Response to lottery for voucher waiting list overwhelming
More than 12,000 seek a spot on the housing voucher waiting list
SEATTLE—May 1, 2008—Seattle Housing Authority has created a new waiting list of 4,000 households for its Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8). Those 4,000 were selected at random from nearly 12,400 households that entered a lottery for waiting list positions conducted in March and April.
“We expect those 4,000 households to meet our needs for at least two years,” said Barbara Strayer, manager of the Section 8 program. “We received just shy of 12,400 correctly postmarked sign-up forms – well over twice the number we received when we opened the waiting list two years ago.” That list, which was also of 4,000 households, lasted nearly two years.
To get out the word, SHA advertised the lottery in newspapers all across the city and on Craigslist, the online classified ad service, and sent public service announcements to radio and television stations.
Thanks to the participation of the Seattle Public Library, City of Seattle Parks & Recreation, Seattle Neighborhood Centers, the Department of Social and Health Services and many nonprofit agencies, sign-up forms were made available all across the city. The form was also made available on the Seattle Housing Authority website. Forms were available in large type format and, thanks to the Lighthouse for the Blind, in Braille.
People had until midnight Tuesday, April 8, to mail in the sign-up forms. Forms postmarked after April 8 were not entered into the lottery.
SHA mailed acknowledgments to everybody who sent in a sign-up form on time. People who were selected for a place on the new waiting list were told their position on the list. Separately, the 600 households that drew the lowest numbers – households holding positions from 1 to 600 – were invited to apply for vouchers immediately.