Huntsville Housing Authority Opens Pre-Applications For Section 8 Vouchers

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The Huntsville Housing Authority opened up the wait list for Section 8 housing vouchers Tuesday morning.

People can apply for the vouchers through April 15th at 4:30 p.m.

In the windows of the Oscar Mason Center, fluttering signs instruct any would be Section 8 applicants that might show up in person.  They encourage people to use the website and certainly not to wait in line.  There's no need.

Inside, a white board picks up the trail to the computer lab where some have come to register for the wait list that could change everything.

Director of assisted housing Paula Bingham keeps the success stories of the program close to her heart.  She says there are lots of them, like a single mother who Bingham remembers helping get through school when she started eleven years ago, "When she graduated she came to me and said her first job offer was in Atlanta, that she was making over $100,000 a year as a registered nurse."

You can see why people clamor for the opportunity, and a lot of time passed since they last got one.

Bingham notes, "In 2009 we opened for two days and got about 2,200 applications, and there's still people on that list from 2009 who haven't gotten a voucher yet."

They try to help wait-listers as fast as possible. "We actually issued about fifty vouchers last month, and we expect to issue another fifty this month," points out Bingham.

Because when you get to the top of the list, you have a real shot at getting ahead.

Bingham explains, "They pay 30% of their monthly income for rent and utilities, and we subsidize the rest up to a certain amount."  You can qualify if you make less than half of the median income. For reference, that's just under $35,000 for a family of four.

That can make the difference for people like the single mother that Bingham remembers vividly, "She couldn't have done it. She couldn't have done it without help."

Now Rena Powell seeks that same help.  She came in the very first morning of the application process. She knows the form just puts her in a lottery. Getting here first doesn't guarantee her a higher place on the wait list. Yet still, she shows up before noon on the very first day.

Powell says, "It would mean so much for me and my grandchildren. I have custody of three of my grandchildren, two boys and a girl, and we really do need to be on this program. It would help us so much."

Like most who will visit the housing authority's website to apply, anything helps.

Powell goes on, "I'm disabled, and so, there are days when I can't do a whole lot of things, because of the medication I'm on. I have to rest and things like that, but I do the best I can as far as taking care of my kids, because they are mine."

Winning the lottery - quite literally - and finding her application at the top of the list, she says, "It'd be the blessing I'm looking for."

By noon on Tuesday, a few dozen people showed up to the housing authority in person to apply, but over a thousand already submitted online.

That's why Powell enlists the help of her grandkids, two boys and a girl, "I was telling them that I was going to go and apply. I said, let's just pray that we get accepted into the program, so we are all praying."

The Huntsville Housing Authority asks that you apply online. You can find the application here.


  • Concerned

    If you still have applications from 2009 that haven’t received vouchers, why are you accepting them in 2014? That makes no sense! Why do we keep taking care of people that refuse to get off their butts and enter into the workforce? Many abuse this system, boyfriends or husbands move in as soon as the inspection is completed! Half of the people living on Rental Assistance drive Jaguars, Mercedes and Benz!! Wake Up and quit taking care of adults off my tax dollars!!! The other half work and never report wages earned just to say ” I don’t have rent to pay .” Just a shame! Google your people more than once a year, and see what you find out!

    • John

      Exactly. “and there’s still people on that list from 2009 who haven’t gotten a voucher yet.”- thats because there is no motivation to move UP and OUT. Once these people secure a slot, they are good to go for however they want…. and in the meantime stock up on their expensive cars, clothes, electronics, and have kids galore. All for 30% of their income and 70% of my taxes dollars.

    • screw aarp

      The democrat party , wants to keep these people INSLAVED, giving them just enough to keep them happy ,and getting their votes.

  • Skillpot

    Does this gift encourage one to get off their seat, on-to-their-feet, and move forward? Is there a time limit of the gift?

    BTW, how are these people going to be able to use a computer, especially, if they cannot afford one?

  • KB

    Most of these recipients end up trashing the places they live in. I have no problem with someone that needs help, we all do every now and then but I agree with the above comments. They can’t afford a home to even rent much less buy and they are driving around in brand new cars. Makes me SICK!!!!!

  • santaclausmama

    SICK!!! Really? I am sick of everyone labeling all people as Lazy-waiting-on-hand-outs…there are the WORKING POOR…that is what these programs designed for…Hell most people are living PAYCHECK To PAYCHECK…maybe it will HELP those that want and need a HELPING HAND. And as for those that abuse the system…most of those ABUSERS are the WEALTHY TAX DODGERS…BUT NODODY EVER POINTS THEIR FINGER AT THE RICH…THEY LIVE OFF OF YOUR HEAVY BENTOVER BACKS EVERYDAY and you guys never say an unkind word…but be POOR in America and you are LAZY…REALLY PEOPLE???RICH THEIVES ARE SUCKING AMERICA DRY FASTER AND FASTER but hey they are TOO RICH so no one says an UNKIND WORD…so they get to be LAZY all over the WORLD….beautiful tan soft fannies that laz on white beaches.

    • screw aarp

      With less,and less viewers, looks like 19 would follow up on a reguest. and try to keep the few viewers they still have.

  • HHA

    When you have numbers such as those that were quoted by the Director Ms. Bingham, it proves that there is a serious need and that the economy is affecting the lives of ‘human beings’. Not sure where everyone is getting the information about low income people driving around BMW’s and MB’s. This is not true. Individuals that we come in contact with on a daily basis desire to improve, move their families up and out and are in transition. The Section 8 program will help them move in that direction.

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