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If you are interested in receiving CDA housing assistance, you must first apply for admission to the housing program. There are no residency requirements. However, the CDA gives priority to applicants who live, work, or attend school in the City of Madison (see preference information below). The CDA maintains a separate wait list for each housing program. Applications must be submitted through the on-line application system when the wait list is open, and may be completed anywhere internet access is available. The on-line application is available in both English and Spanish. See below for a list of agencies which provide application assistance. If you are unsure if you need to submit an application, please contact us.

Do NOT use the on-line application to update your information.  If you experience difficulties with the on-line application system, please contact CDA Housing Operations at (608) 266-4675, use option #1.

Tips for Submitting an On-Line Application:
  • Suggested web browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Safari.
  • Provide a workable mailing address. Applications with "Homeless" as an address will be rejected.
  • Never pay anyone for a CDA subsidized housing application. There is never a fee to apply!
  • A computer or tablet will work better than a cell phone, due to AutoCorrect features on most cell phones.
  • You will receive an error message if any information is left blank or information has been entered incorrectly.
  • You will receive a confirmation number after successfully submitting an on-line application. Write the number down and keep the confirmation number in a safe place.
Applicant Portal
Once you have submitted an application to the CDA, you may create an on-line account to help you manage your CDA application(s). Applicant Portal allows you to:
  • view the wait list(s) you are currently on
  • review your application, including family, address, income, and asset information
  • uploaded documents
  • submit requests for changes
  • request an update to available wait list preferences

 Applicant Portal  Create an Applicant Portal account to manage your CDA applications

Frequently Asked Applicant Questions:
Answer:  Applications must be submitted through the on-line application system. An exception to this process may be made through a reasonable accommodation for those claiming disabilities. An accommodation request must be put in writing to the CDA Housing Operations office located at:  215 Martin Luther King, Jr., Boulevard, Suite 161, Madison, WI 53703, ATTN: ONLINE APPLICATION; or phone 267-8644.
Answer:  To be eligible for a CDA Housing program, an applicant must have an income at or below the federal income limits:
Federal Income Limits (effective 4/18/22)
Number of Occupants Public and Multifamily Housing Section 8 Programs
1 Person $62,600 $40,400
2 Persons $71,550 $46,150
3 Persons $80,500 $51,900
4 Persons $89,400 $57,650
5 Persons $96,600 $62,300
6 Persons $103,750 $66,900
7 Persons $110,900 $71,500
8 Persons $118,050 $76,100
Answer:  The CDA will review your application before placing you on a wait list, and you may be asked to submit verification (e.g. proof of disability income.) Your date and time of application may be based on receipt of required verification. New applications and wait list status will be viewable within Applicant Portal within 24 - 48 hours. A receipt letter will be mailed to you about two weeks after submission of application.
Answer:  You will be notified by mail when your name comes to the top of a wait list or if the CDA is updating your file. Therefore, you must provide a valid mailing address. The U.S. Postal Service will not forward CDA mail. If any CDA mail is returned as undeliverable, you will be canceled from the wait list. If you are canceled from a wait list and you wish to reapply, you will have to wait 3 months before doing so and only if the wait list is open at that time. You must also report changes to the CDA via Applicant Portal or in writing.
Answer:  Wait list applicants are required to report in writing:  changes of mailing address, phone number, gross monthly income, and family composition. Changes may be made via Applicant Portal. Once you have logged into your Applicant Portal account, click on "Update Your Application." If you do not wish to use Applicant Portal, submit changes using CDA Applicant Update Form
Answer:  Wait lists will generally remain open, until the CDA has a sufficient number of applicants to fill vacancies over the next 12 – 24 months.
Answer: The CDA does not provide emergency or immediate housing. Wait times vary. Vacancies and HUD funding may also affect the wait time. You will be notified by mail when the CDA is ready to screen your application:
Estimated Wait Times
Bedroom Size
City of Madison
Residency Preference
City of Madison
Residency Preference
    with Disabled/Elderly Preference
6 - 12 Months
* indefinitely
    with Family Preference
1 - 2 Years * indefinitely
3-, 4-, 5-Bedroom
    with Family Preference
2 - 3 Years 4 - 5 Years
* There is no requirement to live in the City of Madison. However, the CDA will serve applicants who are awarded a City of Madison Residency Preference first. Verification is required to receive a City of Madison Residency Preference. CDA Wait List Preferences
Answer:  Applicants are assigned a place on the wait list, based on preferences and the date and time the CDA receives a completed pre-application.
Answer:   Preferences help to ensure that people with certain needs or circumstances have first priority for housing assistance. Applicants with preference have their applications considered before those without preference. Preferences may be claimed at the time of application or at any time you are on a wait list. The CDA must receive certain verification in order to award a preference. Preferences are also re-verified prior to receiving housing assistance. Please refer to the CDA Wait List Preferences  reference sheet for details on the required verification documents to turn in to receive a preference.The CDA uses the following wait list preferences:
Residency Preference

Head-of-household, spouse, or co-head lives, works, or attends school or participates in a training program in the City of Madison. If the applicant does not live in the City of Madison, but does live within the County of Dane, a Dane County preference may apply. If you are homeless, and living in the City of Madison, you may be able to verify City Preference, by having a social worker complete and submit a Social Service Agency Residency Verification Affidavit

Family/Elderly/Disabled Preference

Applicants who have a minor child in the applicant household; or the head-of-household, spouse, or co-head is 62 years of age or older; or the head-of-household, spouse, or co-head qualifies as a person with a disability.

Rent Burden/Homeless/Victim of Domestic Abuse Preference (Section 8 Program)
The applicant family household is paying more than 50% of their gross monthly family income for rent and utility cost for at least 90 consecutive days; or the head-of-household, spouse, or co-head is homeless and living in a public or private facility providing shelter, a motel or hotel, or is staying with other people because they are homeless (doubled-up); or the head-of-household, spouse, or co-head is a victim of a domestic-related crime.
Involuntarily Displaced Preference (Section 8 Program)
Applicant familiy has been forced from their home within the last six (6) months as a result of a federally declared natural disaster (e.g. fire or flood) and currently not living in standard permanent replacement housing.
Answer:  For preliminary eligibility, the applicant family must:
  • Have a head-of-household, spouse, or co-head who is at least 18 years of age.
  • Qualify as a family as defined by HUD and the CDA.
  • Have income at or below HUD-specified income limits.
  • Have at least one family member who is a citizen, national, or noncitizen with eligible immigration status. Families that include eligible and ineligible citizenship are considered mixed families, and the amount of housing assistance will be prorated.
  • Provide social security number information for family members as required.
  • Consent to the CDA's collection and use of information as provided for in CDA-provided consent forms.
Answer: The CDA will deny admission to any applicant whose habits and practices may be expected to have a detrimental effect on other tenants or on the project's environment. The CDA will conduct a criminal background check on all adult household members. For CDA owned property, references and credit history will also be examined to make sure you and your family will be good tenants. For the Section 8 program, the property owner is responsible for screening voucher holders for their suitability as a tenant. Reasons for denial may include, but are not limited to:
  • State sex offender registration requirement
  • Illegal use of drugs
  • Drug-related criminal activity
  • Criminal Activity
  • Alcohol abuse that interferes with the right to peaceful enjoyment of the premises by others
  • Lease violations, eviction filings, or judgments
  • Owing money to a landlord
  • Negative behavior and disturbances to neighbors
  • Not meeting financial obligations, including rent
  • Poor housekeeping habits
  • Debts owed to any federal housing authority
Answer:  Public Housing is owned and managed by the CDA. If you are found eligible for Public Housing, you will move into a CDA Public Housing rental unit and your rent will be reduced based on your income. Under the Section 8 program, the CDA provides rental subsidy on behalf of eligible individuals and families, allowing them to rent with a private landlord in the City of Madison.

Answer: The Section 8 wait list is only open for the Section 8 Mainstream Program and the Emergency Housing Voucher Program:

  • Mainstream is exclusively for singles or families with a disabled adult (age 18-61) household member, and who are currently living in permanent supportive housing or rapid rehousing. Mainstream Voucher Program Notice . 
  • Emergency Housing Voucher (EHV) Program is provided through a direct referral process from the Dane County Continuum of Care. EHV is available to assist individuals and families who are:
    • Homeless
    • At risk of homelessness
    • Fleeing, or attempting to flee, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, or human trafficking
    • Recently homeless and at high risk of housing instability
  • The Section 8 Wait List is CLOSED to other individuals.
Answer:  Rent is based on your family's anticipated gross annual income. CDA program participants generally pay 30% of their income toward rent, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) pays the rest. Payment Standards for the Section 8 program are based on the apartment bedroom size.
Answer:  Free access to computers is available at City of Madison library branches: The following agencies provide assistance with CDA applications, or other housing applications:
615 E. Washington Avenue
Madison WI  53703
(608) 826-8040
Monday - Friday, 9 am – 2 pm
* Hours may vary
1125 W. Badger Road, #6
Madison WI  53713
(608) 261-9764
Monday - Thursday, 8:30 am – 4 pm
Friday, 8 am – 11:30 am
330 W. Mifflin Street, Computer Lab
Madison WI  53703
(608) 266-6581
Monday, 11 am – 12 noon
Services for Seniors
Initial intake by phone only
Madison WI 53711
(608) 512-0000
Monday – Friday, 9 am –4 pm
Services for Seniors
2102 Fordem Avenue
Madison WI  53704
(608) 251-4445
Monday – Friday, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Services for victims of domestic abuse



Last Updated: 01/11/2023


Si usted desea hablar en Español con un miembro del personal de la CDA, favor de llamar al (608) 266-4868.

Provee su nombre y un numero de teléfono de contacto.

Un miembro del personal de la CDA entonces devolverá su llamada usando un servicio de interpretación telefónica.