Rochester Housing Authority Shares Section 8 Success Stories

Rochester Housing Authority Shares Section 8 Success Stories


By Mike Hedeen

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Each day, at the Rochester Housing Authority’s leasing operations on West Main Street, a steady stream of people come to seek Section 8 housing. It’s a federally-funded program that subsidizes rent for eligible low-income households.

The waiting list reached nearly 20,000 when last opened in 2000 and RHA admits that it had no plan to deal with that type of demand. The board began purging that list over the past couple of years of those who had either passed away, relocated or no longer qualified for assistance.

Three-thousand people will be added to this new list. The application process begins Sept. 12.

“Part of this process is the old list, which started at 20,000. We’re just about done with that list in terms of purging, updating folks’ information and getting through that list to the point now that as folks come off and move to self-sufficiency, we can add new people on and get them housed,” said George Moses, RHA board chairman.

More than 9,000 households receive assistance from the Rochester Housing Authority through Section 8 vouchers. There are another 1,000 currently on the waiting list. Some have waited up to 10 years just to get this far.

Kelli Snyder says that she’s been looking for decent housing since 2009.  Kelli tells us she now has more stability living in a Gates apartment complex, and adds that Section 8 has changed her life for the better.

“I can breathe better, I sleep more somber at night knowing that my whole entire disability check is not having to pay rent,” Snyder said. “It’s amazing.”

Brittany Nelson got on the Section 8 waiting list in 2008. Although she tried to provide a stable household for her children, things improved after moving from an apartment into a house with the help of RHA.

“It’s frustrating because, trying to garner up the money to move is a bit difficult, especially with the kids,” Garner said. “Something’s always coming up, football, after-school programs, kids always needing something new, but with the new house, a lot of things are starting to change.”

RHA’s application process for housing choice vouchers is online only.  Once it begins, it continues through Sept. 26.