The Housing Authority of Maricopa County is accepting applications this week for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program providing housing subsidies for low-income households. It is the first time the subsidized housing wait list has been open since 2007, according to Housing Authority Executive Director Gloria Munoz.
Applications must be completed and mailed back to the Housing Authority in an envelope with a postmark date of no later than Friday March 11. Once accepted, a voucher may be used for private housing and comes with a rental subsidy, depending on income.
“We are very excited about opening the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program Wait List for the first time in almost five years,” commented Debbie Cooke, program manager. “It is a program that offers eligible families both a ray of hope and a choice in the rental market in which they get to choose where they can live within our service area.”
The county housing authority generally services the unincorporated communities of Maricopa County, so the vouchers cannot be used in cities like Phoenix, Glendale, Scottsdale and Tempe where there are existing voucher programs. But the vouchers can be used in communities like El Mirage, Surprise, Cashion, Tolleson, Apache Junction and Queen Creek.
The voucher program gives preference for those low income who are disabled, elderly or a veteran of military service.
“A place to live that is decent, safe and sanitary is one of the necessities of life,” Munoz said. “And we at the Housing Authority are committed to help as many people as we can.
County officials said the current wait list has dropped to 413 families, and some of those will not qualify for a voucher, thus creating the opportunity to accept more applications from eligible families. “The housing voucher program has great flexibility in allowing people to live where they want,” Cooke said. “These vouchers are precious because it normally takes so long to get them. Families have waited years before they received them. But once you get them, they are portable and flexible, so families can find housing near jobs, transportation and other family members. In a time of recession, the flexibility in subsidies provide a measure of additional security as well.”
Voucher applications are available at the housing authority offices and on its website, http://maricopahousing.org/sect8.htm