PHOENIX - For the first time in 11 years, the City of Phoenix has opened up the wait list for Section 8 Housing.
Section 8 Housing provides affordable housing to those in need. The wait list closed back in 2005 with more than 30,000 names.
Phoenix City Housing Department brought in extra staff for the expected surge in applications.
They began taking applications at 9 a.m. on Monday, and already had a line of people waiting to apply. By the end of the day Alejandro Montiel, a spokesman for the city of Phoenix, said they had received more than 11,000 applications.
The news was a blessing for many, including single mom Shikura Boatwright. She is one of the many that has been checking in with the housing department for years trying to get on the wait list.
Boatwright is hoping this will be a fresh start for her and her 18-month-old daughter.
Section 8 provides housing vouchers through the program for those who qualify. The program works with landlords who enroll in Section 8 Housing to allow the tenant to pay 30 percent of the income, with the program paying the rest.
"There was a time when Phoenix was pretty affordable, but it's not the situation any longer. People are struggling to pay their rent," said Nicole Ayoola, housing manager for the section 8 program.
Another couple, Jill Rogers and her husband, were ecstatic to hear about the news. Both she and her husband are on disability.
"It's very difficult living on disability because it's a flat income once a month. You really live on a tight budget," said Rogers.
Ayoola said they were always looking for landlords to join the program.
"We have 2,500 landlords contracted with us right now, it's open to anyone who is willing," said Ayoola.
She added that it was a great way for landlords to give back to the community and help low-income families find stability. It also meant a steady rent check coming in every month.
Phoenix has about 6,800 vouchers total. This included vouchers for veterans and the homeless, but the wait list that is open now is for the general public, said Ayoola.
People can fill out the applications for Section 8 Housing until 5 p.m. on August 12. The city’s housing department will then randomly select 10,000 applicants through a lottery system to put on the list.
The city will post the lottery winners on their website within a month. Winners will also be notified by mail, then have to come in for screening and interviews to make sure they meet all eligibility requirements.