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Section 8 demand in Twin Cities overwhelms available waitlist spots

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Line for public housing
People line up to apply for Section 8 housing vouchers in Minneapolis in June 2008. Twin Cities housing authorities received more than 45,000 applications for 7,500 spots on the voucher waiting lists this month.
Brandt Williams | MPR News 2008

Twin Cities housing authorities received tens of thousands of applications for spots on waiting lists for Section 8 rent subsidy vouchers.   

The St. Paul and Minneapolis housing authorities and the Metropolitan Council opened their waiting lists simultaneously for the first time this month. And they received more than 45,000 applications for just 7,500 spots on the voucher waiting lists. Many applied for two — or all three of the lists.  

"The thing to note with this is that the demand and need for affordable housing for low-income families far outweighs the financial resources that are available in terms of vouchers," said  Terri Smith, director of the Metropolitan Council Housing and Redevelopment Authority.

The council currently issues rent vouchers to 6,700 qualifying households. On average, those vouchers give people $740 toward their monthly rent, leaving them to pay $340.

Minneapolis Housing Authority spokesperson Jeff Horwich said many waiting list applicants are homeless.

"These are people who are coach-hopping, who are moving from place to place, maybe staying in hotels.  And it reinforces just how critical the need is out there," he said.

Minneapolis has 3,900 vouchers in use.