Housing Assistance Changes Go Into Effect
Amarillo, TX – The waiting list to receive housing assistance has grown to more than 3,400 applicants – which represents at least a four year waiting period. As a result, the Department of Community Development has found it necessary to close the waiting list to new applicants until further notice, effective Friday, October 10.Additionally, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) implemented changes in its policies and procedures for calculating Section 8 Housing Assistance that went into effect today. Rather than calculating the utility allowance based on the size of the unit rented by the family, assistance will now be calculated based on the size of the family. Participants and landlords have been notified.
If a tenant is responsible for paying the utilities, this change will most likely result in an increase of the tenant’s portion of the rent – or a decrease in the amount of the utility check. This change goes into effect with the December annual reexaminations, or when a tenant moves into a new unit.
If an applicant has a criminal history, they can expect an increase in the length of time that must pass before they are eligible for assistance. Plus, if a family fails to attend two scheduled appointments without the Housing Office’s approval, a notice of termination will be sent to the landlord.
“The changes were presented during public hearings to give the public an opportunity to comment,” says James Allen, Community Development Administrator. Closing the waiting list to new applicants will help us to continue providing critical housing assistance to our participants while administering the program in a more manageable, fiscally responsible manner,”
Representatives from the Housing Office are available to answer any questions or concerns Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 378-3098. For more information, as well as other services offered in our community, visit the Community Development department’s website at http://comdev.amarillo.gov/.
The City of Amarillo Community Development Department is funded by federal and state grants to administer a variety of programs to benefit low income citizens. The mission of the programs administered by Community Development is to improve the living environments and economic opportunities of low and very low income neighborhoods and citizens through development of housing opportunities, neighborhood improvements, and public services.
Programs include subsidized Section 8 housing for low-income qualified residents. Interested applicants can apply for housing assistance online under the “Housing” link. Other housing programs offered by the Community Development Department include Emergency Repair grants, Homeowner Rehabilitation, Rental Rehabilitation, and the Homebuyer Assistance Program.
Community Improvement projects include renovations or construction of community centers, parks, sidewalks, or other infrastructure in low-income neighborhoods. The Community Development Department also funds a variety of public service projects in partnership with local non-profit agencies which provide a variety of services ranging from youth programs, senior daycare, meals for elderly and disabled persons, counseling, and homeless services.
The Community Development Department embraces a citizen participation process by which community needs are determined by a committee of citizen representatives. Funding priorities are recommended by a Community Development Advisory Committee which holds regular public hearings to solicit public comment on community needs. Community Development Advisory Committee meetings are advertised under the “Meetings” link and public attendance is encouraged.
Questions regarding the programs administered by the City of Amarillo should be referred to the Community Development Department at (806)378-3098.