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Mesa's Section 8 voucher waitlist will open for 1st time since 2016

The city of Mesa is preparing to open its waitlist for Section 8 housing choice vouchers for the first time in nearly six years. 

In the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Section 8 program, low-income families with vouchers put about 30% of their income toward rent and the voucher covers the remainder, up to a certain amount. But demand for the vouchers is so high, waitlists for voucher programs are often full.

Mesa has about 1,900 housing vouchers available at a time to help keep rent affordable for low-income families. The city has not accepted new applicants for its Section 8 waitlist since December 2016, but next month, the city will add 4,000 applicants to its waitlist through a lottery system.

"Randomly, each application is given a number and we accept one through 4,000," said Mary Brandon, Mesa’s deputy director for Housing and Community Services.

With rents soaring across the Valley, Brandon said she expects a high volume of applicants this year.

"In 2016, we received 7,000 applications," Brandon said. "I believe that we'll receive more than that this time." 

Applicants must meet certain income requirements. Applicants don't need to be current Mesa residents, but those who eventually receive a voucher would need to use it for a property in Mesa. 

The city will accept applications Aug. 17 through 30 online at  mesaaz.gov/hcvwaitlist or in-person at several locations, including Mesa Public Library's three branches.  

→  For Low-Income Arizonans, Housing Vouchers Don't Guarantee A Place to Live

Katherine Davis-Young is a senior field correspondent reporting on a variety of issues, including public health and climate change.