Milw. Co. to accept applications for rent assistance from general public for first time since 2001
MILWAUKEE — Beginning THIS WEEK, Milwaukee County will accept applications for rent assistance vouchers for the first time since 2001.
According to Milwaukee County officials — the county’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Housing Division will be accepting applications for its Section 8 Rent Assistance Vouchers between July 12th and July 14th.
Section 8 Rent Assistance is federally funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and distributed by the Department of Health and Human Service’s Housing Division to help low income families and individuals with rent assistance.
“Five years ago our department took on an initiative to improve our operations, resulting in a more efficiently run program with a better use of funding. We are proud to have exhausted a 15-year waiting list, opening up new opportunities to provide our residents with support for safe and decent housing,” Héctor Colón, Director of the Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement.
Between July 12th and July 14th, Milwaukee County residents who meet the federal eligibility criteria can apply to enter a lottery for Section 8 Rent Assistance.
Applications will be accepted at three locations:
- North Side: MLK Jr. Rec Center, 1531 W. Vliet Street
- East Side: Gordon Park, 2828 N. Humboldt Boulevard
- South Side: McCarty Park, 8214 W. Cleveland Avenue
- July 12th: 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
- July 13th: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- July 14th: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Applications selected from a lottery will be evaluated and placed on new waitlists based on eligibility and need.
Officials say on September 6th, names will be selected through the lottery for vouchers. Those selected on September 6th will be contacted and asked to complete a full application.
To avoid long lines and long waits, officials are encouraging people to take the following steps:
- Apply at anytime during the application periods on July 12th, July 13th and July 14th.
- Do not arrive early before registration begins. Plan to arrive later in the day.
- Make sure you have documentation with you including a mailing address, your date of birth, social security number and a phone number if possible.
It should be noted that you cannot apply more than once. Multiple applicants will be disqualified.
Those selected will be notified on or before September 6. Those not selected will not be contacted.
When vouchers are made available, households will then be contacted off of the waitlist to complete a full application and receive assistance.
“There is a great need for this program,” said Dena Hunt, manager for Milwaukee County’s Section 8 program. “The rent assistance staff have and will continue to put in a lot of work, allowing the program to help those in need. Staff throughout the housing division are committed to this event, recognizing its importance to this community. Residents are encouraged to apply at a time that is convenient for them, rather than at the start of the day. This will reduce long lines and crowding to ensure a smooth process for all who come to apply.”
Section 8 Rent Assistance Eligibility
Housing assistance is available to U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, or non-citizens that have eligible immigration status; “mixed families” will receive prorated assistance. A person may enroll his or herself and up to two other households. All households must meet the income limits set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD):
HOUSEHOLD SIZE INCOME LIMITS HOUSEHOLD SIZE INCOME LIMITS
1 $24,600 5 $37,950
2 $28,100 6 $40,750
3 $31,600 7 $43,550
4 $35,100 8 $46,350
Section 8 Background
In the past, Section 8 had a stagnate waitlist. Some applicants had been on the waitlist for a decade. An aggressive plan of action was put into place to rewrite a more effective administrative plan with numerous impactful changes to subsidy standards, including: streamlining procedures, staff development, audit procedures resulting in reductions in fraud and overpayments, and enforcement of program guidelines with a renovated informal hearing process. These improvements led to a more effective use of funding for the Housing Division as a whole. Now, the Section 8 program is nearing the end of a “four phase” process in regards to voucher distribution to veterans, the homeless and low income families.
The above improvements enabled the division to exhaust a 15-year waitlist for Section 8 vouchers earlier this year (May), providing services to the last of those waiting for rental assistance.
Shortly after, vouchers were distributed to veterans. On May 23rd, 2016 the Housing Division began to take applications for homeless preference, which includes applicants displaced due to domestic violence and those in transitional housing.
Beginning on June 6th, we began distributing vouchers to the homeless. To date, we have distributed 154 vouchers, held six briefings and are continue to review eligibility of applicants. We estimate we distributed a total of 250 vouchers through this phase.
PHASE 4 – Now in action
Lastly, July 12th through 14th, the Section 8 waitlist will be open to the general public. Applicants will be placed in a lottery. Selected individuals will be placed on a waitlist, and will be given a voucher as they become available. We now anticipate opening the waitlist every other year, achieving the goal of proper waitlist maintenance.
CLICK HERE for a flyer with further information about this program.