CINCINNATI — There’s new opportunity this morning for Greater Cincinnati’s low-income families.
The Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority reopens the waiting list for its Housing Choice Voucher Program at 8 a.m. Sept. 9 and will keep it open through 11:59 p.m. Sept. 12.
Applying to the waiting list is the first step to try to get a Housing Choice Voucher. The vouchers are part of a federal government program to help very low-income families, senior citizens and people with disabilities afford decent, safe housing. The program was formerly known as Section 8.
The last time the waiting list was open was in January 2017, and CMHA got more than 14,000 applications for the 6,500 available spots on the list, said Lesley Wardlow, CMHA’s senior communications coordinator.
“There are so many people in need of assistance,” Wardlow said. “When we open it, we always get thousands of people applying to be on this list. It definitely confirms the need.”
Very low-income families are eligible for the Housing Choice Voucher Program. The federal government defines “very low-income” as families with incomes below 50 percent of the area median income. In Hamilton County, that would be up to $40,650 per year for a family of four.
Some families in specific categories can have household incomes of up to 80 percent of the area median income. That would be up to $65,050 for a family of four.
Applying to be on the waiting list doesn’t require pay stubs or lots of paperwork regarding a family’s income, Wardlow said. Such documentation would be required later for those selected from the list.
People must apply online using a smart phone, tablet or computer. No paper applications will be accepted, and people cannot apply in person at CMHA administrative offices. The link to apply online is www.waitlistcheck.com/OH2265.
CMHA has a number of partner organizations that have agreed to allow people to use their computers for free in order to apply. (Click below to see the list of organizations.)
Applicants must have an email account and should bring a pen and paper to write down the confirmation number they will receive as part of the process, Wardlow said.
After the waiting list is closed, CMHA will use a lottery system to select 6,500 applicants at random out of everyone who applies, she said.
The housing authority has vouchers for up to 11,600 households. The vouchers become available when families leave the program, and CMHA uses the names on the waiting list to distribute the vouchers when that happens.
Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To reach Lucy, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.