Housing Choice Voucher Applications

The Housing Choice Voucher Program, formerly called Section 8, is a rental housing assistance solution that places housing choice in the hands of the individual or family. CMHA and voucher holders each pay a portion of the rent directly to a private landlord. 

Open Preliminary Application 

CMHA is now accepting year-round preliminary applications for Housing Choice Vouchers to assist low-income families in affording a safe and comfortable home. In a change from the previous CMHA Housing Choice Voucher process, prospective participants can submit preliminary applications at any time. Lottery-style selections from the preliminary applications will be ongoing, and the waiting list will have no closing date. If a family is selected as part of the lottery, they will be notified to complete the full Housing Choice Voucher application. 

To be eligible for a Housing Choice Voucher, families must have a total annual income (from all members of their household) that is at or below the Area Median Income corresponding to the number of persons in your household, as shown in the table (effective 5.15.23) below. 

Household Size Annual Household Income
1 Person 31,650
2 Person 36,200
3 Person 40,700
4 Person 45,200
5 Person 48,850
6 Person 52,450
7 Person 56,050
8 Person 59,700

To Apply

You can submit a preliminary application at any time through our online portal. Preliminary applicants must have an active email account, as all CMHA notifications and updates will be shared via email. If there are any changes to your contact information, please be sure to update your information in the portal. Preliminary applications will be active for 18 months. If your application expires before you’re selected, you can immediately submit another one. 

Applicants can use kiosks and computers at CMHA's Main Campus to sign up for the portal and complete their applications. In addition, internet hotspots are available through the Cleveland Public Library and Cuyahoga County Public Library. 


How to Check Your Application Status 


HCVP Applicant FAQs
What do I need to submit with my preliminary application?
  • An active private email account 
  • Your Social Security number 
  • The names and dates of birth of all household members 
  • The income of each household member 

If you don’t have a personal email account, you can sign up for one through a provider of your choice (Gmail, Yahoo or an Internet Service Provider). 

How are applicants selected?
To ensure vouchers are distributed equitably, CMHA will select applications through multiple mini lotteries from the preliminary application database. 
If I am on the Housing Choice Voucher wait list, how long do I have to wait?

The need for housing assistance far exceeds the available supply of funding. As a result, public housing agencies (PHAs) assist as many households as their funding can serve and maintain a waiting list for those it hopes to serve in the future. 

CMHA will select preliminary applicants by lottery as funding becomes available. Because of the random selection, your name may come up within a few days, or it may take months. Your preliminary application is valid for 18 months. If it expires, you can immediately apply again to stay in the selection pool. 

How will CMHA inform me that my preliminary application was selected in the lottery?
CMHA will notify selected preliminary applicants by email. Having an active private email account is necessary for the preliminary application process. Please keep your contact information (like phone, email address and mailing address) as well as household income and composition up to date through the preliminary application portal so we can contact you if and when your name is selected. 
What additional documents do I need for the official application?
I applied before, do I need to apply again?
If you applied for Housing Choice Voucher programs in Cuyahoga County in previous years, you need to reapply. Applicants will not be considered for this specific program unless they submit a preliminary application through cmha.net/apply. 
If I received rental assistance from another agency, am I eligible to apply for the Housing Choice Voucher Program?
Applicants are NOT eligible for additional rental assistance if they are receiving rental assistance from another agency. 
How does the Housing Choice Voucher Program work?

The Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP) provides rental assistance to help low-income persons afford decent and safe rental housing. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds the program and Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority administers it in Cuyahoga County. 

An HCVP participant is issued a rental voucher and is then free to locate a dwelling unit suitable to the family's needs and desires in the private rental market. Once the family selects a unit, CMHA must inspect the unit before initial leasing and at least annually thereafter to ensure that the unit meets HUD housing quality standards (HQS). Once the unit passes an HQS inspection, CMHA will enter into a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Contract with the Owner who leases the unit to the family. Thereafter, CMHA pays a portion of the rent - a Housing Assistance Payment - to the owner on behalf of the family. The amount of assistance you receive is based on family income, family size, income deductions and the contract rent for the unit. Under the rental voucher program, the family is generally required to pay approximately 30% of adjusted monthly income toward rent and utilities. The HAP made by CMHA to the Owner generally pays the remainder. 

Who can I contact with questions?
Call our Applications Division at 216-431-1471, option 6 or our Client Information Center at 216-431-1471, option 1.