Section 8 housing list taking applications againJaAfter being closed 14 months ago because the waiting list had grown to more than 300 people, the Cloquet/Carlton Section 8 subsidized housing program will begin taking applications again on Monday, Sept. 17.
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
JaAfter being closed 14 months ago because the waiting list had grown to more than 300 people, the Cloquet/Carlton Section 8 subsidized housing program will begin taking applications again on Monday, Sept. 17.
“We’re expecting a big rush,” HRA Executive Director Debra Shaff said, noting that they decided to take applications again because the waiting list had been reduced to a more manageable number. Applications for the Section 8/Housing Choice Voucher Program will be available between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays at the Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) office at 950 14th St., Cloquet.
The Section 8/Housing Choice Voucher Program is the federal government’s program for assisting very low and low income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market. Applicants will be placed on a waiting list to receive a Housing Choice Voucher. Preferential points are awarded to residents of Carlton County, veterans, and victims of assault.
In a nutshell, Section 8 works like this: A family or individual who qualifies – and moves far enough up the waiting list – is issued a housing voucher. They have 60 days to find a suitable rental home or apartment that meets their needs and passes federal government requirements for price and safety. The landlord must be willing to work with the Section 8 Housing Program as well. If all of those things fall into place, the HRA pays a housing subsidy directly to the landlord and the renter pays a portion. The portion of their rent subsidy depends on their income. Typically the Section 8 tenant pays 30 percent of their gross income. The Cloquet Housing Authority would pay the rest within set rent payment standards set by the federal government.
The waiting list isn’t necessarily first-come, first-served. Applicants get points which determine where they fall on the waiting list. For example, people already living in Carlton County get 75 points; veterans who served at least 180 days get 25 points; men or women who have been victims of domestic violence, stalking or dating violence get 25 points. The more points someone gets, the higher that person goes on the waiting list.
Applicants who have reached the top of the list will be notified and invited to attend a briefing meeting prior to receiving a voucher. Section 8/Housing Choice Voucher financial assistance varies according to household income, expenses, and family size.
Section 8 coordinator Bob Nelson is optimistic about wait times for qualified candidates.
“If our current pace of issuing vouchers and leasing up tenants continue, we could probably work through our current waiting list of Carlton County residents in four months,” Nelson said. “If that is the case, those who get on the list when it opens back up would have a minimum of four months, and hopefully less than a year, to wait before they receive a voucher.”
The Section 8 program is also looking to expand its list of Carlton County property owners willing to work with the program, although Nelson said they’ve had some success signing up new landlords.
“We are very happy to see some good momentum going with the Section 8/Housing Choice Voucher program,” Nelson said.
For more information on the Section 8/Housing Choice Voucher Program, contact Nelson at 218-879-3353.