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How Long Do I Wait?

How Long Do I Wait

For the Housing Choice Voucher Program

How long is the wait for assistance?
There are approximately 137,000 families on the waiting list at this time. The waiting list for the Housing Choice Voucher Program closed effective 7/1/2023 to ALL except those meeting the Housing Authority of the County of Riverside’s First Level Preferences including eligible veterans, widows of veterans and those 70 years of age and older.  Funding will not allow all of the families on the waiting list to be assisted.  The Housing Authority currently has funding to assist approximately 10,000 families. Once all funding has been expended, families can only be added when a family that is being assisted leaves the program.   

Am I eligible to be assisted soon?
Because of the shortage of funding, ranking or preferences have been set up to assist those who are the most needy and the least likely to be able to improve their situations in the short term.  The preferences are as follows:


The Housing Authority (HA) has implemented the following preferences for selecting names from the waiting list. In accordance with California State Law, at each level of preferences, veterans and/or active duty servicemen and their spouse or widow/er will have priority. The Housing Authority will release families to result in a lease up of:

  • For the Section 8 Program: 75% of the families will be at or below 30% of the median income (extremely low income), and 25% of the families will be between 30% and 50% of the median income (very low income).

The release will be in accordance with Federal Regulations. A family must meet both of the characteristics of a "Level of Preference". If the First Level of Preference releases do not satisfy the regulations regarding extremely low income families, releases will be done at the second Level of Preference and then to the Third Level of Preference until the 75% extremely low income requirement is met.

First Level of Preference

County of Riverside Residency Preference, and

  1. Qualified veterans, or
  2. Elderly family who is homeless and is referred by Adult Protective Services (APD), a division within the County of Riverside department of Public Social Services, or
  3. Families or Foster Care Youth referred to the HA by the Riverside County Public Child Welfare Agency (PCWA) for admission through the Family Unification Program (HUD designated special purpose vouchers), or
  4. Participants who have utilized a special rental assistance program administered by (or under contract/Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with) the Housing Authority of the County of Riverside for a minimum of a six (6) month term and no longer require supportive services; or
  5. Participants transitioning or "moving up" who have been assisted through a Permanent Supportive Housing Program administered by a partnering agency and no longer require intensive supportive services; or
  6. Non-elderly persons at least 18 years of age and less than 62 years of age with disabilities who are transitioning out of institutional and other segregated settings, at serious risk of institutionalization, homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless, or
  7. Families whose head of household, spouse or co-head are receiving temporary emergency shelter services through the County's Project RoomKey program effective March 20,2020 and are 65 years and older or were pregnant at the time of admission to Project RoomKey.

Second Level of Preference

County of Riverside Residency Preference, and

  1. Families with minors or Elderly Families or Disabled Families

To meet the Riverside Residency preference, a family must live or work in Riverside County. 

To meet the Qualified Veteran preference, the following definitions apply:



VETERAN (Qualified):  A person who has a DD-214 or equivalent showing the branch of service, length of service and characterization of service in accordance to California Military and Veterans Code Section 980

For a widow/widower of a Veteran to be qualified for the Veterans preference, the registrant must supply the birth certificates, marriage certificate and death certificate.

VETERAN FAMILY: Veteran family means a veteran who is a single person or a family in which the head of household, or the spouse of the head of household, is a veteran.

To be considered an Elderly family for the purpose of meeting the waiting list preference the head of household or spouse/co-head must be 62 years of age or older.

To be considered a Disabled family for the purpose of meeting the waiting list preference the head of household or spouse/co-head must meet HUD's definition of disability.

Those families that meet all of the above will be selected by date and time of registration for the waiting list.

Any registrant selected from the waiting list must complete an application and have their eligibility determined for all qualifying preferences as well as all other eligibility factors. Families should not assume that they will receive housing assistance if they receive a letter requesting more information. When registering, families self-certify which preferences exist for them. Sometimes, when preferences are verified a family does not qualify for preferences claimed or other eligibility factors disqualify them.

If you want more information on the Public Housing Reform Act, there is a Summary Page in this site.

One bedroom will be assigned for every two nucleus household members, regardless of familial status, age or gender. A living room may be used as a bedroom/sleeping space for up to two persons. Non-nucleus members are not assigned a subsidy. Adding additional non-nucleus members will not be approved if it causes the family to be under-housed (overcrowded). This is in accordance with 24 CFR 982.401 (d)(2)(ii) & 24 CFR 982.402 (b)(1)(2). Please note: For relocations, the subsidy size may be different (smaller) that the subsidy size you are currently receiving.

The family members that are listed when a family is first leased under Section 8 is considered the “nucleus” family. The only time the number of bedrooms on a voucher will be increased is due to a change in family composition by:

  • marriage
  • birth
  • adoption
  • court awarded custody

Any additions to the family must first be approved by the Housing Authority in writing. The addition will not be approved if it causes overcrowding in the unit. Overcrowding is considered having more than two persons per bedroom and two in the living room.

If there is a disabled person in the family and special accommodations are requested regarding the number of bedrooms authorized, a third party verification of the need will be required. Please request the special accommodation through the Housing Specialist to whom you are assigned.

Renting to Relatives under Section 8 prohibited. Regulation, 24 CFR 982.306 (d) reads "The HA must not approve a unit if the owner is the parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, sister, or brother of any member of the family unless the HA determines that approving the unit would provide reasonable accommodation for a family member who is a person with disabilities." The regulation effective date is June 17, 1998.

24 CFR 982.615 (b) (3) "Assistance may not be paid on behalf of an owner.  An assisted person may not be related by blood or marriage to a resident owner. “