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Tucson public housing & Section 8 waitlists close Monday

Tucson public housing & Section 8 waitlists close Monday

  • The Martin Luther King, Jr. Apartments in Downtown Tucson are among the few that accept federal Section 8 housing vouchers in Tucson.
    Paul Ingram/TucsonSentinel.comThe Martin Luther King, Jr. Apartments in Downtown Tucson are among the few that accept federal Section 8 housing vouchers in Tucson.

Tucson will stop accepting pre-applications for their housing waitlists at 11:59 p.m. Monday, giving renters one last weekend to apply online or in-person. These are applications that would give low-income renters a chance at staying at city-owned low-cost apartments and single-family housing or at applying for Section 8 federal vouchers to help pay for private housing.

The city opened the pre-application period for public housing and vouchers on Jan. 3 for the first time since 2017. Tucson had suspended applications after running low on funding needed to continue assisting new tenants. Now, after three weeks, applications are set to close as the city prepares to start selecting people for the waitlists.

The city has about 5,200 housing vouchers available to help low-income tenants afford rent in private housing. Tucson also owns about 1,500 housing units spread out among about a dozen properties.

A computer-run lottery will be done every month starting in February to pick who gets on the waitlists.

No advantage comes from having submitted information earlier in the submission window, but only applications made during the three-week period will be accepted. Once a person is selected, they then have to go through a process to make sure they’re eligible for housing vouchers or city-owned units. Qualifying for either is based on income guidelines.

A list of city-owned housing is available on the last pages of the city’s public notice about the opening of the waitlists.

People can apply for both housing and for vouchers though some housing units have different requirements such as household size. Preference is given to people living and working in Pima County as well as to the elderly and disabled based on a point system used for people on the waitlist.

Applications can still be submitted for a chance to get on the list. People can apply in person or online and can use public transportation to get to application centers.

The online applications can be done on a city website and will ask for information such as:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • Preferred contact method (phone or email)
  • Information on family members
  • Household income
  • Veteran or disability status (if applicable)

However, applicants will not be required to provide Social Security numbers or any form of payment. One application may be submitted per household, and duplicate applications will be removed.

The pre-application should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete, according to the city of Tucson.

Everyone will get a confirmation number once they submit their pre-application, and the city advises that people be sure to save this number by both writing it down and emailing it to yourself at the end of the application process.

Online and in-person applications are available in English, Arabic, Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin, Spanish, Swahili, and Vietnamese.

People can also request other formats for application, such as paper applications, large print, braille or with the help of translation or interpreting services.

Tucson housing staff and other services providers will offer assistance with the application for those who visit the onsite application locations.

The onsite locations can be found throughout Pima County, including in Ajo, Picture Rocks and Catalina. Those sites can also be found mapped online on the same website where people can apply.

People who need transportation to get to those locations to apply are encouraged by the city to contact Sun Tran Customer Service at 520-792-9222. The Sun Tran Customer Service will connect callers with their Eligibility Office to see if they can use the Sun Van. Persons with disabilities can request transportation at TDD (520) 628-1565

Anyone who needs access to a computer or smartphone to apply can use public computers at all Pima Public Libraries and the following City of Tucson Recreation Centers:

  • Donna Liggins Center, 2160 N. 6th Ave.
  • El Pueblo, Activity Center, 101 W. Irvington Rd., Bldg. 9
  • El Rio, 1390 W. Speedway Blvd.
  • Fred Archer Center, 1665 S. La Cholla Blvd.
  • Freedom, 5000 E. 29th St.
  • Morris K. Udall Center Carol West Senior Addition, 7200 E. Tanque Verde Rd.
  • Quincie-Douglas, 1575 E. 36th St
  • William M. Clements Center, 8155 E. Poinciana Dr.

The city of Tucson’s Housing Department at 310 N. Commerce Park Loop will be open on Friday and Monday until 7 p.m. as well as on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for in-person assistance to complete the application.

Anyone can email for questions or leave a message at 520-791-5840. Calls are guaranteed to receive a response within 24 hours of leaving a message, according to the city. The deaf or hard of hearing can contact AzRelay 7-1-1.

In recent months, the city of Tucson has changed their housing policy in notable ways. For one, landlords throughout the city cannot turn down applicants because they rely on Sec. 8 housing vouchers or any other form of assistance, though former Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican, tried to challenge that policy during his final days in office.

New Attorney General Kris Mayes, a Democrat elected in November, said on Thursday that the city doesn't need to repeal their source of income protection to align with state law, which should clear the way for the city to continue enforcing the policy.

The city of Tucson also started enforcing evictions in their public housing units again after suspending rent collection during the pandemic. Nearly 200 residents of city-owned housing were behind on their rent as of Aug. 1.

Bennito L. Kelty is’s IDEA reporter, focusing on Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access stories, and a Report for America corps member supported by readers like you.

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