DHA: Myths associated with Housing Choice Voucher

Dothan Housing Authority just closed another round of voucher applications, but what do those vouchers provide? And who qualifies for them?
Published: Aug. 10, 2023 at 7:17 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - The Dothan Housing Authority just closed another round of Housing Choice Vouchers applications.

This program, formerly known as Section 8, has one goal—to help renters afford housing of their choosing, but as Leah Gunn with the Dothan Housing Authority explains, there are myths associated with the program.

“When we’re talking about the waitlist, the Housing Choice Voucher waitlist, that is not a form of rapid re-housing,” Gunn explained.

Time on the waitlist starts at a minimum of two years or longer. So, according to Gunn, they see the program as a long-term fix.

“Because once you do receive your voucher, this is an opportunity for your life to change,” Gunn said.

Those getting vouchers pay a reduced rent based on their income. The federal funding the housing authority receives covers the difference.

“The city of Dothan is, I believe, almost 72 thousand people strong and so when we talk about having around 7 thousand people on our waitlist in need of affordable housing services,” Gunn said. “And so, it’s really important that the public understands that affordable housing doesn’t have a face it doesn’t have a look it’s people from all different walks of life.”

There’s no shortage of people in need of home but there is a shortage elsewhere.

“We need landlords and developers in this area to partner with us so that we can take those units put them on our program and we can help house the Wiregrass,” Gunn told News4.

She attributes the lack of interest for landlords to join the program to the stigma of housing vouchers.

“If we can be perfectly honest, there’s a lot of myths associated with the program we automatically assume they’re poor renters, they have poor credit history, they’re not the ideal rental candidate and that’s not true.”

Dothan Housing offers tenant education programs that teach how to be a good renter. They also offer landlord incentives like direct deposits, a designated landlord liaison, and sign-on bonuses.

If you are interested becoming a landlord partner with Dothan Housing, you can stop by their office Montana Street in Dothan or call them at 334-794-6713.

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