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Waitlist for Section 8 opening

Online applications for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program will open on April 11.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Applications to be placed on the Section 8 waitlist have finally reopened after three years.

On Tuesday, the City of Buffalo and the Rental Assistance Corporation of Buffalo (RACB) announced that the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program waitlist application will be available online beginning Monday, April 11 at 10 a.m. through Friday, May 6, 2022 at 3 p.m.

"We're just coming out of the pandemic we've got the eviction moratorium coming to an end and a lot of families have been struggling and now they might be tough situations where they might be losing their housing," said RACB Executive Director John McMahon.

RACB expects thousands of people to apply for the program and McMahon says they are currently assisting around 5,000 families. 

A Section 8 voucher is a subsidy that allows people to pay up to 30% of their income to rent in safe, decent housing of their choice. The voucher can allow people at or below the poverty line to live in a place they can afford.

Applicants do not need to live in Buffalo, but preference will be given to people who live and work in Erie County. Applicants must also meet the income guidelines of the 50th percentile of the area's median income.

The current limit for a single-person household is $27,650 and for a family of eight, the voucher allows up to $52,100 annual income. New income requirements are expected to be released by HUD in April so McMahon says that applicants who may not qualify now should check back.

Once the waitlist is closed, RACB will conduct a lottery to determine which qualified candidates will be placed on the waitlist. It is expected that between 1,000 and 2,000 applicants will be selected per year of vouchers depending on the federal funding.

"This is going to give them not only an opportunity to stay where they are but maybe even find a fresh start move into housing that is not only affordable for them because we're paying the rent but maybe even in better condition, better neighborhoods and really overall improve their living conditions," said McMahon.

The Rental Assistance Corporation has recipients in Clarence, Hamburg, Orchard Park, and the City of Buffalo, so McMahon said stigma about the program is often unwarranted.

"You know many families are receiving assistance and many of their neighbors don't realize it," McMahon said.

The waitlist can be accessed at RACB's website and those needing assistance with the application can call (716) 882-0063 ext. 106.

RACB recently opened its newly renovated location on Franklin Street where individuals looking to apply, from low-income individuals to the elderly, can get assistance. McMahon offered 2 On Your Side a tour.

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