Miscommunication leads to families being removed from Section 8 wait list

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GHURA says they sent out separate letters to notify applicants of the requirement to express continued interest every six months.

Guam – For many families on Guam who rely on public assistance for help, getting into a program such as the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher is a big deal. But, apparently miscommunication between applicants and the Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority is resulting in the removal of families from the waiting list.

The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program waiting list was opened earlier this year, allowing applicants to participate in a lottery with the potential to win a spot on the two-year waiting list for housing assistance.

If chosen, the lucky applicant receives a congratulatory letter in the mail with instructions on what to do next. So, what’s the problem?

For several applicants, they alleged that they received another letter in the mail, specifically a notice of action removing them from the waiting list for a failure to notify GHURA in writing of continued interest in the Section 8 program.

According to PNC sources there have been several complaints received by GHURA for failure to notify continued interest.

However, nowhere in the congratulatory letter or the post lottery advisement sheet does it indicate that the applicant must submit a letter of continued interest every six months.

“As the six-month anniversary approached they should have received a letter from [us] saying you have to indicate, give us a notice of continued interest. They should have received that letter as well,” stated GHURA Director Mike Duenas.

Herein lies the problem as several complaints from Section 8 applicants allege that letter from GHURA was never received. In addition to this, GHURA’s website for the Section 8 program only advises the applicants of their status in the wait list.

“Well, I guess we know they have a valid mailing address if they received the notice of termination. But they also would have been informed on what to do if they felt that they did everything they could to comply with the regulations,” said Duenas.

GHURA is adamant that the letter was sent out to all applicants and a copy of that letter was placed in the applicant’s file, however, without a postage stamp there is no way to indicate whether or not the letter was actually received by an applicant.

But there still may be hope for applicants who received the notice of action letter. Applicants have ten days from the date of the notice of action letter to file an appeal and according to Duenas, if an appeal is granted, the applicant would be placed back on the waiting list in the same spot they were removed from.

 

SOURCEJolene Toves
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Jolene Toves
Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.