambridge with more than 30 federal government backingfamily property.

Eligibility requirements:

  • Your household income cannot exceed 80% of the area median income.
  • The applicant or head of household must be at least 18 years old or an independent minor.

Family Housing Program Eligibility, Information and Fact Sheets

Seniors/Disabled Housing

Seniors/Disabled Housing(formerly known as Seniors/Disability Public Housing) includes properties owned and managed by CHA in Cambridge. They are intended for the elderly and disabled.

  • oneelderlyPerson is at least 60 years old.
  • AdisabledPeople have:
    • Physical or mental impairment that severely limits one or more major life activities;
    • impairment records; or
    • considered damaged.
    • disability doesnoIncludes current use or addiction to illicit drugs.

Eligibility requirements:

  • Your household income cannot exceed 80% of the area median income.
  • As stated above, you must meet the definition of elderly and/or disabled.
  • The applicant or head of household must be at least 18 years old or an independent minor.

Senior Housing Program Eligibility, Information and Fact Sheets

Single Room (SRO)

thisSingle Room Occupancy (SRO)Plan to share housing with other SRO participants.

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  • Single rooms are for one person and come with a lock and key.
  • In most SRO developments, tenants share kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Some developments offer a high degree of independent living, while others are supervised.

Eligibility requirements:

  • Your household income cannot exceed 50% of the area median income.
  • Admission to some SRO units is restricted to homeless individuals with sufficient evidence of homelessness.

SRO Program Eligibility and Information

MTW Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) (Section 8) Program

thisMTW Housing Choice Voucher (HCV)program (orSection 8scheme) subsidizes eligible households to rent privately owned market-rate apartments.

  • Typically, voucher holders spend 30% of their income on rent. CHA pays the remainder, up to the Cap (“Payment Standard”).

Eligibility requirements:

  • Your household income cannot exceed 50% of the area median income.
  • Applicants or families must be family or elderly and/or disabled.

MTW Housing Choice Voucher Program Eligibility and Information

Application and Waitlist

By submitting an application, you are requesting to be placed on a public waitlist for housing assistance. Applicants will receive a confirmation number to confirm receipt of the application. CHA will contact you for screening and a more detailed application (required for final eligibility).

Please note:Confirm that you have completed your applicationnoGuarantee your place on a waitlist or subsidy.

You may submit additional applications to be placed on more waitlists. Each additional waitlist you select will be marked with a new application date and time.

Waitlist Status

  • Public Housing and Former Public Housing - Families(waitlist is open)
  • Public Housing and Former Public Housing - Seniors/Disabled(waitlist is open)
  • single occupancy(waitlist is open)
  • Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCV/Section 8)(waitlist is open)

Before starting the application process,Make sure you have:

  • Asocial Security numberHead of Household (or contact CHA for an alternate ID number)
  • thisname and date of birthall family members
  • thisincomeall family members
  • If you cannot print your confirmation number, be prepared to write it down.

For help completing the application, please contact the Housing Authority at 617-864-3020.

apply for translation

  • Click for a Spanish translation of this page
  • Click here to find a Haitian Creole translation of this page
  • Click here to translate this page into Portuguese

Check Waitlist Application Status

You can check the status of your application online by visitingApplicant PortalOr call the Waiting List Information Line at 617-499-7041. During normal business hours, Monday through Friday, staff are available to answer your questions. You must provide the Social Security number used on the original application for information.

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To learn more, check out ourApplicant Portal FAQs.

Family Information Change Form

It is the applicant's responsibility to notify CHA of any changes in family composition, contact information, income, and/or selection preferences. You can findApplicant PortalOr fill out one of the forms below.

  • familyinformationchange form
  • Portuguese Family Information Change Form
  • Spanish Family Information Change Form
  • Haitian Creole Family Information Change Form

Please visit ourSchedule Forms PageAccess other important forms.

important:Please make any changes to your application within 30 days of submission. Changes can be made inApplicant Portal, or downloadFamily Information Change Form.

Cambridge Housing Authority does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sex, colour, national origin, age, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital or family status. We provide equal opportunities for people with disabilities to participate in our programs, services and activities.

common problem


aI am interested in applying to the Cambridge Community Development Department (CDD) Inclusive Zoned Rental Housing Program. What is the difference between this project and CHA's project? How do I apply?

The City of Cambridge Community Development Department (CDD) administers the Inclusion Zone (IZ) Rental Housing Program. Inclusive rental units are located throughout the city in privately owned and managed developments. CDD maintains this pool of applicants to assist property owners in offering units to eligible families. These units are not owned or managed by CHA or the City of New York. CDD's IZ program is separate from CHA assistance and uses different waitlists and preference criteria. However, if you get a unit through the IZ program, you can use your CHA voucher in one of the IZ units. The application process for the CDD program is separate from the CHA waitlist. You can find more information on CDD's website:

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aWhy does my job number on the waitlist keep changing?

CHA's waitlist is sorted by date and time, and by eligible "preferences." The CHA provides additional preference/priority on the waitlist for applicants or veterans living or working in Cambridge and other specific emergency criteria.

  • If you are a non-preference applicant, your number may change as priority applicants continue to apply, as they will be ahead of you on the waiting list.
  • If you are a priority applicant, such as a Cambridge resident, there may be applicants who have priority over you. Examples include emergency applicants, current participants with approved reasonable accommodations, over-housing/accessible transfers, or other priority transfers.
aMy waitlist status says "Recommended to owner" on one of the site-based waitlists (SBWL) - what does this mean?
  • As applicants near the top of their respective waitlists, they may notice their status change from "waiting" to "referral to owner." This means that the owner has notified CHA of a current or anticipated vacancy and will begin screening applicants from CHA's waitlist. CHA has sent the owner a list of names with applicant contact information and the owner will contact you by mail to arrange for your screening. However, even if your status is "Referral to Owner," it may still be a long wait.
  • Example: Owner has 2 job openings, CHA sends owner the first 10 names on the list. Owner contacted and screened 10 applicants. You are number 8 on the list. If any of the 7 applicants ahead of you on the list are eligible and accepted for the unit, they will be ranked ahead of you because they are larger in number. The owner will contact you again as soon as another vacancy becomes available and you are next in line.
aMy waitlist status is "deleted". What does it mean?

There are a number of reasons why your waitlist status might be "removed."

  • Typically, once you get a voucher or lease for a unit, you are removed from all other CHA waitlists. In this case, your status may appear as "Deleted" or "Accepted for Program". The exception is if you rent an SRO unit - in this case you will only be removed from the SRO waitlist but will retain your place on all other CHA waitlists.
  • If your status shows "Deleted - No Response" or "Deleted - Returned to PO", it means that CHA sent an LOI and you did not respond to the mailing by the deadline, or CHA sent an LOI , but has been returned to us by post and/or is undeliverable. You may have moved without updating your address with CHA or notifying the Post Office of your new address. If CHA removes an applicant from the list for failure to respond, CHA will reopen the application if contacted within six months of removal.
aWhat is the "SRO" program?

The Single Room Occupancy (SRO) program provides housing for individuals living in groups, often with shared communal spaces. Some units receive federal subsidies, others state subsidies

aHow do I apply for CHA assistance?

For applications and information on all of CHA's currently open waitlists, please visit our online siteWaitlist Application InformationPage. To apply, scroll down and click the "Apply for CHA Housing Program" button.

aHow can I check my status on the CHA waitlist?
  • Applicants can log into the Applicant Portal (which is different from the online application) to check their status on the applied waitlist: users will need to "Create an Account" to get started.
  • Applicants may also call the information switchboard/waitlist line at 617-499-7041. For faster/self-service applicants, we encourage them to set up a portal account to check their status.
aHow do I know if I am eligible for CHA assistance?

CHA has different income limits for different programs. Generally, your total household income must be below a certain amount, based on your household size, to be eligible for assistance. Income limits are set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and are updated annually. For information on income limits for each program, visitApplicant Information Page.


Who is eligible for Cambridge Housing Authority? ›

There are over thirty federally-supported Cambridge family properties. Requirements for eligibility: Your Household Income must not exceed 80% of Area Median Income. The applicant or head of household must be at least 18 years old or an emancipated minor.

How do I get Section 8 immediately in Massachusetts? ›

Fill out an application at the local PHA or DHCD regional office for the area you wish to live. The application goes through a preliminary screening process before you're placed on a waiting list. Once space is open for you, an appointment is scheduled for your application review.

Is Chicago Housing Authority waiting list open? ›

Currently, the HCV wait list is closed.

How do I get Section 8 in Illinois? ›

Apply by contacting an IDHS Provider Agency in your area. Apply online. Assistance for tenants and landlords with pending cases in eviction court. More information online or call (866) 454-3571.

Who is local authority housing for? ›

Housing legislation and entitlement. You will only be entitled to housing from your local authority if: You are eligible for public funds. You have a connection to the local area.

What is the history of Cambridge Housing Authority? ›

Established under state law on December 9, 1935, Cambridge Housing Authority (CHA) provides long-term rental housing and rental assistance to more than 5,500+ low-income families, elders and disabled individuals through its Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Programs.

How much will Section 8 pay for a 2 bedroom in Massachusetts? ›

For example, your payment voucher is for a two-bedroom apartment. If the payment standard for a two-bedroom apartment is $2,036 and your household monthly adjusted income is $600, BHA will pay a maximum of $1,858.

Who is eligible for low income housing in Massachusetts? ›

To be eligible for state-aided public housing, your household income must be at or under 80 percent of the area median income. The income limits change periodically, please see the "Am I Eligible?" section for the current income limits.

What is the most Section 8 will pay? ›

The maximum housing assistance is generally the lesser of the payment standard minus 30% of the family's monthly adjusted income or the gross rent for the unit minus 30% of monthly adjusted income.

What state has the longest Section 8 waiting list? ›

The longest wait times among these large agencies are more than seven years in San Diego County, California, where there were 56,737 families on the waitlist at the end of 2020, and eight years in Miami-Dade, Florida, where the housing agency is processing applications it received during its most recent open enrollment ...

How much is a 2 bedroom Section 8 voucher in Chicago? ›

How much is a 2 bedroom Section 8 voucher in Chicago? A 2-bedroom Section 8 voucher in Chicago will typically cost around $1,300.

How long does it take to get approved for Section 8 in Chicago? ›

Once you fill out the application and provide all of the necessary documentation, an interview time will be set. From there, steps will be taken to process your application and submit it for final review to HUD. Within a few weeks, you'll be notified of your application approval or disapproval.

Can you buy a house with Section 8 in Illinois? ›

Though Section 8 Housing is designed to provide rental assistance, qualifying participants can also use the funds to purchase a home. Most families purchase a home and pay the same amount on a mortgage payment as they would to rent a house.

How much is low income in Illinois? ›

Number of PersonsExtremely Low 30% of MedianVery Low 50% of Median
4 more rows

Can a landlord refuse Section 8 in Illinois? ›

In Illinois, Section 8 is a voluntary program for landlords who opt to participate.

What is the most Housing Benefit you can get? ›

The maximum Housing Benefit you can get is the full amount of rent you have to pay. There are circumstances that might affect how much Housing Benefit you can get.

Who is the Chicago Housing Authority? ›

The Chicago Housing Authority is the second largest public housing agency in the nation. It serves more than 15,000 low-income public housing households, providing safe, decent and affordable housing in healthy, vibrant communities.

What is the difference between a local authority and a housing association? ›

The main difference is that council housing is provided directly by the local government, while housing associations are private, not-for-profit companies. Housing associations are responsible for the provision and maintenance of the housing stock, with residents receiving financial support to rent or buy their homes.

When did local authority housing start? ›

The Housing, Town Planning &c. Act 1919 (commonly called the Addison Act) provided central government subsidies for local authorities to finance the construction of 500,000 social homes within three years.

Who is the CEO of Cambridge Housing Authority? ›

Led by our Executive Director Michael J. Johnston, we oversee and direct the leaders of CHA's Communications & Policy, Fiscal Affairs, Human Resources, Leased Housing, Legal, Resident Services, Planning & Development and Operations Departments.

What is the Cambridge affordable housing Ordinance? ›

The City of Cambridge gained national attention in October 2020, when the City Council passed the 100 Percent Affordable Housing Overlay (AHO) ordinance. New analysis from the Center estimates that this ordinance could reduce affordable housing development costs by 10 to 15 percent per leasable square foot.

Can a family of 3 live in a 1 bedroom apartment in Massachusetts? ›

The regulations state that only two people can live in a one-bedroom apartment.

What is the maximum rent increase allowed in Massachusetts? ›

Rent Increases: There is no legal limit to the amount of rent a landlord can charge. However, in order for the rent increase to be valid, the landlord must provide the tenant proper notice of the raise in rent and the tenant must agree to it (signs the lease with the new monthly rent).

What is the income limit for Section 8 housing in Massachusetts? ›

Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP)
Family size18
Yearly Income$25,760$89,200

What is considered low income for one person in Massachusetts? ›

Household Size
Household Size100%200%
5 more rows

What is champ housing in Massachusetts? ›

Welcome to CHAMP (Common Housing Application for Massachusetts Programs). Using this site, you will be able to apply for state-aided public housing and the Alternative Housing Voucher Program (AHVP), and you will also be able to find any existing applications you may have.

What programs are there for housing in Massachusetts? ›

The 3 largest programs are: The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP), the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP), and the Alternative Housing Voucher Program (AHVP). Are you having trouble paying your rent because of COVID-19?

Where can I get Section 8 the fastest? ›

To apply for an emergency section 8 voucher, and to try to be given priority to bypass a waiting list (whether it is open or not), immediately call a local public housing authority (PHA) in your town or county near you.

Where are the most Section 8 houses? ›

Here are the top 10 best cities for low income housing, and the percentage of low income households the HUD programs can provide for:
  • Cambridge, Massachusetts – 35.8%
  • Spartanburg, South Carolina – 34.1% ...
  • Albany, Oregon – 33.7% ...
  • Hoboken, New Jersey – 32.1% ...
  • West Palm Beach, Florida – 31.8% ...
  • Pensacola, Florida – 31.5% ...
Jul 21, 2017

Which states have the most Section 8? ›

What States Have The Most Section 8 Affordable Housing?
  • Washington, D.C. - comes as no surprise because it has the highest poverty rate in the nation. ...
  • New York - also is no surprise due to its vast population, need for public housing, and aggressive housing initiatives.

How much does Section 8 pay landlords in Chicago? ›

$2015.00 is the number you can expect to get from the HACC section 8 program as a landlord.

What is the income limit for Section 8 in Chicago? ›

Who can Qualify for Section 8? The main factor in determining your eligibility is your household income level. For Illinois residents must not exceed the low-income limit, which ranges from $41,500 for a one-person household to $78,250 for an eight-person household.

How much is a 3 bedroom Section 8 voucher in California? ›

Voucher Payment Standards
Bedroom SizePayment Standard
3 more rows

Can a landlord refuse Section 8 in Chicago? ›

It is a violation of the Chicago Fair Housing Ordinance to refuse to rent to an individual only because he or she intends to use a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher.

How do I check my waiting list for Chicago Section 8? ›

If you have not received a letter confirming your waitlist status, please call: 1-844-242-4532 (1-844-CHA-4532). You may also visit CHA's main office at 60 E. Van Buren, Chicago IL 60605 to determine if you have been selected for any of the waitlists.

How does Section 8 work in Chicago? ›

In Chicago, Section 8 tenants apply to apartments the same way any other tenant would—through the landlord's standard application process. If they are approved by the landlord, a CHA representative will inspect the property to ensure that the unit meets basic housing quality standards.

Does Section 8 consider a car an asset? ›

Net family assets DO NOT include the following: IMPORTANT: The owner does not compute income from any assets in this paragraph. 1. Personal property (clothing, furniture, cars, wedding ring, other jewelry that is not held as an investment, vehicles specially equipped for persons with disabilities).

Can you evict Section 8 tenants in Illinois? ›

If you have a Housing Choice Voucher, your landlord may evict you for not paying rent, or breaking a rule in the lease. If you live in Project-Based housing, your landlord must have "good cause" to evict you. This includes: Not paying rent.

What disqualifies from public housing in Illinois? ›

You MIGHT be rejected if the background check reveals… Drug-related crimes; • Violent crimes; or • Other crimes that could threaten the health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment of the building by other residents or PHA employees. The PHA will look at arrests and convictions that occurred within the past 5 years.

How much food stamps will I get in Illinois? ›

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Effective October 2022 Maximum Monthly SNAP Amounts
Number of People in Your HouseholdMaximum Gross Monthly Benefits
1$ 281
2$ 516
3$ 740
4$ 939
6 more rows

What is a living wage in Illinois? ›

As of 2023, the living wage is $14.42/hr with employer-provided healthcare benefits, and $18.03/hr without.

What is the monthly income limit for Medicaid in Illinois? ›

Effective April 2023 – March 2024, the Medically Needy Income Limit (MNIL) in IL is $1,215 / month for an individual and $1,643 / month for a couple. The “spenddown” amount is the difference between one's monthly income and the MNIL.

What is the new Section 8 law in Illinois? ›

J.B. Pritzker also signed a bill which amends the Illinois Human Rights Act to ban discrimination in housing based on source of income, including income such as housing choice vouchers (HCVs), sometimes referred to as Section 8 vouchers. This change becomes effective on Jan. 1, 2023.

Can you be evicted in Illinois right now? ›

Pritzker has announced that starting Aug. 1, 2021 landlords will be able to file for eviction for nonpayment, and that evictions will not be enforced until Oct. 3, 2021. Visit the City's Eviction and Lockout Resources page for further information.

What can a landlord not do in Illinois? ›

Under the federal Fair Housing Act and Illinois law, it is unlawful for a landlord to discriminate in the leasing of a dwelling house, flat, or apartment against prospective tenants who have children under the age of 14 years.

How much does Section 8 pay in Massachusetts? ›

The short answer is that under Section 8 rules, when you first rent a unit or move to a new unit, your share of the rent will be between 30% and 40% of your household's adjusted income. Later on in your tenancy, your share of the rent may be even more than 40% if the landlord raises the rent.

Is it illegal to not accept Section 8 in Massachusetts? ›

In Massachusetts, it is illegal for a landlord to discriminate against you because you have a Section 8 voucher. If, when you ask landlords whether they take Section 8 vouchers, you are told "no," you may be facing discrimination. For example, a landlord may say outright that she will not rent to people with Section 8.

What state has the most Section 8 housing? ›

Mississippi has the largest HUD households with an average 2.4 residents per housing unit. New Hampshire has the smallest households with an average 1.7 residents. Utah has the smallest number of HUD residents per capita at 1.12%. The District of Columbia has the highest number of HUD residents per capita at 7.76%.

What is Section 8 of Hacla? ›

The Section 8 program is financed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to provide rent subsidies in the form of housing assistance payments (HAP) to private Landlords on behalf of extremely low, very low-income individuals/families, senior citizens, and persons with disabilities.

What can cause you to lose your Section 8 voucher in Massachusetts? ›

The most common reasons for losing your Section 8 voucher are:
  • Breaking any of the program's family obligations. ...
  • Criminal activity or alcohol abuse. ...
  • Violent criminal activity,
  • Drug-related criminal activity,
  • Not paying rent on time,
  • Not keeping utilities like gas, electric, or water on in the unit,

What is the default local minimum rent for Section 8? ›

➢ Minimum Rent Hardship Exemptions. PHAs have flexibility to establish a minimum rent between $0 and $50 for the Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) programs. For other Section 8 programs, such as project based rental assistance, HUD regulations set the minimum rent at $25 per month.

What is income limit for Masshealth? ›

2023 MassHealth Income Standards and Federal Poverty Guidelines
Family Size200% Federal Poverty Level300% Federal Poverty Level
6 more rows

What is considered low income in Massachusetts 2023? ›

100% of the Federal Poverty Level Guidelines
Family SizeAnnualWeekly
5 more rows

What do you say when someone asks if you accept Section 8? ›

Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (“CHRO”) complaint when it comes to Section 8 programs – always answer “yes” (no more, and no less) when asked by a prospective tenant if you accept Section 8 vouchers, and simply move directly to the application process.

What are the Section 8 laws in Massachusetts? ›

How it works: Eligible households are issued a Section 8/HCVP Voucher. The family is then given up to 120 days to locate their own rental housing, which can be located anywhere in the country, or they can elect to remain in their current unit provided it meets program requirements.

What is an example of income discrimination? ›

Examples & Warning Signs of Source of Income Discrimination

Refusing to rent to an individual who is receiving public benefits, or refusing to use all regular and verifiable income in determining whether an applicant meets minimum income requirements.


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