Approximately 9-thousand came in person to fill out pre-application to get on waiting list for rental vouchers from HUD
Jeannette Lugo one of thousands who applied to get on waiting list for rental voucher
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A crowd estimated at 9,000 turned out at Metro Park Thursday for a chance to win a lottery and get on a waiting list for a Section 8 housing voucher.
The waiting list had dwindled to around 800 for the local Housing and Urban Development office, so it was time to add thousands to the list, which was last done about four years ago.
Section 8 housing vouchers allow low income families to rent safe, privately owned places to live and the subsidy payments are made by the housing authority to the owners on behalf of the family.
About 8,000 applicants will be selected randomly by a computer lottery to get on the list. Those who are selected should find out within 120 days says Larry Gonzalez, senior director of Section 8 in Duval County.
Jeannette Lugo is currently going through a divorce as a result of domestic violence. Lugo and her three children have been bouncing back and forth between homes since losing her home in Palm Coast the week before Christmas.
She has been living with her mother-in-law in mobile home in Atlantic Beach for the last week. She made her way to Metro Park for a chance of getting on the waiting list.
"People there were very helpful and very nice, it was easy to go through today," said Lugo. "It took 3 minutes to fill out the paper work and I left. Hopefully it will be that easy to get in the lottery."
Lugo is looking for a job and currently not receiving child support as her divorce goes through the courts. She would be grateful for a rental voucher.
"It would be extremely important because it would give my three kids and myself a stable roof over my head, make my life a hundred times easier, not having to worry about how I am going to pay my rent, am I going to have enough money," Lugo said.
Even for those who get on the list it could be three to four years or more before one would get a rental voucher, depending on where they land in the draw.
Currently HUD gives our about 50 new vouchers a month, it could be more if more federal funding comes to Duval County.
Gonzalez said the average monthly voucher is $850 to $900 a month. Income limits for those applying were $37,700 for one person, up to $66,800 for a family of seven.
First Coast News