Over 5,000 on Chattanooga public housing wait list - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Over 5,000 on Chattanooga public housing wait list

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -- Hundreds of public housing units have been torn down in Chattanooga over the last several years, leaving thousands of people needing a place to live that they can afford.

Friday, 100 of them got knocked off the Chattanooga Housing Authority's long waiting list.

The Chattanooga Housing Authority hosted a lottery, drawing names at random from a large pile of applications for the "Housing Choice Voucher Program, but many are still left to do some more waiting.

"It's like playing the real lottery. The mega millions and stuff like that," Dana said.

He's is one of more than 5,000 people on CHA's waiting list. Dana, and others like him, qualify for Section-8 housing, but there's simply no units available.  "It's been kind of hard you know. I mean you just have to be constantly working," he said.

He's been waiting for two years, while couch surfing at family member's homes. "Trying to make do there, but it would be nice having your own home," Dana said.

Crews are putting the finishing touches on two new complexes opening over the next couple of months. There will be 18 units at Fairmount Avenue Townhomes and 48 at Maple Hills Apartments.

"The residents who come into these brand new sites will be working and be involved in self-sufficiency initiatives," CHA Executive Director Betsy McCright said.

That means not everyone on the waiting list qualifies for the lottery. It's part of the new Upward Mobility Program, where they have to pass a background check and work or go to school at least 30 hours a week. Only one eligible applicant showed up for Friday's lottery.

"We were prepared for the masses, but they didn't come this time," McCright said.

They pulled 100 names in Friday's lottery. If they weren't there, they'll get a letter in the mail. Dana left disappointed after finding out he's on a different list, the one from 2010, which will be in next week's lottery.

"Next week, that's the lottery drawings with my name in it so I'm going to sit down and pray that I'll be picked," Dana said.

After a tough couple of years, he hopes his luck will change. "It would be a big relief," Dana said.

The next lottery will be during the grand opening of Fairmount Townhomes next Wednesday. The Maple Hills Apartments open the end of June.

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