Demand for housing vouchers soars in Philadelphia
Demand for federal housing vouchers far outstripped supply when Philadelphia briefly reopened its waitlist last month for the first time in 12 years.
Driving the news: The Philadelphia Housing Authority received more than 36,700 applications for the Housing Choice Voucher Program over two weeks, which ended Feb. 5, agency spokesperson Nichole Tillman tells Axios.
- Yes, but: Unlike in years past, the housing agency is limiting the number of vouchers it will offer to 10,000.
Why it matters: The program allows eligible applicants the chance to rent on the private market at a discount anywhere in the city.
- Philly remains in an affordable housing crisis that is expected to worsen over the next decade as average asking rents continue to rise.
Flashback: When the agency last opened the waitlist for the vouchers, formerly known as Section 8, in 2010, more than 55,000 applications were submitted.
How it works: A lottery will select the 10,000 applicants to be added to the housing vouchers waitlist, who will then be screened for eligibility.
- The housing agency is expected to process and distribute 2,000 vouchers this year.
- The remaining people on the waitlist are expected to receive vouchers within three to five years.
By the numbers: 19% of applicants for the waitlist identified themselves as homeless, while another 45% said they were at risk of being homeless, Tillman says.
Between the lines: A housing voucher does not guarantee a recipient will immediately find housing.
- While Philly provides approximately 19,500 housing vouchers, only 5,200 landlords participate in the program. Some voucher recipients say they've faced discrimination by landlords.
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