Quad City Rental Assistance Programs Full, Backlogged - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Quad City Rental Assistance Programs Full, Backlogged

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More Quad Citians are finding themselves unable to find rent support from the federal government.

Waiting lists for the section eight program at the three Illinois Quad City public housing agencies are full.

In some cases it's taking years to get off those lists.

The problem comes from two angles.

The federal government has been reducing the amount of money heading into local housing authorities for several years.

That's limiting the total number of rental vouchers that can be issued.

Rents have also increased over the same time frame, stretching those limited dollars, and keeping people waiting.

"We're here to help people but it appears our hands are tied because the very people we want to help we're not able to help them," says Moline Housing Authority Director John Afoun. He says it takes five to six years for someone on his section eight wait list to get a rental voucher. A delay that isn't getting any shorter.

"Every single day we have people come through those doors to apply for section 8 or public housing, so the demand is great because of the economic situation," says Afoun.

Federal funding cuts have contributed to the lengthy waits. Three years ago the federal government paid 97-thousand dollars a month to cover 234 vouchers. Now, that payment is down to 84 thousand dollars, covering only 180.

"The grant has been reduced substantially so there's not enough to go around," says Afoun.

The Greater Metro Area Housing Authority says it's in a similar situation. Director Diane Fuller says 12-hundred people took advantage of the online sign-up.

"It allows such ease of application process that clients can apply from anywhere at anytime at any given day, we quickly grew a very heavy waiting list," says Fuller.

Increased demand also contributes to long waits. Fewer apartments means landlords can charge higher rents. Eating up more money in the existing vouchers.

"If rents increase, that housing assistance payment that average increases, which means a few less clients we may be able to help," says Fuller.

Forcing people to wait for an affordable home.

The housing authorities reach out to landlords to try and add more qualifying apartments.

However, the federal government has strict limits on what it will pay per unit, convincing some landlords to stay away from the program.