Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Louis Section 8 Voucher Waiting List to Open for First Time since 2007

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Louis Section 8 Voucher Waiting List to Open for First Time since 2007

Article excerpt

ST. LOUIS * Dec. 7, 2007, won't be forgotten anytime soon in the halls of the St. Louis Housing Authority, at 3520 Page Boulevard.

It was Application Day. The demand to get a place on the waiting list for Section 8 vouchers was so great, people rushed the front door. Police stepped in to disperse the crowd.

"We had to close the thing down because there were too many people," said Cheryl Lovell, executive director of the housing authority.

"Lots of people want the assistance," she added. "A lot of people need it."

Over 8,000 names eventually landed on the waiting list that week in 2007. Now, seven years later, the application pool has nearly dried up.

The housing authority announced Thursday that a one-week window to pre-register for the income-based rental assistance program will open again July 14.

The agency has been planning for the event for months in hopes to avoid some of the previous struggles. The main difference will be an online option. Applications can be submitted 24 hours a day at slha.org.

"We don't want to have people wait in line at our building to apply," Lovell said. "We want them to do it at their convenience."

The housing authority expects more applicants this time around, perhaps 10,000. No new vouchers were issued from the middle of 2012 through 2013 because of funding cuts.

Section 8 is one of many government subsidized housing programs for low-income people and those with disabilities. Recipients pay 30 percent of their income in rent; the government pays the remainder directly to the landlord. Renters find their own housing from a list of properties in the community that meet the standards of the program.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funds the program; local housing authorities manage it on the ground.

Lovell said Congress ultimately decides the speed of getting through the waiting list. …

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