Fresno Housing Authority starting to accept applications for Housing Choice Voucher for rental assistance

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno County has opened up its Section 8 voucher interest list. The program helps serve low-income families who have trouble meeting the demands of escalating rents.

LINK: Fill out a pre-application online

"I have two kids and you know its hard out here right now so we're just trying to get housing," said Fresno resident Crystal Ellis.

Crystal Ellis lives with her boyfriend and two kids and says it's a struggle sometimes to find a decent place to live for her family while making ends meets.

"It's really hard we're lucky we even got into a place let alone the rent is going up."

She is one of the thousands of Fresno County residents who plan to go online and apply for the housing voucher -- formally known as Section 8.

Rising rents and a low inventory of available housing is expected to make this year's housing lottery extremely competitive.

"So while we might have 40,000 people who submit an interest we'll only be able to help a thousand of those households," said Fresno County Housing Authority CEO Preston Prince.

With only a thousand spots available on the housing authorities waiting list, eligible families for the next two weeks can take advantage of the online application process either at the Fresno County Housing Authority's downtown office or at home.

"A family that's making less than $30k a year gets a voucher from us and they take that voucher and find a rental property within Fresno County they pay 30% of their income towards rent and we pay the difference," said Prince.

Officials say too many local families are in dire need of the county's help when it comes to rental assistance.

"We have a large number of people who are paying 70% of their income towards rent, which means they cant afford food, transportation or investment in their kid's school, that they're spending all their money on their housing," said Prince.

After closing on May 15th, the Interest List will remain open for limited preferences and referral based programs only.

LINK: More information on limited preferences for interest list

Officials said once funding is available, pre-applications will be selected at random using a lottery system and preferences will be applied.

All pre-applications accepted will be included in the random drawings through the end of the year. A final draw will be completed in December 2018. Pre-applications that are not selected will be canceled and will have an opportunity to reapply in the Spring of 2019.

Check the map below for Fresno Housing computer/internet access sites:
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