BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) – The Brunswick County Public Housing Agency will no longer accept applications for the Section 8 Housing Assistance program.
The waiting list will close effective February 17 in compliance with federal statutes. The action was taken because it was determined that the average wait for rental assistance is between 24 to 36 months.
The public housing agency assists close to 400 people every month. Currently, more than 230 people are on the waiting list for the Tenant-Based Housing Choice Voucher program (Section 8). Officials believe it is more efficient and cost-effective to close the list until all or most of the people on it have been able to receive assistance.
There is not a set time when the wait list will reopen, but the fact that the list is as long as it is means people who applied today would not receive assistance for two or three years.
Officials explained that many things can change with applicants in the three year waiting period. Some move out of the county, some move in with family, sometimes economic situations can change, etc.
A spokesperson for Brunswick County says many of the people who are on the waiting list are no longer qualified for Section 8 Housing benefits, making it difficult for employees to handle all the applications.
"By the time you get to a name on the list, that person applied four years ago and has moved out of Brunswick County two years ago and our employees have to try to track the person down," said Amanda Hutcheson. "It (closing the waiting list) is just a more cost efficient and effective way to do it."
Another factor to consider is that all the funding for this program comes from the federal government. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development determines the amount of money the county will receive each year. Hutcheson says that presents another problem because county officials are not able to help everyone financially who requests assistance.
The waiting list officially closes on February 17.
Officials were clear to announce this is only a temporary closure until they can work the waiting list down to a more manageable number.
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