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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 assistance
b. questions from those who have already applied and are on a waiting list

General Application Questions

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 www.cir.org website. HAMC also has a list of emergency resources here.

G2. How do I get on the waiting list for housing assistance? Are your waiting lists open and accepting applications?

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 lists?

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, etc.

G5. What are the eligibility requirements?

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 application?

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 environment.

G8. I had a problem with another housing authority a few years ago. Will this affect my application?

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 list.

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 Wait List.

G12. Where can I live? What areas of Maricopa County do you have jurisdiction?

See our Service Area map.

G13. Where are the Public Housing units located?

The names and locations of Public Housing communities are listed in our 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 application?

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 number.

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 assistance.

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 www.cir.org.

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 apply separately?

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 with me?

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 program?

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 housing program.

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 application. 

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 be.

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 materials.

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 the unit?

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 request.

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 deposit required?

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 unpaid bills.

Section 8 landlords may also charge a fee for tenant screening.

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