High demand, wait list to open for housing voucher program in Du - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

High demand, wait list to open for housing voucher program in Dubuque

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Map showing rental properties getting housing vouchers Map showing rental properties getting housing vouchers

The City of Dubuque will open its housing voucher wait list early next year. Also known as Section 8, the list has been closed for a while. 

"When we closed our waiting list, we had over 1,500 applications in the waiting list and that was two years ago, and now we're down to 133 applications on the waiting list," said Teresa Bassler, assisted housing supervisor for the City of Dubuque.

The rental assistance program is meant to help people who are low income.

Applicants don't have to currently live in Dubuque to apply. "We can accept applications from somebody in Alaska, California, anywhere in the United States, as long as they are income eligible for it," Bassler said.

However, according to Dubuque's Housing and Community Development Department, only about 10 percent of landlords in the city accept the vouchers. That's out of 10,500 rental units in the city.

The Dubuque Branch of the NAACP said this can lead to discriminatory practices. 

"It's specifically targeting people to a certain area. We would like to see that number rise to at least 20 to 30 percent...just not in the Washington area," said Anthony Allen, president of the chapter.

The housing department admits there is no even distribution of vouchers across the city. They claim it's because areas like downtown and the north-end are more affordable and have more access to transportation.

"What it does when housing providers does not provide these affordable and fair housing units out west, it allows us to have a pocket of poverty right in our city, a location of poverty, but also crime as well," added Allen.

The waiting list for the housing voucher program opens February 14, 2018 until February 20, 2018 at 5 p.m. 

Only 1,000 applications will be put on the wait list based on a lottery system. The housing department said the wait list can take up to two years. 

People can apply online at https://cityofdubuque.apply4housing.com/, or in person at the Dubuque Housing Department.

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