The DeKalb County Housing Authority announced it will close its waiting list for the Housing Choice Voucher Program, also known as Section 8, on October 31 at 8:00 a.m. for an indefinite period of time. That's according to a press release from the organization.
Jennifer Yochem is the admissions manager for the Housing Authority. She said there are nearly 1000 people on the waiting list right now and some have been there as long as 10 years. She says not everyone will be housed but all will be acknowledged.
“Of those thousand we might...might be able to house 100 of them,” said Yochem. “And that's, of course, if there's funding available, and because we can't issue anything new until we have something available.”
The Housing Choice program lets applicants live in any approved home, as long as it qualifies with program outlines. Yochem says it’s only open to people at least 62 years old or disabled, and that’s been the standard since 2015.
Yochem said unqualified applicants may find housing in units the authority already owns through the Low Income Public Housing Program.
“We would like to help those within our county first,” she said.
“And so [closing the waitlist is] just a general housekeeping. So I can, you know, as the Housing Authority, move forward,” she added.
Three separate fires displaced more than 200 people within DeKalb County in July 2019. Yochem says the Authority is "absolutely" considering those who lost their homes.
All three fires occured at apartment buildings in DeKalb and Sycamore, none of which have been reopened. "We will process as quickly as we can. But again, they have to just work within the preferences that we offer," she said.