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Each Portsmouth Housing property and program has different eligibility and priority guidelines. This is why we encourage everyone to apply so our staff can help determine which properties or programs you are eligible for. For Portsmouth Housing to make this determination, you must first complete our full Preliminary Application and supply documents that our staff may require.

Portsmouth Housing provides housing and housing subsidies in two ways.

First, we own and manage over 600 rental apartments located in 12 different sites throughout the City of Portsmouth. Housing Applicants can apply for this rental housing in one or all of these properties, although it should be noted that certain eligibility criteria such as age, income, and others does vary for each development.

When these rental apartments become available, qualified households are selected from a Waitlist, asked to update their file to ensure eligibility, and then schedule a time with one of our Property Managers when you can view and accept the apartment.

Secondly, our Housing Voucher Program is a rental subsidy program that gives subsidies directly to owners of over 400 quality rental apartments throughout the region. The cash subsidies provided to these rental property owners allows them to rent the apartment to low-income tenants at monthly rental rates far below market rents. In this way, people with low income with a Housing Choice Voucher have a monthly housing expense that is no more than 30% of their gross income.

There are also HCV programs at Housing Authorities throughout New Hampshire including the statewide New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority. The HCV program is reserved for the lowest income households in our community. When vouchers are available, qualified households are selected from a Wait List, certified, briefed on the requirements of the program, and are then permitted to locate their own housing. The maximum rent payment standards are determined by the US Department of Housing and Development (HUD) and are revised annually.

Applicant FAQs

  1. Fill out our preliminary application.
    You can receive one by emailing us, calling our office, or stopping by our main office at 245 Middle Street. You must include all required supplemental material for us to process the application.
  2. Submit the preliminary application.
    Email the application to (must be scanned in PDF format) or return to our main office at 245 Middle Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801.
  3. Wait for the preliminary application to be processed.
    It will take about two weeks to process the Preliminary Application. Once the Preliminary Application is both processed and approved, the applicant will receive a letter in the mail confirming he/she has been added to the Waitlist.

It is your responsibility to keep your address and phone number updated with the Portsmouth Housing Authority while you are on our Waitlist.

When a unit becomes available and the applicant is high enough on the Waitlist, then he/she will be contacted to fill out the full application. Applicants will receive a letter and a phone call from the Portsmouth Housing Authority when their application reaches the top of the Waitlist of the property they have requested.

You must first complete Portsmouth Housing's Preliminary Application and submit the completed application to PHA along with copies of Social Security cards and Birth Certificates for all members of the household. All applicants must also agree to a criminal background check. Eligibility for housing is based upon income, age, disability, citizen or immigration status, and criminal record, if any. Portsmouth Housing gives priority to veterans, elderly (62+ years old), people with disabilities, people with disabilities, and residents of Portsmouth.

The wait for housing varies upon upon a variety of factors and can be difficult to predict. Applicants who are veterans, elderly (62+ years), disabled, elderly/disabled, and who are current Portsmouth residents receive preference on our wait list. Depending on these preferences and the availability of units, the wait for housing or housing assistance can vary between several months or several years.

Applicants will receive a letter and a phone call from PHA when their application reaches the top of the Wait List they request to be on.

Any further questions can be emailed to

No. If you owe money to another Housing Authority you will not be eligible. All debt to any Housing Authority must be paid before becoming eligible. However, you can still put your name on our Waitlist.

This varies upon individual circumstances. Generally, assets do not count as income. However, income from assets does matter. If you are earning interest of over $5,000 from your assets, then it does count as income.

Portsmouth Housing Authority does not provide emergency housing.

All new housing applicants are taken from the Waitlist based upon the date they applied and if they are veterans, elderly (62+ years old), people with disabilities, elderly people with disabilities, people who are employed, and/or residents of Portsmouth. The waiting time for housing can take anywhere from about 1 to 3 years.

If you are in need of emergency housing, please reach out to local shelters.

In order to be eligible for housing assistance, each applicant or recipient of housing assistance must be lawfully within the United States as a US Citizen or with Eligible Immigration Status. Please see our Preliminary Application and review the DECLARATION OF SECTION 214 (CITIZENSHIP STATUS) form for specific information about Eligible Status.

All applicants are subject to a criminal background check and may be asked to provide additional details. Applicants with a criminal record who are not truthful about their record will be rejected and could face penalties for perjury. If an applicant is denied housing assistance because of their criminal background or any other reason, he/she has an opportunity to appeal the decision to the Portsmouth Housing Authority.