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90,000 applicants, only 5,000 spaces for Miami-Dade’s Section 8 housing, and no guarantee

Seniors in public housing in Miami-Dade's West Perrine
Seniors in public housing in Miami-Dade's West Perrine

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – There hasn’t been a chance for residents who needed help with housing since 2008 to hopefully get their names add to the wait list for Miami-Dade County’s subsidized rental housing program, known to most as Section 8.

After more than a decade, the chance came during a two-week window in mid May.

On Thursday, 5,000 out of 90,000 applicants will be added to the list via a random computerized system, according to the county’s Public Housing and Community Development department.

Michael Liu, director of the PHCD and members of the PHCD staff and others are overseeing the computerized process that was expected to begin at 2 p.m. Thursday inside the Miami-Dade County Overtown Transit Village Conference Room.

Residents who wanted to apply for Section 8 Housing vouchers had until Thursday, May 27 to submit in a two-week window that begin on May 13.

The income qualifications for the program are:

· 1 person in a household: $31,650

· 2 people in a household: $36,200

· 4 people in a household: $45,200

· 5 people in a household: $48,850

· 6 people in a household: $52,450

· 7 people in a household: $56,050

· 8 people in a household: $59,700

However, according to www.affordablehousingonline.com, being placed on a wait list does not guarantee housing assistance. Those lucky enough to have won what’s been compared by main applicants to a “lottery,” have passed the basic eligibility requirements to be considered to receive assistance, but there are still hurdles including their name reaching the top of the waiting list.

The last time applications in Miami-Dade were accepted was in 2008 where every application was submitted to the wait list — more than 70,000 applications — and it has taken this long for the county to go through that wait list. This time, the random selection will only add 5,000 applicants with the county hoping that because of shoring up the process that they can reopen the list within the next 12 to 18 months.

PHCD said applicants will be notified in the coming days whether the computer picked their application and whether they are on the list.

So how does Section 8 ultimately work? Tenants apply for the relief and, if approved, the rent payment is mailed directly to their landlords. Landlords can also refer their tenants to the program in which case county workers contact the renters to start the application process.

See the fact sheet here.

About the Author:

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local 10.com.