Georgia agency gets 177,000 applications for housing aid, but only has 13,000 spots on waiting list


ATLANTA (AP) — A Georgia state agency received more than 177,000 applications for housing subsidies, but only 13,000 of those will actually join a waiting list that leads to aid.

The Georgia Department of Community Affairs took applications for its Housing Choice Voucher program online for four days last week, the first time people who would like to live in the 149 counties served by the program have been invited to apply since 2021.

The department is now reviewing applications to determine if they are complete and people are eligible, and removing duplicate applications, Department of Community Affairs spokesperson Kristen Moses said Tuesday.

The department will use a lottery to select 13,000 eligible applicants for the waiting list and rank them in the order in which applicants will receive assistance. The department will then begin awarding them vouchers as they become available.

The program, formerly known as Section 8, provides money to low-income families to rent an apartment or house. To be eligible, a family’s income must be 50% or less of the median income in the area where the family chooses to live. A voucher pays an amount based on what rent costs in an area, family size and family income.

Once a family gets a voucher, funding will continue as long as the family complies with program rules.

The state had originally said it would put 5,000 applications on its waiting list. The current waiting list has fallen to 728 individuals.

The agency placed 633 applicants in the 2021-2022 budget year. The list had been closed since 2021 because of the high number of people already waiting.

The state-run program does not cover Bibb, Chatham, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, Glynn, Muscogee, Richmond and Sumter counties. Those counties have locally run voucher programs.