Dowagiac Housing Commission to open Section 8 voucher program waiting list

Published 9:03 am Wednesday, October 27, 2021

DOWAGIAC – Residents of Cass and Berrien counties will soon have a window of opportunity to apply for a government-funded housing program.

The Dowagiac Housing Commission, 100 Chestnut St., will be accepting applications to be on the waiting list for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, which assists low-income individuals and families with rent payment.

The housing choice voucher program is the federal government’s major program to help families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which funds the program.

Connie Gray, Section 8 coordinator for the Dowagiac Housing Commission, said the program operates on a first-come, first-served basis, but prefers to help the disabled, military veterans and those over the age of 62 first.

“The waiting list was last opened in 2019, and hundreds of applications came in,” Gray said. “We have 127 vouchers that are usually rotating because if somebody gets on their feet and then they reach the over-income limit, they have six months in case anything happens.”

Gray said the feeling of helping people get back on their feet is “amazing.”

“Just helping people in general, especially with these hard times we’re facing with the COVID and everything, it’s hard to find an apartment,” she said. “I like working with the public, especially when people are trying to survive, and it’s hard. Our goal is to not have them homeless.”

The amount of assistance the Section 8 voucher provides those who receive one depends on where the applicant lives, what their income is and how big their household is. The income limits per household size are as follows:

  • One person – $23,900
  • Two people – $27,300
  • Three people – $30,700
  • Four people – $34,100
  • Five people – $36,850
  • Six people – $39,600
  • Seven people – $42,300
  • Eight people – $45,050

A family that is issued a housing voucher is responsible for finding a suitable housing unit of the family’s choice where the owner agrees to rent under the program. Pending an inspection, the housing options may include the family’s present residence, according to HUD.

Gray said applicants also will undergo a background check.

“We can’t have somebody that has an assault record or drug-related activity in their record,” she said. “They have to qualify in that way to be issued a voucher as well.”

Section 8 voucher waiting list applications will be available next week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Dowagiac Housing Commission, 100 Chestnut St., Dowagiac. Applications must be mailed to the housing commission at that address, postmarked no later than Friday, Nov. 12.

If an applicant requires assistance to apply, contact Gray at (269) 782-3786 Ext. 3. For more information on the program, visit hud.gov.