On October 31st at 5 pm, the Raleigh Housing Authority will close its waiting lists for Public Housing and Section 8. Once closed, no new applications will be accepted until a waiting list is reopened.
According to RHA, this summer, over 9,000 families waited for housing vouchers and over 6,000 families waited for public housing on waiting lists. That being said, representatives from RHA stated that it would take them years to exhaust the current list of applicants already on their lists.
Although the waitlist is closing, RHA is in the process of switching to a new computer database, which will certainly take time. As part of this transition, staff will need to learn the new computer system which will take time. Until staff is trained and capable of accepting new applications, waiting lists will remain closed.
“We do not know how long the waiting lists will be closed for. RHA may re-open waiting lists either partially or in full," said a RHA spokesperson.
Many Raleigh residents expressed their disapproval of this decision after learning of it, one of which is Ms. Diana Powell, CEO of Justice Served.
“The need is so great and they really need time to catch up because from my understanding it could be a 2-3yr wait. In order to be effective they have to slow things down and get caught up. Second, it could be that they know the system isn’t really working.”
Powell posed a question of whether or not the waitlist will return and if there is a better plan in place.
“Where are people to go, especially families with children? Living in the richest country of the world, why are we living this way? Everyone who truly wants shelter should have the right to shelter, house to call home. Not in the woods in a tent, under a bridge or an ally with kids. That’s our reality and our truth. If the law doesn’t fit then change the law by changing these lawmakers and that’s the power of democracy.” said Powell
Local community activist Octavia Rainey shared her disdain for not only the Raleigh Housing Authority and Raleigh Mayor, Mary Ann Baldwin.
“The Raleigh Housing Authority waiting list is very disturbing. The board needs to be held accountable along with the Mayor of Raleigh. One of the Mayor's roles is to make appointments to the board. Did she give up her role? According to some of the board members, they said "they were told to move in a different way.” I asked which direction it was. They didn't respond.” said Rainey
Ms. Rainey also shared a few incentives that she and the community feel RHA needs to implement.
- Hire a new Director.
- Disband the entire RHA Board and hire new members
- Relieve Mayor Ann Baldwin of her duties
- The Raleigh Housing Authority and the City of Raleigh should buy 5 hotels to Housing everyone on their waiting list.
- Hotels should have social workers, Wake County School should provide educational information services and homework clubs
- Rha is to serve 3 meals a day 7 days a week and medical and transportation assistance.
Lastly, the length of the closure will depend on several things including; the rate at which current program participants leave the program, implementation, and operation of new computer programs, administrative capabilities, fluctuations in the housing market, and future redevelopment and/or repositioning plans from the Housing Authority.
Thus, once matters are back on track and the waitlist reopens, RHA will announce the opening. Representatives from the organization emphasized that even though the waitlist will be closing soon, they will take that time to focus on families and applicants on the current waitlist.