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Columbia Housing Authority accepting applications for Housing Assistance

The Columbia Housing Authority will accept applications for Section 8 housing assistance between October 8th and 12th.

Participants in the program pay 30 percent of the rent, while CHA covers the rest.

To be eligible for the program, the applicant must be at or below 50 percent of Columbia’s median family income.

If the applicant meets the requirements, they will be put on a waiting list based on a lottery system.

Phil Steinhaus is the CEO of CHA and says that it’s a long process and not guaranteed that participants will be housed.

"So it will take us a couple of months to get everyone added to the waiting list. We still have about 400 people on our old waiting list. It will take about three years to move through that whole waiting list,” Steinhaus said.

Community support services like Services for Independent Living are sending out flyers to make sure people know about the application period.

Jill Lamberti is the community living manager at SIL. She says that applicants are happy about the program but are discouraged.

“I believe that the thought is is that they are happy to see that it open, however I think there is some underlying despair as in perhaps this is just the mentality or the feeling of oppression, the best word I can think of, is that ‘It’s probably a waste of time because I probably won’t get housing’,” Lamberti said.

Applicants are only accepted every three years.

Steinhaus expects between 1,200 and 1,500 applicants this year.

He says in the end, about 25 percent of people that apply end up receiving housing assistance.

If the applicants don’t receive housing or can’t wait, Lamberti says services like SIL can provide information on where accessible and low-income based housing is.