PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) opened its Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) waiting list on Monday for the first time in 12 years.
HCV, formerly known as Section 8, gives residents with a low income a chance to get into private market housing, instead of living in PHA-designated buildings.
Applicants must apply online at www.pha.phila.gov.
The waiting list was set to open at 6 a.m. However, viewers told Action News they were having difficulty accessing the site all morning.
For a time, the page said "Service Unavailable." By 10 a.m., Action News was able to access the online application.
PHA issued the following statement to Action News:
"Due to the overwhelming demand this morning for HCV lottery applications, the PHA website is experiencing some technical issues. We apologize for any inconvenience but ask everyone to remember that the HCV lottery will be open until Feb. 5, 2023, 2023. With a computer randomly selecting 10,000 winners, it doesn't matter if you apply the first day or the last day. If you are experiencing technical issues, please call 215-999-3102 or try the website again. Thanks for your patience."
The waiting list is scheduled to close Sunday, Feb. 5 at 5:59 p.m.
After the two-week period ends, a lottery will randomly select 10,000 applicants to be added to the list.
"Our goal is to ensure a fair, open, transparent barrier-free process with broad community outreach and equal access for all interested applicants. Getting the word out is a top priority since previous applications periods favored those who applied first. Under this system, all applications in the lottery pool have an equal chance of being selected." PHA President and CEO Kelvin A. Jeremiah said in a statement.
A preference will be given to applicants who currently live, work, or have been hired to work in Philadelphia. PHA will make 2,000 vouchers immediately available to qualified applicants within that group.
The 10,000 applicants randomly selected will be notified by March 1 via e-mail and mail of their place on the waiting list.
All other applicants who were not selected will also be notified.
PHA currently houses over 19,000 individuals and families and over 44,000 household members under the HCV program.
Officials said the HCV wait list was closed in 2010 because the number of families on the waiting list at the time - over 55,000 - far exceeded the number of vouchers allocated to PHA.