It has been six years since any new applicants have been able to sign up for housing assistance through the Houston Housing Authority.
That’s because the need for Section 8 housing vastly outstrips the available number of housing vouchers. HHA President and CEO Tory Gunsolley says they finally whittled down the previous waiting list and a lottery system will determine who gets on the new list.
“The computer is going to both pick people for the lottery, and then also assign them a waiting list number. So some people will be randomly assigned to the top of the list and some people will be at the bottom of the list.”
Gunsolley says they estimate as many as 100,000 people will enter the lottery but only 20,000 will get slots on the list. After that, about 2,000 households per year will actually receive housing vouchers. Some people will have to wait for up to six years to get assistance.
“We don’t have any new resources, we’re just using the resources we have. There is a lot of affordable housing in the marketplace, but in terms of people with disabilities or just people who need a deep subsidy, there’s really scarce resources.”
Houston isn’t the only Texas city with this problem. Last year, Dallas opened its waiting list for two days and got more than 21,000 applications. Plano closed its waiting list after getting 8,000 applications in just a few hours.
The Houston Housing Authority’s application period will open on August 20th at 8am and end August 26th at midnight.