“It would change my life”: Section 8 waitlist in Tucson to open in two weeks

KMSB News 5:30-6 p.m. recurring
Published: Dec. 20, 2022 at 6:36 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - People across Tucson have waited years for the Section 8 waitlist to open and in just two weeks, they will be able to finally apply for assistance.

It’s been about five years since the waitlist for the City of Tucson public housing and Section 8 vouchers has been open. The City is expecting more than 20,000 people to apply amid the housing crisis and other rising costs that have impacted families and individuals over the last few years.

The names of those who apply will be put in a lottery. Through the lottery, batches of people will be chosen about every month to complete the process.

″It would change my life a lot. All of paychecks goes to the rent and everything. I don’t really have time to go out with my family and create memories with them,” said Desire Marine, who is planning to apply.

As a mother of two, Marine first wanted to apply for Section 8 a couple of years ago, but the waitlist was closed at that time. With rent increases, working multiple jobs, and raising her children on her own, she said the assistance from Section 8 would have a huge impact on her life and her children’s.

″It’s been stressful, I’m not going to lie. I have two kids and I’m a single mother. Babysitters as it is are already hard to find and I had to quit my job because of the babysitters,” she explained. “It’s been really hard and I feel like Section 8 will help us out a lot.”

The pre-application period will open Jan. 3 and she plans to be one of the first to apply. Applications will be accepted during a three-week window, until Jan. 24.

“It doesn’t matter when individuals apply. You can apply the first day or you can apply the last day. We’re not taking them by order,” said Ernesto Portillo from the City of Tucson’s Housing and Community Development.

To apply, you will only need to give your name, address, birth date, household income, information on family members, and your contact information. After January 24, a computer will randomly select the first batch of lottery winners.

He said, ″Then they can make their full application and go through eligibility check to determine if they’re qualified for public housing or a Section 8 voucher.”

It could take about a month to go through the eligibility process. Around 5,000 vouchers will be available.

“This is critical. As we all know, we’re in a housing crisis,” Portillo said. “This doesn’t solve our housing crisis by any means, but it will provide some people with secure, safe housing.”

The City says that anyone can apply, even if you’re not sure about your eligibility. But be sure that if you do apply, you only apply once. If you apply twice, it will disqualify you.

You can find out more information about how to apply here.