3,000 names to be picked for Yonkers affordable housing waiting list
This week, 3,000 lucky people are hitting the housing lotto in Yonkers.
For the first time in more than a decade, the Municipal Housing Authority for the City of Yonkers opened up its waiting list for affordable housing vouchers.
The housing authority received more than 14,000 pre-applications. Of those, 3,000 will be chosen by lottery Tuesday and Wednesday and then added to the waiting list for what's called Housing Choice Vouchers.
Two years ago, the waitlist had more than 7,000 people on it, but Yonkers housing authority officials went through the process of updating that list to remove people who were no longer interested or had moved. As a result, they were able to open up the list again because the number on the list had significantly dropped.
The vouchers, which are provided through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, help very low-income families, the elderly and disabled subsidize rent.
"It's important to us, especially in this market where it is so expensive that we get housing back into the community," says Wilson Kimball, MHACY president and CEO.
As vouchers become available, they are issued to people on the wait list. "We go through about 165 vouchers issuing them a year so we know that we're a year or so from running out of names on our current list and that's why we chose to do the lottery now, so that we never get to the bottom," says Kimball.
The Housing Choice vouchers give maximum flexibility to recipients. They can be used for rentals in private housing as long as qualifications are met, housing offered by the city of Yonkers, and even out-of-state housing after the holder lives in Yonkers for a year. But the vouchers are hard to come by. "It's kind of unbelievable that we as a society can't offer more vouchers, so we're looking to the federal government to increase our threshold so we can. But this is really, really vital to our community," says Kimball.
After all 3,000 tickets are chosen, housing authority officials will then verify each ticket to make sure each of the applicants meet qualifications. Once that happens, winners will be notified. Officials expect the process to take about a week.