The Chicago Housing Authority

Family Wait List Lottery FAQs

The lottery for CHA's Family Wait List was conducted in 2010 and 40,000 registrants were added to CHA's Family Wait List in the same year.

If you registered between June 14 and July 9, 2010...

you should have received a letter notifying you of whether you were selected by the lottery for the Family Wait List or not. If you were selected for the Wait List, when a unit becomes available and your name reaches the top of the Wait List, you will be contacted and screened according to your housing needs and family size. For any questions, please view the FAQs below.

Please help the CHA spread the word about the Wait List Lottery.  Posters and Information Cards are available for you to download, print, and post in your location.  Select the language of your choice below.
What happened after the registration period closed?

All the names of people who submitted a completed registration between June 14 and July 9, 2010 were entered into an electronic lottery. A computer  randomly selected the names of 40,000 individuals and assigned them to a random position on CHA’s public housing wait list. Everyone who submitted a registration should receive a letter notifying them whether or not they have been placed on the Wait List. The letter to the 40,000 individuals chosen for the Wait List includes a client number. This number does not represent a priority number on the Wait List. It is the number that CHA uses to track your status on the Wait List.

When a family reaches the top of the wait list and a unit becomes available that meets their family size and accessibility needs, the family or individual will be notified in writing by one of CHA’s property management companies. The family will be screened to make sure they meet eligibility requirements. Families who pass screening will be offered a unit at the property.

I received an acceptance letter. Now what?

Congratulations! You have been added to CHA's Family Housing Wait List.  Your registration number should be listed near the top of your acceptance letter. Please note this number is not your ranking on the Wait List, but rather a random identification number CHA uses to track your status on the Wait List.

Once a unit becomes available that meets your housing needs, you will be contacted by a property management firm for screening.

In order to move into a unit, applicants must pass screening, which may include a criminal background, residential history and credit check.  Applicants must also comply with CHA's Admissions and Continued Occupancy Policy (ACOP), which includes a 20-hour weekly work requirement.  To view the FY2010 ACOP, CLICK HERE >.

I received a rejection letter. Now what?

Unfortunately, you are not eligible to live in CHA's Family Housing at this time.

However, if you are 55 or older and require a one-bedroom or studio apartment, you may be able to move into one of CHA's Reduced Age Senior Properties.  Visit thecha.org/seniors for more information.

The City of Chicago also offers affordable housing resources at www.cityofchicago.org/dcd. Additionally, you can also find other affordable rental opportunities at the State of Illinois' website, www.ILHousingsearch.org or through partner organization Access Living.

What if I registered for the lottery but did not receive a notification letter?
You may not have received a letter if you are currently on one of CHA's public housing wait lists or currently living in a CHA property.  To check your status on the wait list or update your information, call our Occupancy Department at 312.913.7266.
If I was selected for the Wait List, do I automatically qualify for public housing?
No. To qualify for public housing, you must:
  • Be 18 years of age or older. (If 55 or older, you may qualify for senior housing).
  • Meet eligibility guidelines found in CHA's FY2010 Admissions and Continued Occupancy Policy, found here.
  • Meet income guidelines in the chart below.
     
    Family Size Maximum Income Eligibility (80% AMI)
    1 $41,900
    2 $47,900
    3 $53,900
    4 $59,850
    5 $64,650
    6 $69,450
    7 $74,250
    8 $79,050
If selected for the wait list, how long will I have to wait before I get called for screening?

CHA's property management firms have already started screening applicants from the most recent Wait List.  However, it may take up to five to seven years before you get a call to be screened.

The reason for the potentially long wait time is that CHA has to screen each applicant from the Wait List to make sure they're eligible for housing, as well as make several attempts to contact those on the Wait List. This is particularly difficult if an applicant moves or forgets to update their contact information in CHA's database.

If you require immediate housing while you wait to be screened, CHA recommends you take advantage of resources offered by the City of Chicago. You can also find other affordable rental opportunities at the State of Illinois' website, www.ILHousingsearch.org or through partner organization Access Living.

What should I do if my address or family composition changed or if I made an error on my application?
The letter to the 40,000 individuals who have been selected for the wait list includes instructions on how to update your information in CHA’s database.

If you were on a CHA Wait List before the 2010 Family Wait List Lottery, and have questions regarding your status, you may contact the Occupancy Department at 312.913.7266.
What is the Family Housing Wait List?
The Family Housing Wait List is used by CHA to fill public housing rental units for families as they become available in CHA-owned properties across the city.

The registration period for the Family Wait List Lottery is now closed.

The names of all the people who registered for the lottery between June 14 and July 9 were entered into a computerized system that randomly selected 40,000 families to be added to the Family Housing Wait List. Those selected for the Wait List will be considered for housing as it becomes available.
Why does Chicago have a Wait List for public housing?
There are more people who qualify for public housing than there are public housing units available. The Wait List serves to keep a working record of families interested in public housing so CHA can efficiently fill units as they become available
Did everyone who registered get on the Wait List?
No. There are more people who qualify for public housing than there are public housing units available. Therefore, only 40,000 names were selected by the random lottery to be placed on the Wait List.
How do I get on the Wait List?

To be eligible for the Family Wait List Lottery, you had to register between June 14 and July 9, 2010.

Registration is now closed. If you registered between those dates, you should have received a letter letting you know whether you have been selected by the computerized lottery or not.

If you did not register between those dates, you are not eligible for the Family Housing Wait List Lottery. However, CHA encourages you to take advantage of affordable housing resources offered by the City of Chicago, visit the State of Illinois' website at ILhousingsearch.org or Access Living at accessliving.org.

If you are 55 or older and require a one-bedroom or studio apartment, you may be eligible to move into one of CHA's Reduced Age Senior properties.  Visit thecha.org/seniors for more information.

Is this the same as the Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) Wait List?
No. The Housing Choice Voucher Program allows families and individuals to rent in non-CHA properties in the private market while CHA pays for a portion of your rent. The HCV Wait List has been closed since 2008, with no plans to reopen this year.
If I am on the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Wait List, can I also be on the public housing Wait List?
Yes. CHA allows families to be on both the HCV and the public housing wait lists at the same time.
Does it matter which day during the registration period I submitted my registration?
No, as long as your registration was submitted between June 14 and July 9, 2010, your application was treated equally in the lottery.
I was on the Wait List before the lottery, what does this mean to me?
CHA will continue to house all of the applicants that were on CHA's wait lists before the 2010 Wait List Lottery. You will be housed based on your original date of application with preferences that apply to you. If you have a question about your status on the Wait List, call CHA’s Occupancy Department at 312.913.7266.
Can I get a priority/preference?
The CHA Admissions and Continued Occupancy Policy (ACOP) allows for certain ranking preferences that applicants may be eligible for. The preferences only apply to victims of federally declared disasters, victims of domestic violence, and families who are currently working with the courts or Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) on family preservation.
Where are public housing units located?
CHA's public housing units are located in numerous communities throughout the City of Chicago. Locations will vary with availability on the south, west and north sides of the city. Please go to thecha.org/housing for more information on our properties.
Does CHA have any other housing opportunities available?
Yes. If you are 55 or older, CHA will have studio and one-bedroom apartments available in our Reduced Age Senior buildings. Please go to thecha.org/seniors for further information.
What if I have other questions?
If you have a question, you may call CHA's Occupancy phone line at 312.913.7266 Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. You also can find answers to many of your questions on this FAQ page.