By AUDREY BARNEY
Capital News Service
LANSING — Monroe County residents in need of housing assistance can apply for federal funding to help pay their rent.
To qualify for the assistance — called Section 8 — a person must reside or work in Monroe County and have qualifying income, which usually falls below the poverty line. The Michigan State Housing Development Authority administers about 13,000 Section 8 certificates and vouchers statewide.
“We cover every county in Michigan,” said Robert Howard, Section 8 Agent in Detroit.
Howard said that MSHDA had exhausted their waiting list in Monroe County and is building a new one. The waiting list is open from Feb 8 to Feb 24. Residents who received applications must have them post marked by Feb. 24 to be put on the waiting list.
Once the waiting list is established, housing authorities will review the list and pull names based on date and time of the application.
“It could be anywhere from three days to three to five years before someone’s name is pulled from the list,” Howard said. “When a name comes up, we meet with that person to determine eligibility and if they are approved they receive a voucher.”
When a person gets a voucher, they must independently find housing that meets housing quality standards. These standards, which are set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, require that the home have proper plumbing, electrical wiring, a solid foundation and other similar characteristics.
Howard suggested that people who are waiting should have patience and stay in contact with MSHDA.
“We are constantly pulling names from the list, and if your name is on there it will come up,” he said. “It’s important for people to call us and let us know when they have moved so that we can send them notification.”
Residents looking for low-income housing may want to consider subsidized housing while waiting for notification from Section 8.
Section 8 housing is not the same as subsidized housing.
Under subsidies, since 1970, MSHDA has financed nearly 400 multifamily housing developments throughout in Michigan. These apartment and town-home complexes are privately owned and managed, but many offer rental subsidies or other assistance to low- and moderate-income individuals and families.
In Monroe, five private developments offer subsidized rental options. These are Charring Square, Frenchtown, Greenwycke, Mable Kehres and Woodcraft.
Sen. Beverly S. Hammerstrom, R-Temperance, encourages Monroe County residents to take advantage of the housing-assistance opportunity. “I hope individuals in Monroe County who are experiencing difficulty finding affordable housing will pursue and utilize this worthwhile program,” Hammerstrom said.
© 2002, Capital News Service, Michigan State University School of Journalism
By AUDREY BARNEY