The Housing Authority of New Orleans reopened the waiting list for its housing voucher program this week, the first time the agency has done so in seven years.
The move comes a week after the agency accepted more than 10,000 applications for its revamped Florida public housing development and “scattered site” apartments.
The housing choice voucher program, usually known as Section 8, awards low-income residents subsidies to assist with rent payments to private landlords.
The program is extremely popular. When the waiting list was last opened in 2009, about 30,000 applicants signed up, HANO spokeswoman Lesley Thomas said. The number dwindled to about 13,250 in later years as people were assigned vouchers or removed from the list for various reasons.
HANO also is expecting many applications this year. “We anticipate a high volume of submissions, possibly exceeding the 30,000 received in 2009,” Thomas said.
HANO receives federal funding for about 17,800 Section 8 families, and voucher availability is determined by monthly turnover.
Over the past two years, the agency has tried to contact all applicants on the current list to see if they still need assistance, with some success. The number of applicants on the list is now down to about 6,000, Thomas said.
About 30 percent of the families who signed up in 2009 have received vouchers and are in rental housing, she said.
HANO expects to finish its review of the 2009 waiting list by late spring or early summer.
Placement on the waiting list is determined by lottery, rather than by the date and time of the application, but new applicants will not displace those already on the list.
To be eligible, families must earn no more than $21,000 for a one-person household and $30,000 for a four-person household. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development requires that at least 75 percent of families admitted to HANO’s program must make even less than that, officials said. A full list of household income limits is available at hano.org.
Eligible applicants will be offered the first available form of assistance that meets the family’s needs.
Follow Jessica Williams on Twitter, @jwilliamsNOLA.