Wait list for Section 8 housing opens for first time in years

The Metropolitan Council is opening up its Section 8 housing voucher applications for the first time since 2007.

The voucher program subsidizes rent for low-income families.

Demand is high, and the council's housing and redevelopment authority program manager, Terri Smith, expects as many as 60,000 people to apply.

"At this time our waiting list is running eight years," Smith said. "But with our new waiting list, we're only taking 2,000 applications, so we're hoping to serve all families within two to three years."

Smith said the waiting list will be filled by random selection from the applicants, who have to meet income guidelines. For example, a family of four can't make more than about $41,000.

The program now subsidizes about 6,500 households for about 100 communities in Anoka, Carver and suburban Hennepin and Ramsey counties. Participants pay about 30 percent of their income as rent and the rest is subsidized.

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