DHA Is Opening Applications for its Rent Assistance Program Tuesday

Dallas Housing Authority's headquarters in West Dallas
Dallas Housing Authority's headquarters in West Dallas Lucas Manfield
Dallas' housing authority will begin accepting new applications for its housing voucher program at 9 a.m. Tuesday. It's the first time DHA has accepted new applicants to the program in years.

The program provides a voucher that caps rent at 30% of a family's income. It's available to families with low to moderate income as well as those with disabilities. The income limits depend on household size: for instance, a household of four must make less than $66,500.

In the past, DHA managed a waiting list for the popular program, which it would periodically open for a few days at a time. Now, it plans to keep it open for good. Families will be chosen at random when a new voucher becomes available.

"The need is always going to be greater than HUD can fund it." — Jacqueline Chen

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"The rationale for making the change is so that people who need assistance have more of an opportunity to try to apply and get selected from the lottery," said the agency's spokesperson, Jacqueline Chen.

The agency will continue to maintain the wait list for its court-mandated Walker Settlement Voucher Program that gives vouchers to black families who agree to move to low-poverty neighborhoods.

Demand for the program has long outstripped the supply of vouchers provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Unlike the federal food assistance program — commonly known as food stamps — the voucher program isn't available to everyone who qualifies.

"The need is always going to be greater than HUD can fund it," Chen said.

The application process is simple and shouldn't take more than 10-15 minutes, according to Chen. Applicants will need to provide information about everyone in their household, including their Social Security numbers — if they have them — and annual income. Families who aren't selected for a voucher within 18 months will need to reapply.

Once selected, families will then need to go through a more rigorous income verification process.

The application will be available on DHA's website. They've also produced a video explaining the process:

Lucas Manfield is an editorial fellow at the Observer. He's a former software developer and a recent graduate of Columbia Journalism School.
Contact: Lucas Manfield