Jim Williams, Boulder. On June 16 and 17, 2015, Boulder County will accept applications for distribution of available Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers for the first time since 2008. These vouchers provide rental assistance to qualified low-income households to help them obtain safe, decent, and affordable housing. The program currently serves close to 720 low-income households in Boulder County. It is anticipated that approximately 50 vouchers will be distributed this year. Housing Choice Vouchers supplement rent amounts above 30 to 40 percent of a household’s gross income. In Boulder County, the average assistance is $813 per month.
This type of housing assistance allows a household to select a home from the open rental market, as long as it meets specific program requirements such as rent amount, unit size, and condition. “The housing market is very competitive in Boulder County, and this has driven rental costs up,” said Amanda Guthrie, Housing Assistance Program Manager with the Boulder County Department of Housing and Human Services. “Housing vouchers can make a world of difference in supplementing a household’s budget. And while 50 vouchers this year won’t fill the need in our community, this is a step in the right direction that will positively impact the lives of those households receiving the assistance, and in turn, our community as a whole.”
This year, BCHA changed its tenant selection process to a lottery, in which applicants are randomly selected from the pool based on the same preference point system that has been used in the past. The program gives preference to families with children, the elderly, and people with disabilities, and those who live and/or work at least 20 hours per week and/or go to school full-time within Boulder County limits. The previous waiting list further prioritized applications based on the date and time they were submitted. With the lottery system, this will no longer be the case.
Also new this year is the online application process, which allows applicants to complete and submit their applications, available in English and Spanish, from any location with internet access. Residents who do not have access to a computer or require assistance in completing their application may visit one of four staffed computer sites throughout the county.
After an application is submitted, applicants will receive an immediate email confirmation, and will be notified of their lottery number by mail on or before August 1. Applicants whose lottery numbers are chosen will be contacted for further screening and verification to confirm eligibility. Applications not chosen for this round will be retained for up to two years and will be used in future lotteries as vouchers become available.
For a complete list of application assistance locations and frequently asked questions about the application process and Housing Choice Vouchers, visit www.BoulderCountyHousing.org. Anyone with a disability who needs assistance to fully participate in the application process can call 303-709-3197 at least 48 hours prior to the start of the application period, or call Relay Colorado by dialing 7-1-1.