Expert: Issues at Section 8 Housing event highlight need for more affordable housing in Hampton Roads

Posted at 3:32 PM, May 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-27 21:22:14-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Chaos in Portsmouth highlighted a problem in our community; the lack of affordable housing.

The Portsmouth Redevelopment and Housing Authority estimated 3,000 people showed up in hopes of getting an application to be put on a waiting list for section 8 housing on Thursday morning.

But the event was shut down and no applications were given out.

Application hopeful Antoinette Franklin said, “They're arguing, they’re fussing, cussing and that just gives Portsmouth an extra bad name.”

Franklin was one of those turned away who was upset over the way the event was organized.

"You got hundreds of people out there packed that won't budge.  They're packed like sardines," she said.

Organizers with the Housing Authority in Portsmouth admit to NewsChannel 3 Thursday afternoon over the phone that there were problems and right now they’re working to create a different system one that’s done completely electronically.

Ed Ware with the Norfolk Redevelopment Housing Authority said there is a huge demand for affordable housing in the region.

"There is certainly a dire shortage of quality and accountable affordable housing in this area. I think one in every three household is paying more than 30% of the gross income for rent and that is way too much money for those households to be paying."

Norfolk will be accepting applications to get on a waiting for Section 8 housing coming up June 4 – an event similar to one that was supposed to happen Thursday in Portsmouth.

Norfolk is doing theirs by phone with an exception for disabled people.

The last time they did this was in 2010  and they had 9,000 people reaching out in a need of help. But many of the people didn't qualify for the waiting list.

"I would say that it's gonna be a busy day for the phone bank," said Ware.

If you live in Norfolk and are interested in trying to get on a waiting list for Section 8 Housing you need to call: 757-624-8615 on June 4 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m..

NRHA says disabled people will be allowed to show up at 910 Ballentine Blvd. in person.

Right now 1,400 people are on the waiting list in Norfolk alone and thousands more in our area in need of an affordable place to live.