Milwaukee County Section 8 housing reopens

Applications accepted again after 15 year break
Posted at 7:21 PM, Jul 07, 2016

It's been 15 years since someone could apply for Milwaukee County Housing Assistance.  Despite not having any new funding, the voucher program is now accepting applications again.

The program’s director Dena Hunt said the program has been working for five years to make changes and help more people into housing. She said the 15-year-old waiting list was outdated and stagnant. So, she and her team called those people, began auditing clients, and changed subsidy standards to use their Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development funds more efficiently.

Hunt said they're tracking people's income more closely now, and changed the rules so clients have to report any changes in income. For people who started making more money while on the program and didn't report it, Hunt said they're having those people pay back the money. 55 people are currently making monthly payments into the program, and those who don't are removed. Hunt said that return allows the department to open more vouchers to people needing housing.

Most recently, more than 300 people have received vouchers and will move into their housing.

As those people search for somewhere to live with their voucher, changes to subsidy standards will give them more options. One change to the rule allows two people in a one room unit. But, Hunt said they're now allowing people to find a home within their funding allowance (which includes utilities), even if it has two bedrooms for two people. She said it's their effort to get more roofs over Milwaukee resident’s heads.

Hunt said these new openings won't be able to serve everybody in Milwaukee County needing housing.

"The clientele that we're reaching, it's staggering. That's why I'm saying we're expecting a very very high turnout for this. There's just never enough money to help all of the people who need help," she said.

Hunt doesn't anticipate funding will increase, but said that's why they've made so many changes. She wants to turn over more spots on the list. She said that can happen as people increase their incomes, pass away, move out of state, or break program rules.

The openings will be filled using a lottery system. Hunt expects more than 10,000 people to register for the lottery. In September, they'll start contacting 2,000 people who will get the chance to apply for housing. Hunt hopes to turn over about 100 vouchers each year, but adds that's a conservative estimate.

The registration dates are July 12-14. Find out times, locations, and what you'll need by clicking here.