For 1st Time in 10 Years, Hawaiʻi’s Section 8 Wait List Opens

August 10, 2016, 1:26 PM HST · Updated August 10, 1:30 PM
Wendy Osher · 27 Comments
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Section 8 waiting list opens. Graphics by Wendy Osher/Maui Now.

Section 8 waiting list opens. Graphics by Wendy Osher/Maui Now.

For the first time in a decade, the state is opening its Section 8 waiting list for housing vouchers.

The list will reopen on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016, and will close at midnight on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016.

In order to increase public access, the Hawai‘i Public Housing Authority is launching a web-based application portal.

The vouchers are specifically for those with the greatest challenges.  Barbara Arashiro, executive assistant with the Hawai‘i Public Housing said, “At this time we are accepting applications from eligible individuals or families who are homeless, victims of domestic violence or involuntarily displaced families.”

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“We also want to encourage those who are homeless to work with service providers to access the application portal,” said Arashiro.  She noted that there is no fee to apply or to have applications processed or reviewed.

The Hawai‘i Public Housing Authority’s program is primarily based on O‘ahu, but the Housing Choice Voucher program allows voucher holders to port their voucher to any state in the nation.

Governor David Ige joined department leaders in making the announcement during an afternoon press conference, saying the state anticipates receiving some 10,000 to 12,000 applications.

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“The Section 8 Housing program, really allows us to move a person or family from a state of homelessness into a permanent situation, with the appropriate support,” said Ige.

“Homelessness is connected to our ability to provide housing for our community at all levels.  Because we don’t have enough homes for our community, we’ve identified three levels of change to address homelessness.  It is about affordable housing; It’s about health and human services; and it’s about public safety.”

A few weeks ago, the administration announced that the state legislature’s $12 million allocation would support each of the three areas mentioned.

Officials with the Hawaiʻi Public Housing Authority say that earlier this year, the HPHA launched a special rent supplement program targeted at homeless families.  The Section 8 Waiting List is yet another housing assistance tool to help with housing in Hawaiʻi.

Over the last decade, HPHA officials say more than 8,000 people have been able to apply and obtain housing through this federally subsidized rental assistance program.  Also over the last decade, the department has seen a 375% increase in landlords participating in the programs.

“Currently there are more than 1,000 landlords who are helping to provide the stability that families need to thrive in our community,” said Pono Shim, chair of the Hawai‘i Public Housing Authority Board.

Rachael Wong, director, Dept. of Human Services “It’s about better serving people in Hawaiʻi, and changing systems in order to invest in children and families and those who most need services and programs.

Wendy Osher
Wendy Osher leads the Maui Now news team. She is also the news voice of parent company, Pacific Media Group, having served nearly 20 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.

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