Those in search of affordable housing in Indianapolis will have a chance next week to get on the waiting list for a federal section 8 program voucher—the first time the program's waiting list has been opened in about two years.
The Indianapolis Housing Agency said 10,000 people will be selected, by random lottery, at the end of the application period, which is open from Monday through Thursday. Those selected will receive vouchers, which helps subsidize rent and utilities in private housing, if the agency determines they are eligible for the program.
The news comes as Indianapolis is experiencing a shortfall of affordable housing to keep up with the demand. IBJ reported earlier this year that Marion County ranks 64th out of the largest 100 counties in the nation for the availability of affordable housing.
The waiting list is opening again because the Indianapolis Housing Agency has recently processed the last several hundred people on the waiting list. The agency received about 47,000 applications when the waiting list was last open in 2014, and chose about 6,000 people.
The agency expects a bump in applications this year “due to the increase in demand for affordable housing and the ease of the online application process,” according to a press release.
IHA’s Keshawn Cue, director of rental assistance and voucher programs, stressed that the agency needs more landlords from across the country to participate in the program.
Most of the 2,000 landlords the agency works with have units located within a three-mile radius of the agency’s Midtown office, Cue said.
“If we could expand that, the program would definitely grow and benefit,” Cue said. “You can issue all of the vouchers you want, but if you don’t have enough landlords that are willing to participate, the program fails.”
The federal Section 8 program currently serves 7,000 poor families in Indianapolis. People who receive vouchers find housing in the private rental market, and they pay no more than 30 percent of their monthly income toward rent and utilities. The property owner receives the balance of the rent through the program.
To qualify for the program, a family of four will need to make $33,350 per year or less. The income restrictions change depending on the size of the household.
Applications will be accepted from noon on Monday, Sept. 12 to 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 15. Those chosen in the lottery will then be interviewed to make sure they qualify for the program. Families will find out if they have been selected by Oct. 10.
The applications, which are offered in English and Spanish, are only available online at www.section8lotteryindy.com. The Indianapolis Housing Agency has notified local public library branches and other locations with public computers about the possibility of increased traffic.
Those with questions can call the waiting list help center at 866-411-1897.