2013-04-19 / Community

Local housing authorities work together for the public

The Greater Portland Housing Services Corp. is rolling out its first initiative in hopes of providing better service to area residents in need of affordable housing.

The Housing Authorities in Portland, South Portland and Westbrook have joined to create the Greater Portland Housing Services Corp. to undertake regional opportunities and achieve best practices in the delivery of affordable housing programs and services to the residents of Greater Portland.

Its first effort is the creation of a central database and waiting list for applicants to HUD’s Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program that is administered in all three communities. Following establishment of the central waiting list, future applicants will have access to the program through the Internet and be able to apply online, as well as check their status on the list.

The housing authorities have been working for more than a year to establish the organization and create the new database. The program went live April 10, when new applications for the Housing Choice Voucher Program were taken at all three housing authorities.

Other benefits derived from the effort include improved access to the voucher program for applicants, more efficient use of agency staff resources and improved data collection and information about housing needs in the area.

However, housing authority staff emphasize there are no new vouchers or new funding available at this time. In fact, it is experiencing funding cuts due to sequestration.

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