Although the Housing Choice Voucher Program is the largest rental assistance program in the nation, it does have limited funding. As rental prices increase, the demand for housing subsidy also increases, often exceeding the limited resources available. Long waiting periods are common. In fact, an agency may close its waiting list to new applicants when it has more families on the list than can be assisted in the near future.
Agencies may establish local guidelines for selecting applicants from its waiting list. For example, an agency may give a preference on the waiting list to a family who is homeless or involuntarily displaced due to emergency. Families who qualify for any such local preferences would move ahead of other families on the list. Each agencies local preferences are likely to reflect the specific housing needs and the priorities of its surrounding community.