If you have been hoping to get a foot in the door of public housing, now is your chance.
The Columbia Housing Authority is opening the full waiting list for its 2,200 public housing units Wednesday for the first time since 2013.
And there is no deadline to apply, this time. Applications will be accepted from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday and the first business day of every month for the foreseeable future, said Nancy Stoudenmire, planning director for the Housing Authority.
The public housing waiting list “has been so long that we just have to turn people away every day,” Stoudenmire said. “When a person comes in our door and says, ‘We can’t make the ends meet,’ ... at least this time we can get them on a list. Up to this point, we couldn’t even take their name.”
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More than 9,000 names currently are on the waiting list, Stoudenmire said. About 400 of those names get moved into housing each year, she said. The Housing Authority has opened portions, but not all, of the waiting list periodically to new applicants over the past four years.
All standard and select housing waiting lists, including elderly housing, will be opened. These are for Housing Authority-owned housing units. Tenants pay 30 percent of their income in rent or a $50 monthly minimum.
These lists do not include Section 8 rental assistance vouchers that can be taken out into the open market.
To qualify for public housing, households must earn 80 percent or less of the area median income. For a family of four, a yearly income of about $51,000 currently qualifies for public housing, Stoudenmire said. For a single person, about $35,000 annual income qualifies.
Applicants should not worry too much about the income requirement, though, Stoudenmire said, as the area median income fluctuates from year to year. By the time a name rises to the top of the waiting list, they might meet a requirement they didn’t earlier.
You do not have to live in the Columbia area to apply to be put on Columbia Housing Authority’s public housing waiting list.
You must apply online, and can do so from any computer. You do not have to go to the Housing Authority office to apply. Assistance will be offered at Richland Library locations and some nonprofits. No paper applications will be accepted.
To apply, go to www.chasc.org.
You may call (803) 254-3886 ext. 360 to learn more about the public housing programs offered by the Columbia Housing Authority.