Section8HsgVoucherProgram1

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced the reopening of the city’s Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP) Waiting List, Oct. 6. According to the Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC), this marks the first time in over 10 years that the list has been open to receive preliminary applications.

From Oct. 22 through Oct. 30, residents wanting to apply for a Housing Choice Voucher, a federally funded but locally managed program that helps low-income persons afford housing on the private rental market, will be able to submit a preliminary application.  Applications will only be accepted online, via the city’s newly minted website www.jointhelist.org. To assist those who may not have access to the internet, or who may need special accommodations, the city will operate five remote sites between Oct. 28 and Oct. 30.

In order to accept new applications, the city has been continually updating and purging the existing list since 2003, when it was closed down after ballooning to over 18,000 persons (for persons or families with disabilities, the waiting list had remained open until 2008). According to Cheron Porter, director of communications for Baltimore Housing, of the last batch of 2,700 names on the waiting list that the city cleared, some were deemed no longer eligible for a voucher (for example, some persons on the list had since passed away), some were removed because the city no longer had valid addresses for them, and approximately 300 persons were able to receive vouchers.

The city is not sure how many people may submit preliminary applications over the course of the nine-day window at the end of October, but Porter tells the {AFRO} that Pittsburgh, Penn. went through a similar process recently and saw 48,000 applications in two days, and that Miami saw 78,000 over the course of a week when the Southern Florida city reopened its waiting list.

“We suspect that it would be comparable (in Baltimore), those are cities similar in size and need,” said Porter.

If that is the case, there will be more applications than there are available waiting list spaces. According to an FAQ released by the city about the reopening of the waiting list, only 25,000 preliminary applications will be accepted.  If more than that number apply, the 25,000 will be selected randomly from the overall pool of preliminary applicants.

Those wanting more information on the process or eligibility requirements, are being directed to www.jointhelist.org, or to call (410) 396-5666.

ralejandro@afro.com