Philadelphia, PA – March 1, 2010 – (RealEstateRama) — The Philadelphia Housing Authority announced today it would begin accepting applications for the Housing Choice Voucher Program on-line, through its Web site, pha.phila.gov. The announcement comes as the agency opens its voucher program waiting list for applications for the first time since 2000. The application period begins Tuesday, March 2 and closes Monday, March 15.
PHA Executive Director Carl Greene said he wanted to make the application process convenient for the thousands of people expected to apply.
“There is a tremendous shortage of quality housing that low-wage earners, seniors and disabled citizens can afford, so we anticipate receiving a rush of applications during the next two weeks. Rather than having people line up for hours at our offices to apply in person, we developed the on-line application that’s quick and simple to use,” Greene said.
Understanding that some families don’t have access to a computer, PHA has also set up a phone center to take applications, staffed by employees from across the agency.
The Housing Choice Voucher Program helps families and individuals pay their rent to a private landlord. All houses and apartments approved for the program must pass a Housing Quality Standards inspection and all landlords must be licensed and participate in PHA’s full-day property management course. These requirements ensure good property conditions and lessen community concerns.
PHA affords residents the opportunity to enroll in economic self-sufficiency programs, so that they can receive job and vocational training and counseling. Hundreds of participants leave the program each year as they gain full-time employment and are able to pay their rent or buy a home without assistance.
People leaving the program create opportunities for new applicants. Now that the current waiting list is almost exhausted there is room to accept new applicants. PHA officials estimate they will have received as many as 40,000 applications during the two-week open period. With the demand so great, the wait to move to the top of the list and receive a voucher could be months or years.
PHA is encouraging applicants to log onto http:/www.pha.phila.gov. There is no wait and applications are accepted 24 hours a day for the two-week period. For those wanting to phone in their application, the number is 215-684-1200. HCV call center operators will be on hand 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Whether applying on line or by phone, applicants will need to provide:
- Full name
- Social Security number for head of household
- Household income
The Housing Choice Voucher Program is funded by the federal government and managed by PHA. With 17,000 households, it is PHA’s largest program. (The agency also houses more than 14,000 households in its public housing program.) Once the Housing Choice Voucher Program application period closes, PHA will offer the same on-line application option for its public housing program.