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Section 8 Wait List — Frequently Asked Questions

I heard that your Section 8 Program will open its waiting lists. When can I apply?
The HPHA Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program will open the following waitlists on October 29, 2020 – November 2, 2020:
- Housing Choice Voucher
- Project-Based Voucher – Kuhio Park Terrace (3-bedroom units only)
The on-line application portal will be opened for five days starting on Thursday, October 29 at 8:00 a.m. and closing on Monday, November 2, 2020 at 4:30 p.m.

Pre-applications submitted after this period will be automatically rejected by the system and not accepted to the wait list. Applications not fully completed (i.e., in the middle of submission) prior to the closing will be rejected.

Will there be any applicable preferences? What are the qualifications?
On-line applications for the HCV Waitlist will be accepted from eligible applicants with the following preference:
• COVID Emergency Lease in Place
To qualify, applicants must:
o Be housed under a current, valid lease agreement
o Have a landlord who has agreed to participate in the HCV program, including meeting all HCV criteria for unit inspection, providing valid tax identification information, and complying with program requirements.
*Applicants will be required to submit a landlord certification form, signed by both the landlord and applicant, agreeing to enter into the program. Applicants can pre-print these forms out here: Landlord Certification Form
**Should a dwelling unit not meet all housing choice voucher criteria for the authority to enter into a housing assistance payment (HAP) contract with the landlord, the family shall be deemed not qualified for the preference.

The Project-Based KPT Waitlist will not be a preference only waitlist. However, only applicants who meet the requirements for a 3-bedroom unit will be able to apply at this time. All other applicants will be cancelled from the waiting list.

What are the income limits to apply for Section 8?
Applicants must not exceed the HUD determined very low area medium income limits (50% AMI) for the City and County of Honolulu.
50%     1         2         3         4         5         6         7         8    
AMI  $44,100   $50,400   $56,700   $62,950   $68,000   $73,050   $78,100   $83,100 

How do I submit an application?
Pre-applications can be submitted through the HPHA’s online application portal at Devices such as mobile phones and tablets with Internet access may be used; however, not all operating systems support this pre-application. No pre-applications will be accepted at the Housing Authority’s office.

What information will I need to provide in the online application portal?
In order to make your application process go more smoothly you should be prepared by having the following information readily available:
- names of household members (full first, middle, last name),
- dates of birth for all household members; and
- Social Security Numbers available for all persons listed on your pre-application
- Monthly gross income (before taxes) for each source of income for all persons listed on your pre-application. You must list all sources of income individually.
No applications will be accepted that do not meet the published application requirements.
You must submit a completed pre-application between 8:00 a.m. on October 29, 2020 and 4:30 p.m. on November 2, 2020. Print your receipt or write down your Pre-Application Confirmation Number. A confirmation receipt is issued immediately after the pre-application is submitted. Print or screen shot and save this confirmation.

I have a Portal Account. How do I apply?
If you have an active myhousing Portal Account, you must apply through your portal account. When logged into your account, go to “Update Application”. It will show you a current list of all waitlists you are currently on, and the open waitlists. You must press the “Submit” button as the last step in order to fully apply to the waiting list.

If unsure if your account is active and apply through the WebApp, the system will display a message directing the applicant to apply by logging into their account.
If you applied for a past HPHA waitlist online and never created a portal account, you must create one before applying. Set up an account or to log into your portal account, click here:

Does submitting a pre-application mean I’m on the waiting list?
No. Submitting a pre-application means your household will be eligible to participate in the lottery for placement on the waiting list. Following the closing of the waitlist, HPHA will randomly select a predetermined number of pre-applications to be placed on the waitlist. The order of all applicants selected to be on the wait list will be by random assignment. Issuance will continue until the waitlist has expired, or the HPHA has leased available vouchers.

HPHA anticipates the number of applicants to be randomly selected onto the waitlist as follows:
- HCV: 3,000 households
- KPT Project-Based: 200 households

Visit the HPHA’s website at for more information about our programs. Complete the pre-application on-line at by clicking on “Start Here”.

When will I know if I made it onto the waitlist?
Applicants will be notified by email or mail within ten business days of their status.

Is there a separate Section 8 program for the disabled?
There is only one Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program that HPHA administers. That program encompasses all types of families to include those families who may have a disabled family member. For more information on fair housing issues for the disabled, see "Fair Housing Issues" below.

Reasonable Accommodations
Applicants who need a reasonable accommodation to apply may request on by contacting the HPHA for assistance at (808) 832-6040 or by emailing:

The Application Portal has been translated into 12 different languages, which are accessible from the first page of the portal site.

Interpreters have been scheduled to assist with LEP applicants needing assistance via zoom at the following dates and time below:
Thursday 10/299 am – 11 amMarshallese
CLICK HERE FOR ZOOM MEETINGMeeting ID: 949 5559 9289Passcode:
To Call: +1 253 215 8782Meeting ID: 949 5559 9289Passcode:

Thursday 10/291 pm – 3 pmCantonese
3 pm – 4:30 pmVietnamese
CLICK HERE FOR ZOOM MEETING Meeting ID: 999 6083 2602Passcode:
To Call: +1 669 900 6833Meeting ID: 999 6083 2602Passcode:

Friday 10/309 am – 11 pmChuukese
CLICK HERE FOR ZOOM MEETINGMeeting ID: 949 5559 9289Passcode:
To Call: +1 669 900 6833Meeting ID: 956 6919 3588Passcode:

Friday 10/301 pm – 3pmKorean
CLICK HERE FOR ZOOM MEETINGMeeting ID: 951 8931 4959Passcode:
To Call: +1 669 900 6833Meeting ID: 951 8931 4959Passcode:

How many people can live in my unit to qualify?
The applicant family must meet occupancy standards and may not be underhoused. When assessing occupancy, a family may not have more than two people per bedroom, with the living room counting as a bedroom, occupying the unit space. This is different than assessing eligible voucher size, which shall take into account persons of the opposite sex and live-in-aides.
Example: A the smallest unit a family of ten may be approved to occupy is a 4-bedroom unit. Two people per bedroom plus two in the living room. If there are ten people living in a unit with less than 4-bedrooms, they will be deemed ineligible under the Preference.

Does HPHA's Section 8 HCV program cover all the islands?
The HPHA Section 8 HCV program only covers the island of Oahu. However, each county government does administer their own Section 8 HCV program. In addition to HPHA, the City and County of Honolulu offers Section 8 HCV assistance. You can go to to obtain information on each counties' Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program.

What is a utility allowance and how do I apply for it?
A utility allowance is an additional subsidy the HPHA provides participants and is assessed based off a yearly study of average utility usage in the state by unit size. The utility allowance is automatically provided to a participant family if the utility is not included in the lease agreement.

What is HPHA's new monthly utility allowances?
Click this link for the most recent utility allowances.

I have a complaint with my current Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher landlord. Who can I contact?
As a tenant, your lease is with your landlord or an owner of the property. HPHA is not a party to your lease. You and your landlord should try to work out any problems you may have. You are covered under the Residential Landlord - Tenant Code. You can go to for more detailed information on the code. For other Residential Landlord - Tenant Code related information, you can call 808-586-2634.

I recently lost my income and currently qualify under the income. What will happen if I get a new job in a couple of months? Do I lose the voucher?
No, not necessarily. Income eligibility limits apply during the application process. You will lose your voucher once your income increases to a point where your portion of the rent covers the full monthly rent amount for a period of six months and HPHA pays zero. After six months, if your rent portion remains the unchanged, you will be graduated out of the program.

What if my landlord decides not to rent my unit to me next year? Will I lose the voucher?
No. If your landlord decides not to rent to you after your initial lease year, you will be issued a voucher and are allowed to move and find a new unit. Your new unit will need to meet the same inspection standards and the landlord must be willing to accept a new Section 8 voucher.

I am a little behind in rent. Can the voucher be used to pay for back rent?
No. The HPHA’s Housing Assistance Payments may not be applied retroactively. Participants may apply any additional income they have, once on the program, to any back payments owed to the landlord. There are many available housing relief programs that can be found on the Aloha United Way website.

How will my unit be inspected to determine whether it meets Housing Quality Standards?
At this time, your landlord will only be required to certify that there are no known life-threatening conditions in your unit.
When it is time to inspect your unit, you will receive a letter in the mail specifying the inspection date and hours. An adult member of the household must be present for the inspection to take place. The inspector will be equipped with face mask, face shield, gloves, and foot covers to assist with health and safety.

What if the landlord tries to raise the rent after hearing about the Section 8 program? Can I still qualify?
The rent used to determine eligibility will be what you are paying at the time of application. The rent must meet payment standard and rent reasonableness requirements. If, after your initial lease term on the program expires, your landlord wants to raise your rent, the rent increase must pass a rent reasonableness evaluation and be approved by the HPHA.



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