For the first time in four years, the Chester Housing Authority is accepting housing applications for the nearly 800 public rental properties it manages.But those who qualify to apply - low-income families, seniors, and disabled citizens - should not expect to land a home just yet: 451 applicants currently sit on the public housing agency's waiting list.
Still, the agency is encouraging any residents to apply this month to secure a spot on the waiting list before the application closes again. The last day to apply is Nov. 30.The wait time for reaching the top of the list can stretch anywhere from six months to a few years.The Chester Housing Authority serves Delaware County's only city, home to nearly 34,000 residents.
One-third of residents live below the poverty line.To qualify for public housing, the agency evaluates annual gross income and an applicant's U.S. citizenship or immigration status. Credit and criminal report checks are also run. In Chester, a sole applicant may not earn more than $17,050 annually. The limit for a four-person family is $24,350.
The opening of the application does not include the federal government's housing choice voucher program, in which residents receive a subsidy to pay a portion of their rent to a private-market landlord. The Chester agency assists about 1,600 families in administering the program.