For the first time since July 2016, the Luzerne County Housing Authority will accept applications for Section 8 rental assistance on Wednesday — but only for one day.
A crowd is expected because the authority received more than 700 applications during the last two-day acceptance period in 2016, authority Executive Director David Fagula said Tuesday.
Fagula said he chose to limit this opening to one day because approximately 150 applicants from 2016 are still on a waiting list for vouchers.
New applications submitted Wednesday won’t be considered until the current list is closed out, which should take months, Fagula said.
He wanted to seek new applications to start preparing the next list of program participants because some of those on the 2016 one may be inaccessible or no longer interested due to the time that’s lapsed.
“I’d like to get 200 to 300 new names this time,” he said.
In general, program participants receive vouchers for their landlords covering 70 percent of rent and utilities, while tenants pay the remaining 30 percent, Fagula said. The federal government sets limits on acceptable fair market rent ranges.
The county authority serves all municipalities except for the four cities — Wilkes-Barre, Pittston, Hazleton and Nanticoke — which operate their own housing authorities.
A team of authority representatives will process the applications, which will be accepted from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in its office at 250 First Ave., Kingston.
“It hasn’t been open for a while, so people should expect a bit of a wait,” he said.
Applicants must be a member of a family, elderly, disabled or a single person over 18, the authority said. Preference will be given to county residents and veterans.
Program income eligibility limits currently range from $23,250 for one person to $43,800 for a family of eight.
The other limits in between: two people, $26,550; three, $29,850; four, $33,150; five, $35,850; six, $38,500; and seven, $41,150.
Fagula has said it’s unlikely the voucher supply will ever keep pace with demand. The authority is federally authorized to fill 1,115 slots, but the $6 million it receives through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development can cover only about 1,000.
The authority had to reduce the number of employees overseeing Section 8 from seven to four because the additional $450,000 to administer the program wasn’t covering expenses. This work includes income verification, federal reports and inspections of the privately owned rental units.
The Wilkes-Barre Housing Authority is in a similar situation, with demand exceeding available slots, authority Executive Director Judy Kosloski said last month.
The city authority received 675 applications during its last single-day enrollment in June, she had said. As of early March, none of these newer applicants had received vouchers because 75 more were still on a prior waiting list.
Her authority receives enough federal funding to provide 650 vouchers, including 111 reserved for veterans, even though it is technically approved for up to 675, Kosloski has said.
Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.