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Final tally: Nearly 43,000 apply for Sacramento’s subsidized housing waiting list

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Mayor Darrell Steinberg talks about establishing a multibillion-dollar fund that would pay for local infrastructure, affordable housing, arts and culture amenities, as well as incentives to attract new industries to the city.
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Mayor Darrell Steinberg talks about establishing a multibillion-dollar fund that would pay for local infrastructure, affordable housing, arts and culture amenities, as well as incentives to attract new industries to the city.

Nearly 43,000 people have filed applications to join a waiting list for subsidized housing in Sacramento, officials said Wednesday.

By Tuesday night’s deadline, 42,913 people had entered the lottery for 7,000 slots on the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency’s waiting list for the Housing Choice Voucher Program, formerly known as Section 8. The SHRA started accepting applications Jan. 16.

Only 7,000 people will land a spot on the list, and they likely will have to wait one to two years before finding suitable housing, officials said.

The final application tally was slightly lower than it was in 2014, when the housing authority last opened the waiting list, said spokeswoman Angela Jones. That year, about 46,000 people applied for 5,000 slots, she said.

This year, 7,000 applicants will be selected from a random computerized process to join the waiting list. They will be notified once housing becomes available. Once that happens, recipients must find landlords willing to accept housing vouchers issued by the federal Housing and Urban Development Agency. That task can be a major challenge, housing advocates said.

Under the program, families generally pay landlords in the private market about 30 percent of their income toward rent and utilities in apartments or homes that fall within SHRA’s financial guidelines. HUD, through the local housing authority, pays the difference.

Housing advocates said the large number of applicants reflects the region’s severe lack of housing for people unable to afford market rent.

Average rents in the area have surged from $862 in 2010 to $1,205 last year, statistics show. Last year’s vacancy rate was 2.4 percent. Meanwhile, the homeless population has increased 30 percent since 2015, according to a recent census.

Cynthia Hubert: 916-321-1082, @Cynthia_Hubert

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