Waiting List FAQ

Are you accepting applications?

For information on the status of our waiting lists, please see the Waiting Lists page.

What does it mean if the waiting list is closed?

If a waiting list is closed, this means that the WBHA’s programs are still operating; however, due to the large number of families who are currently waiting for assistance, we are not accepting new applications.

Do you have emergency housing assistance?

No.  The WBHA does not have any type of emergency housing in either its Public Housing or HCV programs.  If you are in need of emergency housing, you may wish to contact the following:

  • Women’s Shelter:   Ruth’s Place (570) 822-6817
  • Men’s Shelter:         Mother Theresa Haven (570) 825-9948
  • Family Shelter:        Kirby Family House (570) 824-8380

What are some of the reasons that could prevent me from getting housing assistance?

There are many reasons why an application may be denied including, but not limited to:

  • Failed criminal background check
  • Previous evictions
  • Whether you or your household members owe any debts to us or to another subsidized housing property
  • Income over the federally-mandated income limits
  • Failure to appear for scheduled appointments
  • Failure to provide necessary documents or information for us to determine eligibility

All denials are based on the policies and regulations found in our Admissions and Continued Occupancy Policy (ACOP) for Public Housing and our Administrative Plan for the HCV program.  The WBHA is prohibited by federal law from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, familial status, and disability.

How does the WBHA determine the ranking for the waiting list?

Public Housing:  Families are ranked based on preferences within each bedroom size and, within each preference category, by the date and time the application was received by our office:  Following are the preferenes used  by the WBHA Public Housing Program:

  • Living or Working in Wilkes-Barre
  • Working/62 Years of Age or Older/Disabled
  • Veteran’s Preference

Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8):  Families are ranked based on preferences and, within each preference category, by the date and time the application was received by our office.    Following are the preferences used by the WBHA HCV Program:

  • Living or Working in Wilkes-Barre
  • Working/62 Years of Age or Older/Disabled
  • Veteran’s Preference
  • Job Training Preference

How long will I have to wait?

We cannot provide any estimate of how long you will have to wait because your position on the waiting list changes every day based on other applicants’ changing circumstances. Thus, there is no way to predict how long it will take until we contact you.

After your application is placed on the Public Housing waiting list, you will receive a letter in the mail confirming that your application was accepted.  It is the only correspondence you will receive from us regarding the status of your application, until your name nears the top of the waiting list.  If you do not receive this letter in the mail, your application may not have been accepted.

You will be notified at the time you apply for the HCV program.  You will not get a letter in the mail that your application was accepted. 

From time to time we update our waiting lists in order to make sure we have the most current information about applicants and to make sure all applicants are still interested in being on the waiting list.  We will send a short questionnaire to the most recent address we have on file for you.  You will be required to fill out the questionnaire and return it to us by mail.  Failure to return this questionnaire will result in your name being removed from the waiting list.

What happens when my name reaches the top of the waiting list?

Public Housing:  When your name nears the top of the Public Housing waiting list, you will receive a letter in the mail asking you to contact the Tenant Selection Department.  It will also contain a list of documents that you will need to submit. The WBHA will verify the information you have provided and conduct a criminal background check for everyone in the household 18 years of age and over.  You will be notified once we decide whether you are eligible or ineligible. 

The length of time that it takes to determine your eligibility varies and is partially dependent on the accuracy of the information you provide on your application and how quickly your current and previous landlords and your personal references respond to the verifications that we mail them. 

If you are determined eligible for the Public Housing program, we will begin offering you Public Housing units that meet your needs as units become available.

Housing Choice Voucher:  When your name nears the top of the HCV waiting list, you will receive a letter in the mail asking you to come to the office.  It will contain a list of documents that you will need to submit. The WBHA will verify the information you have provided and conduct a criminal background check for everyone in the household 18 years of age and over.  You will be notified once we decide whether you are eligible or ineligible. 

If you are determined eligible for the HCV Program, you will be briefed on the rules and regulations of the program. At the briefing, you will receive your HCV which will allow you to begin searching for a unit of your choice with a private landlord.

What if someone in my household does not have a Social Security number or card?

All members of your household must have a Social Security number or card. If you cannot locate your card, we will accept a printout from the Social Security office documenting your SSN.

What if someone in my family does not have a photo ID?

Everyone in your household 18 years of age and over must submit a state-issued photo ID. There are no exceptions.

May I add or remove family members from my application?

You may request to add or remove family members from your application.  Any request to add somebody to your household must be approved by the WBHA.  All adult members will be subject to the same screening as all other household members.   Any member of the household that you remove from your household is prohibited from living in the subsidized unit.

If I have moved since the time I submitted my application, do I need to notify the WBHA?

Yes! You must report any change of address to the WBHA in person at the office where you submitted your application.  Please note:  reporting a change of address at the post office will NOT change your address with the WBHA.  You must update us separately.

Most of our communication with you will be conducted by mail.  This is why it is extremely important to keep us updated with your current address.  If a letter we send you is returned undeliverable by the post office, your name will be removed from the waiting list without further notice.

I have gotten married, had a baby, adopted a child, divorced, lost my job, gotten a raise, or something else since I submitted my application. How will this affect me?

Public Housing:  If your family size has changed in any way, you must notify the WBHA.  The addition or removal of family members may change the unit size (number of bedrooms) you qualify for. 

Changes in your income may affect your preferences.  You should notify the WBHA if you become employed or disabled since you submitted your application.  Other than new employment or disability, you do not need to report changes before your intake interview, but after your intake interview you are required to keep us updated.

Housing Choice Voucher:  Changes in your income may affect your preferences.  You should notify the WBHA if you become employed or disabled since you submitted your application.  Other than new employment or disability, you do not need to report changes before your intake interview, but after your intake interview you are required to keep us updated.

I no longer need housing assistance. How can I remove my name from the waiting list?

If you no longer want to be on the waiting list, you must notify us in writing. Please write to the WBHA at 50 Lincoln Plaza, Wilkes-Barre, PA  18702 and include your name and social security number. Should you be interested in housing assistance in the future, you may reapply if the waiting list is open.

Do I have to be a citizen to apply for housing assistance?

No, you do not have to be a citizen; however, you must have eligible immigration status.  At the time of the eligibility interview, everyone in the household will be required to declare their citizenship status and provide proof of identity.  Non-citizens with eligible immigration status will be required to provide proof of eligible immigration status as well.

What is the maximum amount of income that I can earn in order to qualify for assistance?

The income limits are determined by HUD and change every year. Please see the Publications page for the current income limits.

How much will I pay in rent?

Public Housing:  Your rent is based on your income. As a general guideline, you will pay approximately 30 percent of your adjusted monthly income as rent. 

Housing Choice Voucher:   Your rent is based on your income. As a general guideline, you will pay between 30 and 40 percent of your adjusted monthly income as rent.