Del. reopens public housing program

NEWARK, Del. - August 24, 2011

The program is available for the first time in years, but there aren't nearly enough spots to go around.

Those who lined up Tuesday and Wednesday outside the Newark Housing Authority know that by standing in line to fill out an application, they do not automatically qualify for a Section 8 voucher.

"But at some point in time, once they have reached high enough on the waiting list, we'll bring them in to determine eligibility," said Marene Jordan, Newark Housing Authority.

And according to Marene Jordan, that wait could be long.

"It could be years before we're able to assist them," said Jordan. "I have no control over that."

On Tuesday, 609 applications were processed, and early on Wednesday, another 150 people had applied for rental assistance vouchers, but only about 25 to 50 will be issued.

Newark residents with children, the elderly, and applicants with disabilities or military service will receive preference in the program, but most are appreciative of the opportunity.

"It's pretty cool, not a lot of violence, thank God. Police are on the premises, but I'm actually honored. I think it's a privilege. I appreciate it," said DaShawn Gardner.

Christine Humphries waited in line for hours on Wednesday, saying that she has been homeless for too long, just before they called her number.

It took only a few minutes for her to apply.

"It means a lot to me, because me and my kids, we've been in and out of shelters the past two years, living with family here and there," said Humphries.

The Section 8 waiting list had been closed since 2006 before the Housing Authority advertised two weeks ago that it would be accepting new applicants.

Once all of the applications are processed everyone will receive word on whether they are eligible for the waiting list, and will receive an explanation if they are not.

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