Basil Gets to the Top of the Section 8 Waiting List… And Stays There

Art: Robin Mead

My number just came up on the local Section 8 wait list. Sounds like good news, but it’s not, because I’m too sick to move out right now!

My ME relapsed badly and I’m in no shape to move this year, so I thought I would have to drop to the bottom of the wait list. . . UNLESS there was some sort of medical exemption.

First I tried to get the voucher applied to my current housing, but I was told that was not possible.

Then I thought about requesting an extension on the time to use my voucher, but it’s really impossible to know how long it will be before I get at least somewhat of a remission.

Then my friend Delphinium came up with an idea I liked much better: “Don’t take the voucher. Ask them to keep your current position on the waiting list allowing them to skip over you each time a voucher becomes available until such time as you are medically cleared to move.”

I started by calling the Director of the HUD Field Office in my area. She said she saw no problem with this accommodation and would double check. Then when I spoke to the local housing authority, I name-dropped the Director of the field office. My dad taught me to do it this way. He was a real troublemaker.

The housing authority was cool with the idea of being kept ‘on hold’ at the top of the wait list until I’m physically able to move. The head of the agency vastly preferred this to the idea of an extension. This was all done by phone, but I am following up by email for written confirmation.

So now all I need is a doctor’s letter stating the need for the reasonable accommodation, and I should be set!

We call this “The Delphinium Maneuver.”

Update From Basil: One Year Later

Bad news: Basil is still too sick to move

Good news: Basil did such a great job advocating for himself that a year later they are still holding his spot at the top of the wait list!

Learn More

More good stories by Basil and Delphinium: How I Got Disability Accommodations in Affordable Housing

Facebook Group: HUD and Section 8 Disabled Residents & Family Members

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3 thoughts on “Basil Gets to the Top of the Section 8 Waiting List… And Stays There”

  1. Please help me. My housing authority will not let me do this. They told me that if I can’t get all the paper work in for the voucher on time I will be denied and also I can’t stay on top of waitlist. I had surgery with no use of arm and now I have Covid.


    1. I’m sorry you’re in this position. I would suggest that you put in a formal written request. Make sure to have a written letter from your doctor enclosed. Request That you get a written decision. Make sure you request includes language stating that this is a reasonable accommodation request for a person with disabilities.

      Do not worry if someone in the Housing Authority told you this is not possible. It’s very common for people to be told verbally that accommodations are not possible. The answer typically changes once everything is in writing.

      It does not matter how much time has passed, you can still make this request to have your voucher reinstated based on the past. On this page there’s a link to a section for how to get your voucher back, or how to get it reinstated, if you lost it in the past due to her disability. Hope this helps:


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