Housing 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/.

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