FAQ - General
Eligibility and Wait List Questions
DISCLAIMER: While these answers here are
believed to be correct and according to HAMC / HUD
policy, every situation is different and many
factors may influence each individual situation. All
HAMC decisions and rules must conform to federal,
state and local laws, as well as HUD policy and
approved HAMC operational guidelines
This section has two parts:
a. general eligibility
questions from those applying for housing
b. questions from those who have already applied
and are on a waiting list
G1. Some one I know has lost their home and has
no place to sleep, can you help?
There is no emergency or immediate assistance
available through the public housing or Section 8
programs. For immediate assistance please contact a
non-profit agency you may find on the
website. HAMC also has a list of emergency resources
G2. How do I get on the waiting list for housing
assistance? Are your waiting lists open and
The Section 8 waiting list only opens for a week
every two years because of the immense demand.
Before new people can be added the existing
people on the wait list must be processed. This
can take several years.
Check the status
of our Housing Choice Voucher program.
To apply for the Public Housing Waiting Lists (one
or more sites) you may come
into any of our offices and pick up one or more. You may also
call or email us and ask for one to be mailed to
you. More information on
our Public Housing program.
G3. How do I find out MY status of the waiting
The only information that will be provided to a
caller in reference to their status on the waiting
lists is whether they are currently active on the
list. No position numbers and no approximate dates
as to when the family will be called in for
appointments will be given.
G4. What kinds of assistance are available? What
is the difference between ‘public housing’ and
‘housing choice vouchers’ (also called ‘section 8’)?
Public Housing assistance is tied to the specific
unit that you rent in one of the properties owned by
HAMC. The Housing Authority of Maricopa County (HAMC)
owns and manages about 800 units in 16 communities
throughout Maricopa County.
Section 8 is a voucher that allows you to rent
anywhere you want to, within
certain restrictions of jurisdiction, eligibility,
G5. What are the eligibility
Refer to our
Section 8 Information
for voucher program requirements.
G6. Do you do background checks on applicants?
G7. My son had a problem with the law. He lives
with me. Is this going to be a problem on my
Yes, but it depends on the crime committed and
how long ago. HAMC screens for felonies committed in
the past three years.
Applicants and tenants may be screened for criminal
and drug related activities. It is the goal of the
HAMC to provide a safe, comfortable and drug-free
G8. I had a problem with another housing
authority a few years ago. Will this affect my
It is possible, depending on how long ago and
what the nature of the problem was. HAMC does verify
a HUD “former tenant” database to see if any
applicant has unpaid charges. Persons owing money to
other Housing Authorities are not eligible to move
in and receive HAMC assistance. Please consult HAMC
staff if you have any questions about this.
G9. Can anybody apply for an open waiting list? Do I
have to pay a fee?
Yes, anyone may apply for any open waiting list.
No, fees are not allowed for placement on a waiting
G10. Will I have to pay anything for a house or
apartment? How is my rent calculated?
Probably. Participant rent is calculated using Gross
Income minus allowable
deductions minus a utility allowance. According to
HAMC policy, there is a minimum tenant rent of $50.
G11. Can I be more than one wait list?
Yes. You may apply for any and all HAMC waiting
lists that are open.
HAMC has one Section 8 Voucher Wait List and four
Public Housing Wait Lists. In most cases applicants
on the Public Housing Wait Lists are served much
more rapidly than those on the Section 8 voucher
G12. Where can I live? What areas of Maricopa County
do you have jurisdiction?
G13. Where are the Public Housing units located?
The names and
locations of Public Housing communities are listed
service area jurisdiction map.
G14. But I want to live in Phoenix (or Mesa, Tempe,
Glendale, Scottsdale, Chandler, etc.)…
What do I do? Can I transfer my waiting list
HAMC properties are generally located in the smaller
cities and unincorporated areas of the County. Most
of the larger cities in the Metropolitan Phoenix
area have their own Housing Agencies that serve the
populations of each city.
Waiting List applications cannot be transferred
between Housing Authorities.
G15. How do I contact other Housing Authorities in
the Phoenix area? Are they accepting applications?
We have a page listing
other housing agencies in the
Valley. Only they can provide
current, correct information on their programs. You
must contact each housing agency separately.
G16. I am not a US citizen. I don’t have a Social
Security number. Can I apply?
HUD rules stipulate that to receive housing
assistance you must be a US citizen or have eligible
immigrant status and you must have a Social Security
G17. Why do you need so much information? Why do you
want to know about the family composition, status
and income of all family members?
Federal regulations for housing assistance requires
information on household
composition and total household income. If you do
not wish to provide such
information, you will not receive housing
G18. I am a victim of domestic violence. Can you
help me immediately?
There is no emergency or immediate assistance
through Section 8 or Public
Housing programs. You may obtain emergency
assistance through a non-profit
agency that you may find at
G20. Do I have to update my information when I move?
How do I do this?
It is your responsibility to notify this housing
agency in writing of any changes to
your mailing address.
G22. Can I apply with my elderly mother? Can we be
on the wait list together under my name? Should we
You can apply as a family/household, or you may
apply separately. These are
choices you must make.
G23. If you do not provide ranking lists showing a
person’s place on the list, how do I know if I am
being treated fairly.
HAMC is required to abide by federal legislation and
HUD policies that govern the processing of
applications. These laws are very specific. HUD
policy gives local Housing Authorities the option of
setting ‘local preferences’ for their waiting lists.
These must be published and applied consistently to
all people on the wait list. The wait list and all
applications are regularly audited by HUD for
compliance to these rules.
G25. My boyfriend and I are not married. Can we
apply together? If I apply by myself can he live
HAMC cannot discriminate on the basis of familial
status. If both of you are
going to reside in the subsidized unit, then you
should apply as a “family”.
G26. I live in
California (or Texas, Ohio, or any other state or US
territory), can I apply for HAMC housing assistance?
Yes. Just follow the normal
application procedures and maintain a current
address. When you are called, you will
have to come to our offices in Arizona for the
initial interview and briefing.
G27. What types of income
are considered when determining eligibility or the
rent subsidy for a Public Housing or voucher
HAMC considers all sources and forms of income
from all household members. This includes but is
not limited to: a. wages, overtime, salaries,
fees, tips, commissions, bonuses, any money
received for services; b. money received from a
business or profession; c. interest from savings
and bank accounts, dividends, stock or
partnership distributions; d. social security
payments (SSA, SSI); e. annuities and insurance
payments of any kind; f. retirement funds and
pensions; g. disability benefits of any kind,
regardless of the source; h. unemployment or
worker’s compensation; i. severance pay; j.
welfare assistance (DES related, AFDC, TANF); k.
any support payments including child support
payments, alimony, or other proceeds from a
divorce or court judgment; l. contributions or
gifts from persons who do not live with you; m.
bills or debts paid for you by others; n. armed
forces pay; and o. any death benefits received
(from others) including pensions and insurance.
If a person is in doubt, assume all money or
benefits received are income. It is the
applicant’s or tenant’s responsibility to report
all family income. Failure to do so is a
violation of federal laws and HUD rules and may
result in termination from the wait list or
Proof of income is only required at the initial
briefing or at the time of recertification. Do
not send copies of income information with your
G28. HAMC also wants to
know if I have any substantial assets. Why?
What kinds of assets must I report?
HAMC needs information to evaluate if a person
or a family meets HUD-defined eligibility
guidelines. For obvious reasons, a person may
not in most cases own property (real estate).
Many assets may produce income that should be
included in eligibility and rent calculations.
These are: checking and savings accounts,
certificates of deposit, stocks or bonds,
savings certificates, money market funds, any
type of investment account, trust funds, any
type of retirement accounts (private, IRA,
Keogh, etc.), inheritances, lottery winnings,
life insurance policies, as well as any lump sum
payment received or scheduled and cash from the
sale of any asset or personal property. Note: If
you are in doubt, assume anything you own or
control except items of personal use is an asset
and report it to the Authority. Failure to
report assets may result in loss of eligibility
or termination from a HAMC Program.
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Waiting List related questions
G31. I am on the waiting list. How long does it take
to get a house or voucher?
If you are on the Section 8 Wait List It may be up
to several years before your name comes to the top
of the list and be called to receive a voucher. Once
your name is at chosen, you must attend a briefing,
receive your voucher, locate a unit, have it
inspected and then move in. This part of the process
may take another 60 days or longer.
The Public Housing Wait List is shorter than the
Voucher Wait List and moves more quickly. The
expected time to receive a unit varies depending
upon the region, but sometimes an applicant is
called in as little as 6 months after applying and
many receive a unit within four years.
G32. What is my number on the list? How many people
are ahead of me? How many people are processed each
month? How long will it take?
HAMC’s policy is to not give a ‘ranking’ position
number. In most cases, a move-in depends upon
another person leaving the unit or a person giving
up the voucher. We have little control over this, so
we cannot speculate as to how long your wait will
G33. How often do I have to update my information on
the wait list?
You MUST notify HAMC in writing immediately if you
have a change in mailing address. If we cannot
contact you, you will not be called.
Periodically HAMC purges its wait list. This means
that because we do not hear from people for a long,
long time we send out notices to people asking them
to confirm their interest of remaining on the Wait
List and to update personal information. People who
do not respond to a purge letter will be taken off
the Wait List.
G34. A friend and I applied at the same time, but
yesterday she got a call to come in to receive
housing. Why was I not called?
She may have different preferences or household size
requirements than you or some other specifics that
we cannot discuss. Also, you may have been sent a
letter and because you had a change of address that
was not reported, you did not receive a notice.
G35. I have received a letter saying that a unit
/voucher is available. What is the move-in process.
This is information is provided to you at your
briefing. Please read your briefing
G36. I have received a call saying that my number
has come up and that I should come in for an
interview or briefing. What documents should I take?
That information should be provided to you in your
appointment letter, or by the
person making the call to you. The basic documents
are always: Birth Certificates, Social Security
Cards, Picture ID for adults, proof of income, bank
statements, names & addresses of medical providers
(for elderly and disabled households).
G37. I am on the Public Housing waitlist and have
been offered a unit that I don’t like. I want a
location closer to my work. What happens if I refuse
According to HAMC
Public Housing policy, an applicant may refuse a
unit with no penalty (Example: unit is
too far away, no transportation from location,
don’t like unit, etc.). On a second refusal the
applicant is either relocated to the bottom of
the wait list or withdrawn at the applicant's
G38. Can I withdraw from the wait list?
Yes, if at any time you no longer feel you want
to be on a waiting list, you may
write us and state that you wish to be removed.
G39. I have been on the wait list for two years
but now I have to move to New York (or anywhere
else). Can I transfer my position to my daughter who
is listed in the application?
The Head of Household (HOH) on each application
on the Wait List may submit a letter stating that
he/she is giving up his/her position to another
family member. The person you designate to take your
place as the Head of Household MUST be on your
original application. You cannot transfer your
application to a third party.
G40. Do I have to pay any fees to move in? Is a
Most landlords, including HAMC, will charge a
security deposit that is your responsibility to pay.
A perspective tenant must be able to turn on
utilities in their name. If a person has
outstanding utility bills, they will not be able
to to move in. The utility company may also
require a deposit if there is a history of
Section 8 landlords may also charge a fee for