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MHA to suspend taking housing applications

Due to a waiting list containing four years’ worth of applications, the Mission Housing Authority will temporarily refuse incoming housing applications next month.

“We really don’t have a problem, it’s just we have an excessive amount of applications on file which is normal,” newly appointed interim MHA Executive Director Antonio “Tony” Sandoval said. “Some agencies regularly close their waiting lists for weeks or months, we just want to get a handle on it since I just started here.”

The suspension was approved at the regular board meeting for the housing authority last month and a legal notice announcing the upcoming suspension was published on the Progress Times’ Friday, Jan. 31 issue.

The suspension will go into effect Friday, March 13 at 5 p.m.

According to Sandoval, that waiting list of applicants for housing has 2,000 applicants waiting to be either housed in one of the 245 low rent units at the housing authority or be part of the 745 section 8 housing units where rent is fully covered by the housing authority. The housing authority is running at about 90 percent capacity for all of its units, Sandoval said.

The housing authority will contact those on the waiting list by mail to ask if they still want to be on the list. Those who do not respond will be “purged” from the list, Sandoval said. 

“Some of them may not need housing anymore but it could take up to six weeks to hear back from them. We may have to keep the applications closed because of all the people we have,” Sandoval added. “I hate to give someone a false sense of hope because we get people who apply and then constantly call to ask if they have moved up on the list. You hate to be the one to tell them ‘You’re at the bottom.’”

Sandoval, who previously served as the executive director for the Edcouch Housing Authority, said his housing authority had a similar backlog at one point that caused a suspension in applications that lasted more than eight months.

“I don’t think it will take that long to purge it and get a handle on it because we are blessed with more staff members in this agency,” Sandoval said. “It can be done.” 

This article originally appeared in the Friday, Feb. 7, 2020 issue of the Progress Times.


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