Information for Voucher Holders

CHA welcomes Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Section 8 Voucher holders.

This page gives information about leasing with a voucher and requirements while you have the voucher.

Finding an Apartment with HCV

CHA does not offer formal housing search assistance to HCV participants.

Voucher holders may search for housing online, in newspapers, and in real estate publications. You should also check CHA’s weekly apartment list, which is updated as landlords with units to rent contact CHA.

Financial Stability and Savings Program (FSS+)

CHA and Compass Working Capital have partnered since 2012 to offer the Financial Stability and Savings Program (FSS+) to CHA residents.

  • FSS+ is an enhanced asset building and financial capability program.
  • FFS+ helps low income families and individuals build financial assets and knowledge to create pathways out of poverty. 
  • FSS+ participants have collectively saved $998,220 through the FSS+ program. 
  • Over 66 households have graduated from the CHA compass FSS+ program. 

If you are a current HCV Section 8 voucher holder and would like to participate in the FSS+ program please complete an FSS Application.

More information about FSS can be found here

Other Information

Please visit our Program Forms page for access to other important forms.

FAQs

Applicants

The City of Cambridge Community Development Department (CDD) administers the Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) Rental Housing Program. Inclusionary rental units are located throughout the City in developments that are privately owned and managed. CDD maintains this pool of applicants to assist owners in making units available to eligible households. These units are not owned or managed by CHA or by the City. CDD’s IZ program is separate from CHA assistance and uses a different waitlist and preference criteria. However, you may use your CHA voucher in one of the IZ units if you are offered a unit through the IZ program. The application process for CDD’s program is separate from CHA’s waitlist. You can find more information on CDD’s website at: https://www.cambridgema.gov/CDD/housing/forapplicants/rentalapplicantpool

CHA’s waitlists are ordered by date and time as well as by eligible “preference.” CHA provides additional preference/priority on the waitlist for applicants who live or work in Cambridge, or are a veteran, and other specific emergency criteria.

  • If you are a non-preference applicant then your number will likely change as applicants with a preference continue to apply, as they will be placed ahead of you on the waitlist.
  • If you are a preference applicant, such as a Cambridge resident, there may be applicants with a higher preference than yours. Such as emergency applicants, current participants with an approved Reasonable Accommodation, Overhoused/Accessibility transfers, or other priority transfers.
  • As applicants near the top of their respective waitlist, they may notice their status change from “waiting” to “referred to owner.” This means that the owner has notified CHA of a current or anticipated vacancy and will begin to screen applicants off of CHA’s waitlist. CHA has sent the owner a list of names with applicant contact info and the owner will reach out via mail to schedule you for a screening. However, even if your status is “referred to owner” there still may be a substantial wait time.
  • Example: the owner has 2 vacancies and CHA sends the owner the top 10 names on the list. The owner reaches out to the 10 applicants and conducts screening. You are #8 on the list. If any of the 7 applicants before you on the list are eligible and accept the unit then they will be placed before you since they have a higher number. The owner will reach out to you again once there is another vacancy and you are next in line.

There are a number of different reasons that your waitlist status may be “Removed.”

  • Generally, once you are issued a voucher or lease in a unit you are removed from all other CHA waitlists. In this case, your status may show as “Removed” or “Admitted to Program.” The exception to this is if you lease in an SRO unit – in which case you will be removed from the SRO waitlist only, but will maintain your position on all other CHA waitlists that you are on.
  • If your status shows “Removed-No Response” or “Removed-PO Returned” this means that either CHA sent out an interest letter and you did not respond to the mailing by the deadline, or CHA sent out an interest letter and it was returned to us by the post-office and/or was undeliverable. You may have moved and not updated your address with CHA or notified the post office of your new address. In cases where CHA has removed an applicant from the list for failure to respond, CHA will reopen the application if contacted within six months of the removal.

The Single Room Occupancy (SRO) program provides housing for individuals in congregate living, typically with shared common spaces. Some units are assisted with federal subsidies and others are assisted with state subsidies

The application for and information about all of CHA’s currently open waitlists is available online on our Waitlist Application Information page. To apply, scroll down and click the “Application for CHA Housing Programs” button.

  • Applicants can log into the Applicant Portal (different from the online application) to check their status on waitlists they have applied to: https://cha.applicants4housing.com/Public/Login/Login.aspx. First time users will need to “create an account” to get started.
  • Applicants may also call the Informational Switchboard/Wait List line at 617-499-7041. For quicker/self-service applicants are encouraged to set up a portal account to check their status.

CHA has different income limits for different programs. Generally, your total household gross income must be below a certain amount, according to your family size, in order to qualify for assistance. Income limits are set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and are updated annually. Information about the income limits for each program are available on the Information for Applicants page.

Moves & Transfers

  • Your ability to move may depend on the type of assistance you have (i.e. tenant-based or project-based voucher).
  • For voucher holders, contact your Leasing Officer to set up a move appointment. They need to determine if you are eligible to move and may need to update your income and other information.
  • For current CHA residents living at one of our sites, contact your property management office about a transfer to obtain the official Transfer Request Form or click below to download or view it now: