Housing Authority Closes Section 8 Waiting List

by Diane Tuazon
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - The Odessa Housing Authority has a waiting list of more than 1,000 families needing Section 8 help, and for now the list has been closed.

For Courtney Johnson and her five-year-old son, time is running out for them to find an affordable place to stay.

"In about two weeks, I'm currently getting displaced because of family issues," Johnson said.

That's when she came to Odessa's Housing Authority hoping to find some answers, but she didn't like what she heard.

The agency has had to close off on their list for stand alone homes which are more popular than apartments, especially with families.

"Once our waiting list reaches 1,000 people families, we close it. We're not taking any more at this time," Odessa Housing Authority Director, Mary Naegele said.

"You have to call everyday and even then the wait is at least nine months," Naegele said.

Officials at the Odessa Housing Authority say they're not surprised their waiting list has reached its max.

"It's the economy, and a lot of people are losing their jobs and homes, so now they're coming to get on the waiting list," Naegele said.

Since they're no longer adding any more names to the waiting list for Section 8, Mary Naegele says they're offering other solutions.

"We are referring them to subsidized apartments and the waiting list for that is shorter," Naegele said.

However, for Courtney Johnson, she can only hope her name comes up next on the list.

"I don't know what else to do. I just hope I'll have a place to live," Johnson said.

Officials at the Odessa Housing Authority say the waiting list hold is only temporary. They hope to open it back up by the middle of next year.