5,000 spots are opening on Miami-Dade’s Section 8 waitlist. Here’s what to know

After three years, Miami-Dade County is reopening its Section 8 housing voucher waitlist.

Residents can use the vouchers to help pay their rent at privately owned properties, where rent prices would be subsidized by at least 70%. While the eligibility varies depending on family size and income, a family of four would need to make $51,600 or less to receive a voucher.

Residents seeking a voucher will have between midnight on Monday, Feb. 5, and 11:59 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 19, to submit a preliminary application to get on the waitlist.

After the application period closes, a computerized lottery will be conducted to select which 5,000 of those applicants will get on the waitlist. But the past few times the list has opened, demand far exceeded that number. Public Housing and Community Development Director Alex Ballina said when the waitlist last opened in 2021, the county received 96,000 applications over a two-week period, with 35,000 of those applications being filed within the first day of the waitlist opening.

“We don’t have enough vouchers. We have a major supply and demand imbalance here in Miami-Dade County,” Ballina told the Miami Herald. “We’re always lobbying the federal government and [the Department of Housing and Urban Development] to give us more vouchers. The need is like I’ve never seen before in Miami-Dade County history.”

Ballina said there are about 18,000 households with Section 8 vouchers in Miami-Dade County and 46,000 people living in those homes.

RELATED: In a day, more than 35,000 people sign up for Miami-Dade’s new Section 8 waiting list

On Monday, June 5, 2023, Miami-Dade Public Housing Director Alex R. Ballina is photographed at his office after a brief interview with the Miami Herald.

On Monday, June 5, 2023, Miami-Dade Public Housing Director Alex R. Ballina is photographed at his office after a brief interview with the Miami Herald.

The waitlist doesn’t open up frequently because it’s based on the number of vouchers the county has, according to Ballina. He said the waitlist has a 5% attrition rate and that many people leave the list after experiencing a life-changing event.

“Either you started to make too much money to be able to participate in the program, which is a good thing, and then you leave the program,” he said, “or unfortunately, the majority of our attrition is by death — somebody passes away and then they no longer have that voucher.”

Residents 18 or older who meet the income threshold are welcome to apply at miamidadevoucher.myhousing.com. Applicants will be asked for their citizenship status, Social Security number, veteran status and disability status. Residents who do not have a Social Security number must sign a certification at the time of the initial eligibility interview attesting to not having one.

For residents who do not have internet access, Ballina said select libraries and Community Action and Human Services centers will be available for them to fill out applications, or they can call 311 for assistance with submitting an application. Residents can find a full list of those locations at miamidade.gov/housing.

Residents may also call the Miami-Dade County Department of Public Housing and Community Development Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher office at 786-654-8440 if they have questions.

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