GR Section 8 waiting list opening in May

The line outside of the Wyoming Housing Commission for housing assistance vouchers on March 24, 2014.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — People wishing to get on the Grand Rapids Section 8 housing voucher waiting list when it opens next month will have to apply online or over the phone, organizers say.

Section 8 provides rental subsidies to low-income households renting privately owned property, a Monday release from the Grand Rapids Housing Commission says.

In March, hundreds of people lined up to apply for a Section 8 voucher in Wyoming. Tempers flared, there was initially no order and police had to be called in to calm the chaos.

The GRHC will open its Section 8 housing voucher waiting list in May. To avoid a situation similar to the one in Wyoming, applications must be completed either online or by phone, the housing commission says. There will not be hard copy applications available.

Starting at 12 a.m. May 12 and running through 11:59 p.m. May 16, applications can be submitted at the Grand Rapids Housing Commission’s website, which will have both English and Spanish version of the application.

People can also call 616.288.1150 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. during the same May 12 to May 16 registration period to apply. The housing commission says people should have their Social Security number at hand when they call.

The housing commission and various community agencies will offer aid to those who have limited phone or computer access, those who have a disability and need an accommodation,  or those who speak a language other than English or Spanish.

GRHC used a similar same online or phone application process last year with success, it said.

Once the registration period over, the housing commission will draw 4,000 names by random, computerized lottery. Those people will also be arranged on the waiting list via the lottery.

People will receive a card in the mail telling them whether they were selected and added to the waiting list. Applicants are not guaranteed a place on the list, the housing commission says, because more people want a voucher than it can serve.

The housing commission says it could take years for people on the waiting list to have an opportunity to receive a voucher. Applicants must meet income and eligibility requirements to get the voucher once their name comes up.

The Grand Rapids Section 8 housing voucher waiting list was last opened to new applicants in November 2010.

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