The Charlotte Housing Authority opened its waitlist for Section 8 housing for the first time in seven years and it has already received more than 10,000 applications.
Libraries and shelters in Charlotte were busy on Monday morning helping low-income Charlotte residents sign up for the Housing Choice Voucher. That's the new name for Section 8.
Twenty-three-year-old Ronnequeh Stinson submitted her application at the Beatties Ford Library to get onto the waitlist for a housing choice voucher.
"Oh my gosh, from homeless to a house, it'd be great. I've been staying at Florence Crittenton maternity home and once you have your baby, they don't let you come back with your baby," Stinson says. "You have to find somewhere to stay. So that's where I'm at right now. Hopefully I can get this voucher and get somewhere to stay."
She has a three-month old son and has been staying with her mom for the past few weeks. Because she is homeless, her application will move to the top.
Others who receive preference are domestic violence victims, seniors and veterans. But all applicants must be low-income and make less than 30 percent of the average income in the area where they live. For example, the total household income for a family of four living in Mecklenburg County can't be more than $19,250.
Zenica Chatman with the Charlotte Housing Authority says there are only about 4,900 housing vouchers available in the Charlotte area.
"We're opening the waitlist now because we've exhausted all of the potential applicants on the previous list and so having a solid waitlist just allows us to have a pool in the event that vouchers become available," Chatman says.
In its first day, more than 10,000 applications were received through the website CharlotteWaitlist.org. That's the total number of applications received the last time applications were being accepted in 2007. Chatman says that doesn't mean people shouldn't apply – applications are prioritized based on individual situations.
Deronda Metz is the Director of Social Services at the Salvation Army Center of Hope shelter for women and children. She says the lines were long and the computer labs were busy.
"Charlotte has a huge affordable housing crisis,"Metz says. "It's suggested that your housing is 30 percent of your income, but for a lot of people we serve, it may be 70 to 80 percent."
She says more than 100 women submitted their applications at the shelter on Monday. The application deadline is Friday, September 26 at 5 p.m.