Demand outstrips housing supply - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Demand outstrips housing supply

By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  As more people lose their jobs, more families are looking to public housing for shelter. The need for housing is far outpacing the supply. 

In Albany, there are about 1,100 public housing units, yet 1,800 families are on the waiting list to get in, and some of those waiting lists are now closed.

Annie Nix is one of the fortunate ones. "I was the first that moved here."

She got an apartment at Arcadia Commons, a federally subsidized housing complex, just as soon as it opened. But apartments like this, as well as public housing units, are hard to come by these days.

"A lot of them want to get in and they can't get in, they got to wait now for sure," said Nix.

Robert Richard was homeless for about four years before he was able to get an apartment through the housing authority. "When I went to their office, they said they got one that fit me just right."

But the housing authority can't say that to many others these days. There are fewer than two dozen apartments available, but 1,800 people are on waiting lists.

"We are seeing, particularly in this last year, increased interest in applying." Executive Director Dan McCarthy knows the economy has a lot to do with increased demand. Unfortunately, supply isn't increasing.

"The numbers are getting so large, we've got enough applicants to fill all of our units in our inventory although we've only got 21 vacancies today."

And with only 20% turnover each year, it would take almost a decade to clear the list. "If we didn't take any more applications and we rented to all those 1,800, it would take nine years to get to everybody."

Because once people find a home, they don't want to let it go. At least not Betty Norton. "I'm staying, so you can't have my apartment."

You'll just have to get on the list, if you can. Families who earn less than 80% of the median income limit established by HUD qualify

Rent is based on 30% of a family's annual adjusted gross income.

 

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