Housing authority puts moratorium on applications

December 13, 2013
For the first time in recent memory, Washington County Housing Authority is not accepting applications from prospective tenants. - Observer-Reporter Order a Print

For the first time anyone can remember, Washington County Housing Authority has stopped taking applications from prospective residents who want to be placed on its waiting list for public housing.

The moratorium, imposed administratively, has been in place since last month.

Stephen Hall, executive director of the housing authority, said the waiting list, which reached 500, was closed for several reasons.

The housing authority is putting a new computer system into place, so no new applications will be taken until that is up and running in mid-January, he said.

The authority also is using this time to contact those who are on the waiting list to determine if their names should be removed because they have moved from the area or, for whatever reason, are no longer seeking public housing.

The demand for both public and Section 8 housing has been evident in Washington County since the Great Recession struck in autumn 2008.

Some landlords also found it more lucrative to rent to the private sector as the county experienced an influx of Marcellus Shale workers.

Section 8 is a voucher program for income-eligible renters who pay private landlords 30 percent of income while public dollars make up the remainder of the rent. The inventory of Section 8 units in Washington County is 1,002.

Washington County’s Section 8 program opened up its waiting list over the summer after not taking applications for about two and a half years. But that, too, is again closed.

“I think we were probably up around 600 or 700,” Hall said of the Section 8 waiting list.

Hall said the waiting list is purged annually, but it was done without a moratorium either because the list was shorter or because there was no computer system transition.

The followigng are Washington County’s major public housing communities, which include 1,011 units:

• Bentleyville: Bentley Tower

• California: California Apartments, California Manor, California Terrace, Riverview Apartments

• Canonsburg: Valley View Terrace and townhouses

• Donora: Highland Terrace and townhouses

• Fredericktown: Frederick Terrace

• Monongahela: Monongahela Townhouses, Monongahela Manor

• New Eagle: Lignelli Manor

• North Charleroi: Nathan Goff Apartments

• Washington: Lincoln Terrace, Maple Terrace, Crumrine Tower, Bassettown Manor, Jollick Manor.

Barbara S. Miller covers politics, Washington County government and a variety of other topics for the Observer-Reporter. She is a graduate of Washington & Jefferson College, majoring in English and history. Follow her on Twitter @reporterbarb.

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