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Applications Process

When the Waiting List is Open

RHA accepts applications only at certain times during the year, which is determined by the number of households currently on the waiting list that are expected to be leased within 18 months. RHA maintains waiting lists based upon bedroom size, which is determined by an occupancy standard of two persons per bedroom.


When a waiting list opens, this means that RHA will accept new applications. Advertisements for waiting list openings occur ten business days before the actual opening.

Announcements are made through the RHA website and Facebook page, and publication to the Reading Eagle, a newspaper serving persons with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) when such publications are in circulation in our jurisdiction, and by press release to the general emails of social service agencies who are registered with RHA’s communications office.

Applicants complete an application through the RHA website on an on-line form. When applications are properly completed, the applicant will receive a receipt confirming their submission. This receipt contains a confirmation number. As part of making the application, the applicant registers with a username and password in the RHA software system. The applicant is also provided with a time frame in which they will be able to learn of the outcome of the application.

Lottery Selection

After the waiting list period closes, RHA performs a lottery among all applicants. Because of the extreme demand for subsidized housing in the City of Reading, RHA only accepts a specific number of applications. This is based on the number of units that are expected to become available in the next 18 months.

The lottery is conducted by a computer, so all applicants have an equal opportunity to be selected. There are no criteria that alters this opportunity. After the lottery is conducted, applicants may visit the RHA software to determine the outcome of the application. The application will either read “active”, which means that the applicant has made the lottery selection, or “inactive”, which means that the application has not been selected in the lottery. Applicants who are lottery-selected are notified of their selection via email, or by U.S. mail if no email address is provided.

Applications Process

Waiting Period

Applicants who are selected in the lottery are now officially placed on a waiting list in the order of lottery selection and preferences, when applicable. Applicants are contacted by telephone, email, or U.S. mail when their name is close to reaching the top of the list.


Once the applicant household is contacted, they are invited to complete a full application. This includes gathering information relating to household members (names, birthdates, social security numbers) and income. As part of the screening for eligibility, households are required to report information related to previous tenancies and any criminal histories. Screening for eligibility is conducted by telephone and/or in-person visit to the Applications Office. After screening is completed, applicants are notified of their eligibility or ineligibility status to the program for which they have applied.

Assigning of a Unit

Applicants who are eligible for the Public Housing Program are offered a unit when the household’s name reaches the top of the waiting list, and a unit becomes available. A meeting to assign the unit is conducted by telephone and/or an in-person visit to the Applications Office. This meeting includes a final review of the household’s information, and the scheduling of the leasing appointment.


Leasings occur on weekdays at 9:30 AM or 1:30 PM in the Property Management Office of the development in which the household is moving. The household must bring a money order for the pro-rated first month’s rent and security deposit equal to one month’s rent in order for the leasing to occur.

The leasing appointment is expected to take up to two hours and includes a review of the Residential Lease and Resident Handbook, and a pre-inspection of the new unit. Residents are required to sign many documents that are required by RHA and/or HUD.

All adult household members are required to attend the Leasing Appointment and sign the Lease Agreement. RHA will only execute a partial agreement when arrangements are made in advance and for extraordinary reasons. It is important to note that any household member who does not execute the lease on the date of the Leasing Appointment is prohibited from visiting or joining the household until the Lease Agreement is signed. In the event that a household member is unable to understand and therefore knowledgeably agree to the terms and conditions of the lease due to disability, the person who is authorized to act on the person’s behalf is required to attend the leasing and supply proof of legal guardianship.