Wait list for public housing closes Friday

Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Jasmine Tate and her daughter, Jordan, 3, stand outside the Augusta Housing Authority. Ms. Tate and her children were on the waiting list since May, and are preparing to move into a unit.

The waiting list for public housing in Richmond County will be closed at 5 p.m. Friday because of the high volume of applicants.

When the Augusta Housing Authority posted an ad in The Augusta Chronicle on Saturday to announce the closing, the list had 3,765 applicants, said Sevi Roberson, director of management for the housing authority. By Tuesday, the number had grown to 3,893. At 5 p.m. Wednesday, it was 3,915.

The housing authority also has to relocate residents from Underwood Homes, which still has about 70 families living in the units, Ms. Roberson said. The residents must leave the complex, slated for demolition, by the end of the month.

"If I wasn't relocating families for Underwood, I would be pulling families from the waiting list," Ms. Roberson said.

The list was last closed in September 2007 with 4,700 applicants on the list and reopened six months later, she said.

Jasmine Tate and her children, ages 8, 6 and 3, were on the waiting list since May, but are preparing to move to Dogwood Terrace.

Ms. Tate's family has been homeless since July 28, a criterion that expedited her family's application. Ms. Roberson said other criteria for expedited placement include applicants who work 30 hours or more per week, the elderly and the disabled.

It's good timing for Ms. Tate, since her 3-year-old daughter Jordan will be having surgery for a hernia Tuesday.

The family has been staying at the Salvation Army shelter.

"That's not someplace I really want my baby to be when she gets out of the hospital," she said.

Ms. Tate says she signed up for the list when facing eviction from an apartment on Milledge Road. A family member who helped her with her $450 monthly rent was laid off, and with no job, she couldn't afford it on her own.

She would have preferred to sign up for Section 8 tenant-based assistance, but they're not accepting applications.

Ms. Tate is looking forward to moving in with her children.

"I'm ready to have them where they feel at home," she said.

Reach Sarah Day Owen at (706) 823-3223 or sarah.owen@augustachronicle.com.

ADD YOUR NAME TO THE WAITING LIST

The waiting list for public housing closes at 5 p.m. Friday. To apply, visit the office of the Augusta Housing Authority at 1425 Walton Way or apply online at augustapha.org.

The waiting list for Section 8 project-based assistance will remain open through the housing authority. Project-based assistance is a voucher system that pays a portion of the rent to rental property complex owners who have an agreement with the housing authority.