The Orange County has seen something it has not seen in seven years: the reopening of Section 8 housing vouchers!
Applications were opened on February 15 and will end February 29, which is the next Wednesday as of this writing. Officials do not expect to reopen applications anytime soon, so you had better act fast if you are interested to avail of this housing assistance before the deadline ends.
Interested applicants are ‘strongly encouraged’ by the Orange County Housing Authority (OCHA) to apply directly on their website at www.ochousing.org. Visiting the link (or even manually typing the link into your browser) will redirect you to a different URL where the application page is located. More information about eligibility and income limits can be found in the OCHA’s Info Sheet, which is also available in Spanish and Vietnamese.
The OCHA actually opened the waiting list back in 2005 for a period of four weeks – twice as long as the current time frame. 18,600 applications were filed in that time, with priorities being given first to veterans, then to the elderly, the disabled and the working. Those who are not working are last in line for considerations.
The problem that the OCHA sees now is that fewer people are getting off the program than before. Back before the recession, the OCHA was able to help around 100 families become self-sufficient in terms of housing. Now the OCHA can only manage to get 50 families self-sufficient at the end of each month.
And the number of applications has ballooned as well: 12,000 applicants on the very first day. You may be late in the race if you are looking to sign up for the program, but it is still better to give yourself a shot at rental assistance than simply give up and live on the streets.