Thousands rush to apply for housing wait list

The Charlotte Housing Authority estimates 10,000 people applied Monday for the Section 8 subsidized housing wait list – so many that it briefly swamped the website. That’s double the number of housing vouchers actually available through the program this year, officials said.

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library is helping applicants use library computers at its 20 branches to apply at www.charlottewaitlist.org. Applications are being taken 24 hours a day this week, until 5 p.m. Friday.

CHA officials credit the city’s pent-up demand for affordable housing for the flood of applicants Monday. In 2007, the last time the waiting list was opened, 10,000 people applied over five days. It took the agency seven years to house all the people on the waiting list.

Called Housing Choice Voucher, the program supplies federal rent subsidies for low-income families, the disabled, the elderly and veterans. Nearly half of those now being helped by the program in Charlotte have jobs but don’t earn enough to afford a home, officials said.

This marks the first year CHA has shifted to an online-only application process, encouraging low-income people to apply using a home computer or by accessing the website using a library computer. No in-person applications will be taken at Housing Authority offices, officials said. Mark Price