More than 68,000 families and individuals recently applied to be on the Houston Housing Authority’s (HHA’s) waiting list for the Housing Choice Voucher program.
For the first time in four years, the agency accepted applications during a one-week enrollment period. From the 68,831 submitted applications, 30,000 names will be randomly selected to be added to the waiting list for housing assistance.
Some eligible families drawn from the lottery may receive housing vouchers as early as the end of this year. For others, it could be a long wait. HHA expects to go through the wait list within five years.
The large number of applications shows the huge demand for affordable housing in the city. More than 400,000 families in the greater Houston area are estimated to be eligible for the voucher program, also known as Sec. 8, according to HHA.
The income thresholds will be determined at the time that applicants are accepted for assistance, but the current guidelines set the annual income limits for assistance under the voucher program at $24,250 for an individual and $34,600 for a family of four.
HHA reported that a record 69% of applications were submitted on mobile phones.
Applications were available online in English, Mandarin, Spanish, and Vietnamese. The housing authority also worked with libraries and communities around the city to help make sure people had access to computers to apply.
Several new affordable housing communities are also being built in Houston. New Hope Housing is working on two developments. The nonprofit recently broke ground on NHH at Harrisburg, a mixed-use, transit-oriented development that will provide 175 affordable studio apartments.
New Hope also plans to break ground this month on NHH at Reed, its first supportive housing development serving homeless and at-risk families. The 187-unit community will provide a mix of one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments.