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More than 1,100 people accepted for Anderson Section 8 waiting list

AHA: Wait list will not re-open for at least two years
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Posted at 6:29 PM, Sep 18, 2023

ANDERSON — Finding affordable housing continues to be a challenge in Anderson.

Monday, the agency re-opened it's Section 8 rental assistance waiting list.

The Anderson Housing Authority said within 20 minutes the Section 8 waiting list was full. More than 1,100 people applied.

"And that's not even calling the people that called in or may have had an issue online," said CEO Kim Townsend.

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"It says we need help," said Mesha Fitzpatrick.

The Section 8 waiting list is now closed for the Anderson Housing Authority but changes are being made.

CEO Kim Townsend said the agency was originally only accepting 500 people.

After seeing the demand on Monday, it decided to help the more than 1,100 who applied before the list closed.

"We are going to honor everybody that was able to get in during that time. We need as much resources as possible to keep people safe so they aren't living on the streets, alleys or in their cars," said Townsend.

She says the flip side is, AHA will not be able to re-open the list for a couple of years.

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"We still have opportunities as we look at new projects and things but for this waiting list, unfortunately, it will be closed to the community for at least two years," said Townsend. "It was bittersweet we opened the waiting list, but it's bitter because we know the need is so great and we alone cannot fill it."

The agency is still working to find around 140 families on last year's waiting list an affordable home.

"We are going to finish up before we call anyone new off, we are going to make sure that everyone applied in 2022 has been addressed," said Townsend.

Mesha Fitzpatrick says she's on that list. She stresses why these vouchers are so important.

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"Everything has went up, the cost of living, and there's a lot of people out here struggling to make ends meet to affordable housing," she said.

When it comes to rent prices in Anderson:

"It's 800 for a one bedroom. It goes all the way up. Some 3 bedrooms are at $1,200 and up and when people are living on fixed incomes, disabilities, widows and widowers they don't get a lot. Because of this, we are finding our population becoming vulnerable to homelessness," said Townsend.

Fitzpatrick thanks the Anderson Housing Authority for helping on her journey.

Townsend said the need is so great in the community that AHA can't do it alone.

"I would like to add all of our legislators, budgets, and those with opportunities for communities, housing is very detrimental. We need as much funding as possible to make sure everybody has a decent and affordable place to live. It is paramount to the growth of every community," said Townsend.

The Anderson Housing Authority is hosting a "Call to Action" town hall meeting on September 28th.

It's from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Anderson Impact Center.
Increased rent burdens, housing conditions, tenant protection laws and more will be discussed.