(Editor’s note: The voucher waiting list is now closed.)
The Lancaster City Housing Authority briefly opened its waiting list for Housing Choice vouchers, also known as “Section 8” vouchers.
The waiting list opened at 8 a.m. Tuesday and closed at 3 p.m. sharp Wednesday. For information and to access a link to the (now closed) application portal, click here.
The authority sent advance notifications to local social service organizations, alerting them that the waiting list would be opening, so they could let eligible clients know and help them apply, authority Executive Director Barbara Wilson and Program Coordinator Amy Kendall said.
As of shortly after 10 a.m. Wednesday, the authority had received 3,785 applications, Kendall said.
Submitting the initial application is just the start. To secure a spot on the list, applicants are given an access code for the authority’s online portal, where they must submit additional information — in particular, documentation of their income. The authority verifies their data, then places eligible applicants on the waiting list in the order their submissions were received.
People sometimes think they’re done after submitting their initial application and fail to follow through with all of the steps, Wilson said.
Section 8 is a federal program that assists low-income renters. They pay a reduced rent, with a voucher provided by a local housing authority making up the difference.
To qualify, households must have income between 30% and 50% of area median income. For a family of four in Lancaster County, that’s $30,000 to $47,750.
Currently, just under 900 vouchers provided through the Lancaster City Housing Authority are in use. Vouchers can be freed up for a number of reasons —households rising above the income limits, or moving out of the area — making them available to the households next on the waiting list.
To use a voucher, people have to find a vacant apartment owned by a landlord willing to accept it. Unfortunately, in Lancaster County’s tight housing market, that has become very difficult, Kendall said.