Section 8 housing waitlist reopens for Roanoke Valley

Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 6:51 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Roanoke’s Section 8 housing waitlist opened back up to the public Monday. The City of Roanoke Redevelopment and Housing Authority (RRHA) is expecting to receive 5,000 applications before the waitlist closes Friday.

The authority received more than 500 applications in the first two hours the waitlist opened Monday.

RRHA’s executive director explained how the authority is preparing for a busy week with dozens of Section 8 waitlist applications already coming in.

“A lot of people need a place to live because the rents have gone up, inflation and the pandemic,” David Bustamante said. “We had an eviction moratorium and now those individuals are going back to court and they’re being evicted so there’s a lot more need for affordable housing.”

However, there are not enough available units to match the growing need. The authority is asking for more landlords to participate in Section 8.

“If you are a landlord, help us. Without landlords this program is not successful,” Bustamante said. “If landlords are willing to help or willing to lease their units to section 8 participants, please reach out to us.”

This year’s applicants will go behind 250 residents from the 2019 waitlist. The applicants will be entered into a lottery selection to determine their place on the list. Local preference and waitlist priority are given to:

  • A family whose head of household, spouse or sole member is 62 years of age or older.
  • A family with a least one disabled family member.
  • Families involuntarily displaced due to owner action, natural disaster or government action
  • Those experiencing homelessness
  • Survivors of domestic violence
  • Families who pay 40% of their income toward rent
  • Veterans

“Everybody, except for those on the preference list, has the opportunity to either fall at the top or at the bottom. It’s a lottery,” Bustamante said. “It’s not first come first serve.”

Annual income limits (based on the number of people in a household) for program participation are:

  • 1 person = $30,250
  • 2 persons = $34,550
  • 3 persons = $38,850
  • 4 persons = $43,150
  • 5 persons = $46,650
  • 6 persons = $50,100
  • 7 persons = $53,550
  • 8 persons = $57,000

Roanoke residents such as Rory Witherspoon hope to get a spot on the waitlist after this week.

“I have kids and grandkids and I want to keep all of us in the same household,” Witherspoon said. “I hope I can get approved and it’ll work out for me and my family.”

RRHA is only accepting online applications. Residents who don’t have access to a computer can go to any Roanoke Public Library or the housing authority locations for help with the application.

The manager of the Williamson Road branch library explained how they are expecting more people to come in this week to use the computers.

“We’re probably going to get quite a few more people coming in to do the Section 8 housing,” Dr. Toni Vinciguerra said. “So many folks come in and they don’t have computer access at home so the library really provides that opportunity.”

The Section 8 housing application can be found here. The application will close Friday at 5 p.m.

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