Oakland Opens Up Public Housing Waiting List
Oakland's housing authority is opening up the waiting list for public housing for the first time in three years.
Harry Burkes is one of scores of people who lined up at libraries Monday for help with the application. He said living on disability has kept him stuck in a residential hotel.
"I would like to have an opportunity to live in my own apartment," said Burkes, "and with my income you can't do that around here."
Applicants will compete in a lottery for the promise of an apartment in one of nine locations around the city, where rent is capped at 30 percent of income.
But the odds aren't great. Oakland housing authority director Eric Johnson says in 2009, the last time around, 54,000 people applied and only 10,000 were selected.
Johnson says even those who are chosen may have to wait up to three years for a unit to open up.
"It's a wait no matter how you cut it," he said. "There just isn't enough affordable housing, and given the economy now, there's more and more need, and less and less available."
Oaklanders have until midnight Friday to apply.