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Sunday, May 19, 2024

James City County asking for public feedback on Section 8 plan

Burnt Ordinary Apartments accepts Section 8 housing choice vouchers in James City County. (WYDaily/Courtesy Google Maps)
Burnt Ordinary Apartments accepts Section 8 housing choice vouchers in James City County. (WYDaily/Courtesy Google Maps)

James City County is looking for public input on the plan for Housing Choice Vouchers, commonly known as the Section 8 program.

County officials are hosting a public hearing March 23 when they said in a recent news release they’re hoping to hear from voucher recipients, applicants, and landlords regarding the program’s governing policies and to clarify written local regulations.

The last Housing Choice Voucher Administrative Plan was approved in 2017 and the county Social Services Housing department is taking the public’s feedback into consideration before implementing the 2020 version of the plan.

A draft version of the plan is available on the Housing page of the county’s website for public review, said county Housing Manager Keith Denny in an email.

With about 3,800 applicants on the waiting list for a Housing Choice Voucher in James City County, the list is currently closed to any more applicants, according to the website.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development allocates 184 vouchers to the county annually, Denny added.

“The program currently has 183 assisted participants living in James City County. Of those…35 are ‘Port-In’ vouchers (living in JCC but allocated to other agencies), one is a ‘Port-Out’ voucher  (living in another locality but allocated to JCC),” he said.

While having a voucher provides some choice to residents on where they’d prefer to live, there are only six apartment complexes in James City County where the vouchers are accepted and landlords have historically been less inclined to participate in the program.

“We have been doing a lot of recruitment but there are still many misperceptions about the recipients – and the program – that I feel dissuade prospective landlords, unfortunately,” Rebecca Vinroot, county Social Services director, said in a past interview.

RELATED STORY: Section 8 housing can be difficult to find in James City County — but does it push people out?

Of the more than 3,500 waiting to secure affordable housing, Denny said about 500 of them meet the “local preference of living or working in James City County.”

Other local preferences part of the discussion in March include families who have been involuntarily displaced by government action or a natural disaster, those who’ve been terminated from the program because of lack of funding, and families that include a person with disabilities.

The hearing is open to the public at the county Housing Office, 5320 Palmer Lane, Suite 1A, on March 23 at 5 p.m.

For more information call Keith Denny, 757-259-5349, or review the draft Housing Choice Voucher Administrative Plan by clicking here.  

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