The Housing Authority of Portland real estate knew people were clamoring for affordable housing units after a yearlong moratorium, but they weren't expecting anything like this. More than 350 people lined the sidewalks outside the main office at 135 SW Ash before noon, waiting for hours to fill out applications. Within four days, 2,000 people signed up.
"We've had a large response, which indicates a large need," said Erik Fabian, assistant property manager of Housing Authority Portland real estate.
The agency had to suspend enrollment in April 2007 once the waiting list for the 2,600 units reached almost two years. Since some houses have less than a three-month wait, 33/37 complexes are now accepting applications again.
To qualify, individuals must have less than $54,300 annual household income and positive references from past landlords. The elderly and those with disabilities or families will get top priority for the affordable Portland real estate. The Section 8 housing vouchers that pay up to 70% of the rent for low-income people won't open up for at least another year, officials say.
The opening of the waitlist is "both good news and bad news" says Michael Anderson from the Community Development Network. "It's good for those who are in immediate need of housing, but it's also a reflection of the bad state of affairs that the housing infrastructure is in." He adds that 16,000 affordable houses need to be added in the Portland real estate market to meet demand.
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