Navigating Rental Assistance

If you need help with your rent, finding assistance can be a confusing process. Many programs have waiting lists, and it can be difficult to distinguish among the different types of help available. Here is some information to help you find the best type of assistance for you, and to find ways to obtain help sooner.

Long Term vs. Short Term

If you regularly struggle to pay rent, you will likely need long-term rental assistance in the form of Housing Choice Vouchers, commonly called Section 8, or rent-assisted housing (we talk more about these options below). If your situation is short-term or if you need help with other housing-related costs besides rent, you can contact your local Community Action Agency, which can offer security deposit, utility, and other short-term assistance programs. You can also check with your town or city office to see what types of programs may be available.

Section 8 Vouchers vs. Rent-Assisted Properties

The key difference between Section 8 vouchers and rent-assisted housing is that you can take Section 8 vouchers with you, while rent-assisted housing is specific to the apartment or complex you live in. For example, if you have a Section 8 voucher and you decide to move, you can take your voucher with you and continue to receive assistance. If you live in rent-assisted housing and decide to move, your assistance does not come with you since the assistance is specific to that apartment. Both types of assistance are likely to have waiting lists. Currently, New Hampshire Housing’s waiting list for Section 8 vouchers is 6-8 years long.

Coping with Waiting Lists

Unfortunately, there is no one “master” waiting list for Section 8 or rent-assisted properties. Although New Hampshire Housing offers Section 8 vouchers statewide, we do not oversee other housing authorities, and our Section 8 waiting list isn’t the same as other housing authorities’ waiting lists. If you are on New Hampshire Housing’s waiting list and there is a housing authority in your city or town, we encourage you to ask them about their programs and waiting lists and to apply. Their waiting list could be shorter than ours. You might also want to consider applying to rent-assisted properties, which you can search for online with our Directory of Assisted Housing. The more waiting lists you are on, the greater your chance of receiving the assistance you need.

Updating Your Information

While you are waiting for assistance, it is important to keep track of which waiting lists you may be on and to keep that information current. If you move often or change phone numbers and don’t notify service providers, you lose a vital point of contact and could risk losing your place on a waiting list. Keeping your contact information up to date can increase your odds of receiving help in a more timely manner. If you want to check your status on a waiting list or update your information, it is usually best to contact the property or housing authority directly. For questions about New Hampshire Housing’s Section 8 voucher waiting list or to update your information, please call (800) 439-7247.

Emergency Resources

While you are waiting, there are short-term assistance programs that you can use. You can dial 2-1-1 toll-free within New Hampshire or search their online directory at for emergency and basic needs resources that are located near you. While 2-1-1 is not a service provider and does not provide direct assistance, it can provide you contact information so you can find the type of help you need.

For information about New Hampshire Housing’s Section 8 voucher program, please visit or call our Assisted Housing Division at (800) 439-7247.

Leave a comment


  1. Terry Blake

     /  July 28, 2014

    This is a great explanation thanks for posting this..

    • Dave

       /  July 29, 2014

      Hi terry I,m All Set With The Asst Just Nedd A 2 bdrm In The Meredith Area

  2. misa

     /  July 29, 2014

    Was wondering if there is any kind of assistance for people who may be moving from another state to new hampshire?

    • Amanda Flitter

       /  July 29, 2014


      If you need rental assistance and are moving to New Hampshire, the process of applying for assistance here is the same as someone who lives in-state. We offer Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) rental assistance. However, please note that waiting times are currently 6-8 years. You can find a copy of the application (along with eligibility and other information about the program) here:

      An alternative is our searchable Directory of Assisted Housing, which lists rent-assisted properties across the state: These properties may have their own applications and waiting times. We encourage people who are seeking assistance to apply to as many properties and programs as possible because some waiting lists may be shorter or move more quickly than others.

      Our website also has listings of apartments that are available for rent:

      We hope this information helps. If you have any questions, please feel free to call our Assisted Housing division at (800) 439-7247.

  3. Dave F Ferris

     /  July 29, 2014

    I,m Currently Recieving Sec 8 14yrs And Need To Move Back To NH I,m A Single Senior Can You Help? Thank You

    • Amanda Flitter

       /  July 29, 2014


      If you already have a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher, it can be ported to New Hampshire. You can start by contacting your housing authority and asking them about porting your information to the Public Housing Authority (PHA) that covers the area to which you wish to move. (New Hampshire Housing is statewide, but some cities and towns have their own PHAs, so your information may not be ported to us, depending on where you move.) If you have any questions, please feel free to call our Assisted Housing division at (800) 439-7247.

      • Dave F Ferris

         /  July 29, 2014

        Got a #?

      • Amanda Flitter

         /  July 29, 2014


        We only have phone numbers for housing authorities within New Hampshire. You can try checking your voucher paperwork to see if there is a contact number listed for your housing authority.

  4. Jenny

     /  February 16, 2015

    Hi. I’m extremely confused about this entire process. I applied for section 8 5 years ago and I’m a single mother of a 2 and 4 year old and I’m disabled. I’m trying to go back to school and get a reliable car for myself and my kids. Neither of my kids are In school right now and we are currently living in a camper and not a day goes by where I don’t sit and just cry because it kills me to know I can’t give my children a home. I’m lost and I have no idea where I am on the list. I’ve tried community action and my town hall over 5 times and they have never helped me. I cannot continue to live this way with my children. They deserve better. I have severe depression and PTSD along with social anxiety and I’m not currently receiving any public assistance. We REALLY need help getting into an apartment and I need help getting a car. I would like to go back to school to better myself and my children’s lives and buy a forever home soon. I know people who have section 8 and they don’t even have their kids living with them or they aren’t living where section 8 is paying for them to live. I feel so hopeless bc people who have this help are abusing it and I pray and wonder all the time why my children and I have to live this way and why we can’t get any help. Is there ANYTHING I can do to help myself and my kids? They don’t deserve this. My credit is bad bc my mother opened a few credit cards in my name when I was In high school so it’s difficult for us to get a nice apartment and a reliable vehicle. I enter tons of contests to win homes or vehicles but my luck is just too bad. Would I be able to get the persons section 8 vouchers who is abusing the program so my children and I can have a better life and not have to live in a camper and sleep on couches? I need a car to get them and myself to dentist and drs appts and I’m beginning to think all hope is gone. I have cervical cancer at 29 and I want to make sure I can give my children all I never had as a child. We’ve never even been to a zoo or Disney world or Even to the boston aquarium. Can someone:/anyone help my family?!? My number is 603-997-2891. I will continue to pray that help will come our way and my girls can have their own bedroom with beds and a tv and we can have a home. I’m not one to beg or ask for help but I’ve been waiting 5 years now and I’m hoping someone can please help my children and I. We will be eternally great full. Thank you

    • Amanda Flitter

       /  February 17, 2015

      Hello Jenny,

      We’ve passed your information along to our Assisted Housing Division, and someone will be contacting you. In the meantime, here are some additional resources that may be of help:

      Since you need housing quickly, an alternative is to search our Directory of Assisted Housing ( or our Vacant Unit Listings ( The properties in the Directory of Assisted Housing may have waiting lists, but their waiting lists may be shorter than our Section 8 waiting list. If your town or city has a housing authority, you can also check with them to see if they have a Section 8 program (our Section 8 program and waiting list is separate from other cities’ and towns’ programs). We encourage people to apply to multiple programs and properties since waiting times vary.

      You can also try dialing 2-1-1 toll-free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This is a resource hotline that may be able to provide a list of alternative housing resources or shelters in your area.

      If you’re trying to purchase a car, you can check with More Than Wheels, a non-profit car purchasing program. Their website is or you can call them at 1-866-455-2522 if you’d like more information about their program.

      We hope this information helps. If you have additional questions, please call our Assisted Housing Division at (800) 439-7247.


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