Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The Columbia Housing Authority gets about 100 requests for public housing every week. The public housing wait list is now so long, the housing authority will stop taking applications Friday.
"We just don't see it practical to take any more applications," said CHA's Nancy Stoudenmire. "Right now, even if you came in today, it's going to be about 4 years before you get an apartment."
The Columbia Housing Authority has 8,500 families on it's waiting list and only 2,200 units in it's inventory. Less than 1% of those units are vacant.
"We only have about 200 families moving out in a years time. We can only move 200 in," Stoudenmire said.
The long wait list and lack of units come with regular cuts in federal housing money. The Columbia Housing Authority lost more than a million dollars last year alone.
"We have gotten away from a community based model, and toward a Washington DC based model, and it's just not sustainable," said Columbia City Councilman Cameron Runyan.
This year, Runyan has worked to align businesses and churches to find a solution for homelessness in Columbia. He believes the same will have to be done for public housing.
"If we don't employ a collaborative model, it will collapse," Runyan said.
Federal regulations prevent the housing authority from limiting the time someone can stay in a public housing unit.
No time limit is one of the reasons Stoudenmire things the public housing wait list could be closed for the next five years.
"With the economic downturn, I've become discouraged," Stoudenmire said. "I don't know if were ever going to meet the need."