Osceola County reopens Section 8 program, bringing out hundreds of applicants in need

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — For the first time in three years, Osceola County opened its Section 8 housing program. But even county officials admit that demand is high and it won’t be enough.


People were already standing in line at Osceola County’s housing office in Kissimmee two hours before it opened, trying to get in line.

Around 1,800 people already have Section 8 in Osceola County. On Thursday alone, hundreds of people showed up at the office to apply, all saying rising housing costs is bringing them there even though they know the odds of landing a voucher aren’t that great.

“I’m along and I receive $900. What do you do with $900,” said Antonia Marcana Rivera, who is seeking housing assistance

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The county said out of what will likely be thousands of applications, 300 will be randomly picked by lottery and put on a waiting list. It could be months or years before people are pulled off that list and put into Section 8 housing.

The county is prioritizing the elderly and disabled adults after 11,000 people applied last time around.

Lendell Crespo, who has autism, said he held down a job for nine years, but the program might be his only chance to afford living independently. The vouchers subsidize rent, meaning only 30% of his income would go toward a place to live.

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“I’ve been living with my mom for a long time, and it’s great that she’s had a roof over my head,” he said. “But I got to realize that she’s not going to always be around.”

County officials said they still want to help people who don’t make it onto that waitlist. Officials said there are other programs and resources for those in need, including one-time rental assistance.

The Section 8 application closes again Saturday at 11:59 p.m.

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