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18,000 applied for Hampton's housing voucher waiting list

A lottery is underway to add 5,000 applicants to the waiting list. People can check their status online starting Monday, May 29.

HAMPTON, Va. — Nearly 18,000 families are waiting to learn if they will get help with housing. 

The Hampton Redevelopment and Housing Authority took applications for the voucher waitlist for the first time since 2016.

Starting May 29, an online portal will be available for applicants to learn if their names were selected as part of a random lottery. Only 5,000 families will be added to the waiting list, according to the housing authority. 

Amaiya Moore lives in an apartment in Hampton. Her rent is $1,500 without utilities, and she said it is taking a toll. 

"Now, I have to live with my partner because you need that balance," she said. "You need that support. You can't do it all on your own." 

Moore is one of many people hoping to catch a break when it comes to the rising cost of living. 

Between May 11 and May 13, nearly 18,000 people applied to get on the waiting list for Hampton's Housing Choice Voucher Program. 

That's 8,000 more applicants than the last time the housing authority opened the waiting list in 2016. 

"There has to be more housing in stock. There's just not enough of it," said Sis. David Ann Niski, secretary of the Housing Development Corp of Hampton Roads. 

Through grants and fundraising, the organization buys properties to provide affordable housing to people in need in Newport News and Hampton. Niski said renters often share that housing costs are more than they can afford. 

"Most of them express exasperation and desperation," she said. 

Housing vouchers help low-income families with rent with subsidies paid to private landlords. People with vouchers typically pay 30% of their income towards rent, and the rest is covered "up to a reasonable market rent," according to the housing authority. Hampton RHA currently helps more than 3,000 households through the program. 

A lottery is underway to choose 5,000 applicants for the waiting list. 

People who applied will receive a confirmation number. Between May 29 and June 30, applicants can check online if they made the list. 

Applicants can check for their status here

For those who are not chosen, the housing authority executive director, Aaru Ma'at, said they hope to work through the waitlist in the next three years, so people can reapply if the application period is reopened. 

For more information on the voucher program, read here

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