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How to find housing while you're on the HCV waitlist

The Housing Choice Voucher program provides permanent, affordable housing to thousands of Memphians. And while we continually add new tenants to the program, we know that there are people waiting for a voucher who need stable, affordable housing now. If that’s your circumstance, we know the challenges and frustrations you’re facing. You might feel like you’ve tried all of your options and don’t know what to do next while you wait. We don’t provide emergency housing, but we can point you to several tools you might not know about. 

Use tools that were created for affordable housing when you look for available units.

There is no perfect housing search tool, but some provide better options if you need affordable housing. The popular online sites don’t have a ton of affordable options, and some of the ones listed aren’t vetted for safety or decency. However, if you haven’t already, you should look at the listings on This website was created by the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA), a trustworthy organization that partners with MHA. It was designed to help all people in Tennessee find houses that are available for rent now. The best part? They have an affordability calculator that tells you how much you should spend on housing each month based on your family size and income. It then gives you a list of available homes that meet your criteria. You can sort the houses by location, wheelchair accessibility, pet friendliness and whether or not smoking is allowed. 

Look into rent payment assistance options. 

Everyone needs help from time to time. If you need a month or so of financial support to keep your housing, you should look into rent and utility assistance programs. There are a number of nonprofits in Memphis and Shelby County that provide one-time or limited rent and utility assistance to help you can stay current on your housing obligations. The programs change regularly, so our team can’t say for certain which organizations are currently offering aid. But, you can use free internet access at any Memphis Public Library to search the internet for options. 

Keep a list of emergency housing resources on hand. 

Sometimes your housing falls through, and suddenly, you need a place to stay without time to plan. As of January 2023, Shelby County directs all people who need emergency shelter to the Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA). If you are homeless and have minor children, you can be assessed for shelter and housing assistance by calling MIFA at 901-529-4545 or you can apply online at  They can help find a place for you to stay depending upon your circumstances. The number of beds is limited, so you’ll need to submit an application and wait to hear from someone at MIFA before going to a shelter.  

If you are a homeless individual, you can be assessed for housing assistance by contacting the Hospitality Hub at 901-289-6578. Intake services are offered at their 590 Washington Avenue office Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. also has a list of emergency housing resources you can check out.

An important reminder: CHECK YOUR EMAIL.

If you are on the HCV waitlist, the most important thing for you to do is keep up with the email address you used to submit your application. We will email you as soon as your name rises to the top of the waitlist. You will then use that email to access our tenant portal, where you’ll submit information and manage the entire rental process.