Newark Housing Authority announces aggressive Section 8 program leasing initiative

Photo Courtesy of Victor Cirilo
Housing Authority Board of Commissioners and Executive Director Victor Cirilo

NEWARK, NJ — Due to an increase in federal funding, the Newark Housing Authority recently announced an aggressive leasing initiative that will assist more than 1,100 new families who live and/or work in the city.

“We are excited to start off the new year with this major announcement,” Executive Director Victor Cirilo said. “Our Section 8 Program is a major vehicle to assure that affordable housing is an available option to residents who need it the most.”

The Section 8 Program has almost 20,000 families listed. Of that number, 14,000 qualify for the Newark preference, meaning the individual on the list either lives and/or works in the city of Newark.

“We have started initial contact by reaching out to families that qualify for the Newark preference by mailing out full applications,” said Duane Knight, director of the NHA’s Section 8 Program. “So far we have contacted over 2,400 families. Our goal is to have all unused and available housing vouchers on the street by the end of June.”

After all the applications are mailed, eligible applicants must fill out the applications and submit them to the Section 8 Program by the deadline attached to the form. Applicants are then screened for income eligibility, a background check including legal citizenship status and preference applicability.

Once the applicant passes the background and verification stage, the housing voucher is issued to the family who then seeks a suitable apartment in the private rental market. 

“Once a family locates a unit, our department performs an inspection,” Knight said. “All units must conform to the city of Newark’s building codes, federal quality standards and local rent control requirements.”

The NHA anticipates reaching its goal by the end of the calendar year. Any current applicant on the waiting list is encouraged to inform the Housing Authority when there are changes in address or family composition. Failure to do this results in the NHA not being able to locate the client once their name is on top of the waiting list.

“It’s a new year and a new vision for the housing authority as we continue to become more proactive in assisting our current residents and those in need,” Cirilo said. “This is just the first of many more announcements and changes planned for the betterment of our residents in 2020.”