High demand for Section 8 rental vouchers

More than 30,000 people signed up for rent assistance vouchers Monday. It was the first day Houston Housing Authority offered such assistance in four years.

HOUSTON - More than 30,000 people signed up for rent assistance vouchers Monday. It was the first time in four years the Houston Housing Authority has offered such assistance.

The program represents hope and will help an estimated 30,000 people with rent. Enrollment started Monday and ends at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25, according to HHA’s website.

It is not first come, first served. People on the waitlist will be randomly selected by a computer, officials said.

“With limited availability of affordable housing in the Houston area, too many families are facing a crisis—making very hard choices every day between paying rent and other necessities. By opening the wait list and helping those currently in the program transition out of assistance, we can provide an opportunity for thousands of Houston families to find an affordable home,” said Houston Housing Authority President and CEO Tory Gunsolley.

More than 400,000 families in the Greater Houston area are estimated to be eligible for the voucher program, but there is only space to add 30,000 more on the wait list.

“Give yourself a chance,” Reginald Wells told people outside HHA’s offices.

Wells, 61, tried to cheer up everyone he met outside. Wearing a 20-year-old Houston Rockets championship cap, Wells told us he’s convinced the best is always ahead.

“I ain’t looking back,” Wells said. “I’m looking forward.  I’m going full speed ahead.”

He is legally blind and said he hasn’t had a home for more than a year.

“The key to being happy is to make somebody happy,” Wells said.

A scaffolding accident ripped work away from him, Wells said. So he turned to friends.

“Reggie is on fire for people,” Carl Schmidt, Wells’ friend said.  “He loves people.”

Schmidt met Wells through church.  He and others keep a roof over Wells head. However, they know Wells’ prayer is to be independent.

“He wants a place so bad,” Schmidt said. “That’s why he’s here.”

Like others, Wells learned the next steps are all online.

“What I do now, I just pray and get out of God’s way and let him have his way,” Wells said.

Whatever happens the best possible outcome is all Wells can see.



(© 2016 KHOU)


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