2-week public housing lottery begins

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The Wilson Housing Authority opened its public housing waiting list for all units through its housing choice voucher program Wednesday.

Shannon Taylor of Wilson, who is homeless, was among those putting an application in the box at the housing authority’s main office.

“It’s a lot of applications in there,” Taylor said. “I just hope I’m one of those lucky people.”

“We last opened the housing choice voucher program to a similar lottery in 2015 and more than 1,600 applied for 250 slots,” said Wilson Housing Authority spokesman Timothy Rogers. “It says a lot about the need for affordable housing and how many people in the community need housing assistance.”

It was a steady flow of people filling out applications Wednesday. Applications are also being accepted for C. Bruce Rose Plaza and Varita Court apartments for people age 62 and up.

Ernestine Jordan of Wilson said she hoped she was one of those chosen after slipping her application in the box.

“I’m getting old. I haven’t got enough money coming in but my Social Security for my rent. I need some help badly,” Jordan said. “Medicaid and that ain’t doing much.”

This was the first time Jordan has applied to the Wilson Housing Authority for help.

“I need it,” Jordan said.

Talencia Barrett of Wilson, another applicant, said she was hoping for better housing and the opportunity to move in a more open environment for her daughter, who will be going off to college in two years.

“I applied so that we could move into a more open area and she would have the better opportunities at different places to succeed in life,” Barrett said.

It was Barrett’s first time signing up for the housing assistance.

It was Crystal Bynum’s first time too.

“I brought my application in today because with the neighborhood that we are currently living in, I want better housing opportunities for my family and myself,” Bynum said. “I am going on a hope and a prayer that I am one of the ones that they choose so I can have better housing for my children.”

The WHA provides public housing for eligible low-income families, the elderly and people with disabilities. Eligibility is based on annual gross income, local preferences and U.S. citizenship or eligible immigration status.

If a family is determined to be eligible, the housing authority will check criminal backgrounds and references to make sure each family member will be “a good tenant.”

“The authority may deny admission to any applicant who may be expected to have a detrimental effect on other tenants or on the community’s environment,” according to the WHA website.

Applications will be accepted through Sept. 19.

Applications can be downloaded at www.wilsonha.org or requested at the WHA office. For more information, call 252-291-2245

The WHA is located at 301 Nash St. E. in downtown Wilson. Hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 8 a.m. to noon Fridays.

New applications may be also turned in or picked up from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays at all public housing offices: Forest Road Homes, 502 Parkview St., Whitfield Homes, 633 E. Walnut St., and E.B. Jordan Homes, 1800-H Fountain Drive.