Lost amidst the other recent stories of families struggling for lawful access to D.C.’s homeless shelters, the $417 million D.C. budget surplus, and the federal budget sequester, was the important announcement by the D.C. Housing Authority that they will be closing its Waiting List on April 12, 2013.

Practically speaking, this announcement means that the Housing Authority will no longer be accepting new applications for people seeking Public Housing, a Housing Choice Voucher (commonly known as Section 8), or placement in the Moderate Rehab Program. Any person or family who has already applied in the past – or who applies before the April 12, 2013 deadline – will remain on the Waiting List and will be considered for placement when their application gets to the top of the list.

Unfortunately, however, the Waiting List currently includes almost 70,000 families and individuals seeking housing assistance. A new family who joins the list in 2013 is unlikely to reach the top of the Waiting List for any of the programs for many years, as names are pulled off the list based on the initial date of application as well as particular statuses or preference categories. The Housing Authority’s Waiting List has long out-matched the available housing resources that they can provide with a mix of federal funding and some modest local funding in the form of Local Rent Supplement Vouchers.

Regardless of whether one thinks it’s futile to sign up for a Waiting List that could take almost a decade or whether one thinks it’s valuable to at least keep the List open as an option for families and to help D.C. keep track of its unmet housing needs – this announcement is still very important for:

  • anyone who is not currently on the D.C. Housing Authority Waiting List, but who would like to be added to the list before the April 12 deadline
  • anyone who believes they are on the List, but isn’t sure if they are actually on it or if the Housing Authority has their most current contact and family information
  • anyone who believes they are on the List, but isn’t sure if they selected all of the programs they are actually interested in (aka – are you only interested in Public Housing, a Voucher, or do you want to be considered for both?) and wants to make sure their information is up-to-date
  • anyone who works with clients or families who may not have access to the internet or other major media outlets but who might be interested in applying for housing assistance from DCHA before the April 12 deadline

Anyone can check the status of their application at www.dchousing.org or by calling the D.C. Housing Authority Call Center at 202-535-1000. You can also get additional information about the Waiting List closing here, which also includes the addresses of additional sites around town where individuals and families can go to get assistance in submitting their applications prior to the April 12, 2013 deadline.

Please help us spread the word about this important announcement and ensure that all individuals or families who want to be on the Waiting List are able to get on it before the closure.