Waiting Lists and Public Housing
Authored By: Iowa Legal Aid
Q: I have applied for a voucher, but it may take two years or more for my name to come up. What can I do?
A: Most Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) do have long waiting lists. There may be some things that you can do in the meantime.
Ask about the priorities. Some people may be given a priority on the waiting list. Ask your PHA what the priorities are. Even if you did not come under any priorities when you applied, you might later on. If so, let the PHA know about it.
It is possible that the wait might be shorter in another area. You can apply at more than one PHA. You can find a list of PHAs on the Internet, at:
You can also consider applying for other kinds of subsidized apartments. Many cities in Iowa have apartments that are privately owned but still have some rental subsidy. You can see what is available in your county by going to the United Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) website or the United States Department of Agriculture website.
For Rural Rental Housing possibilities, click here to get to the web page with a map of Iowa and click on your county for details:
See if you qualify for housing for people with disabilities. Iowa has some housing that is set aside for persons 62 or older and persons with disabilities. The waiting list at these housing projects may be much shorter than the voucher waiting list. Even if you don't qualify by age, you might qualify as a person with disabilities. To qualify as a person with disabilities, you have to meet the same standards used by Social Security. However, you do not have to actually receive Social Security disability benefits. You can have a doctor sign a form that says you meet the disability standards used by Social Security.
The option of having a medical doctor sign a form is important. It can take years to get Social Security disability benefits. In the meantime, people with disabilities may have a very hard time paying for food and shelter. If your doctor will sign a form that you are disabled, you may at least be able to get decent, safe housing. The form is usually available from the housing provider.