DECATUR, Ala. – A shortage in section 8 housing stock in the Decatur area has Housing Authority officials concerned.
Officials say the issue began as the pandemic started, and is only getting worse.
DHA Executive Director Taura Denmon says there are 500 to 600 people on a waitlist to get vouchers for the subsidized rentals. This has forced the housing authority to cut back on the number of vouchers issued.
Denmon says the problem is landlord-driven. Many don’t feel the need to participate because as North Alabama grows, so does the demand for housing.
This means landlords aren’t having a tough time filling vacancies. It also means some landlords can start raising rent.
While the housing authority is a guaranteed source of compensation for landlords each month, they do have a cap, so as rents rise, that also whittles down DHA’s options.
“In my 15 years of housing experience, I have never seen the market how it is now. It’s really a bad situation because you have people looking for housing, they’ve gone through the process of getting a voucher. They’ve been on the waitlist for some time and now they can’t find a place to live,” Denmon said.
Denmon says her advice is for new voucher holders to ask their current landlord if they can lease in-place, while the housing authority continues to try and recruit more landlords to join the program.
She says they’re looking to 2022 when they estimate they can get this bottleneck under control. In the meantime, she says any landlord who would be interested in joining the program based in Lawrence, Limestone or Morgan County to call the Housing Authority at 256-353-4691 to learn more.