Thousands line up for Port Arthur housing assistance

The Port Arthur Housing Authority opened its Section 8 housing voucher waiting list for the first time in nearly three years. As a result, a line of thousands wrapped around the Bob Bowers Civic Center Wednesday in search of permanent housing.

Section 8 is a national program that provides housing vouchers for low-income individuals or families that can be used to pay up to 70% of their rent and utility costs at any privately owned housing that accepts the program.

The thousands who stood in line for hours, some overnight, were not guaranteed a spot in the program, they were simply hoping for a place on the waiting list.

Karmeneisha Landfeir said although she may not hear back for years about whether she made the cut, she plans to keep trying and encourages others to do the same. 

"I'm struggling, I'm a single parent, I'm not working and I just finished school," she said. "Don't be scared to come stand in the line, don't let your pride take over because it's well worth it I'm going to keep trying until I get it."

Port Arthur Housing Authority spokesperson, Cele Quesada, said they expect to be able to provide housing to a third of the eligible families who apply, since they're limited to about 2500 vouchers that will be dispersed at a rate of about 50 a month.

"This is a great opportunity for families that are homeless or working because those are the ones we prioritize," he said.

Last month the Port Arthur Housing Authority paid Section 8 rent for 2,247 tenants. However the housing authority doesn't have any available Section 8 housing right now, only room on the waiting list.


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