GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Grand Rapids Housing Commission opened up its waitlist this week for people who qualify for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher.

The voucher is a subsidy that helps households find stable and affordable housing in the area in which they want to live.

“Generally, we serve households who are 30% or below of the area’s medium income,” Lindsey Reames, GRHC executive director, said. “They pay generally 30% of their adjusted gross income towards rent and then the housing commission through a subsidy from HUD will pay the landlords the difference.”

This is the first time since 2019 that the program has opened its waitlist. In years past, the program was run on a first-come, first-served basis, but now the applications are all submitted digitally. For those who need help with the application process, the commission has set up a helpline at 616.235.2653.

“Everyone has an equal chance of being one of those 5,000 families on the waiting list,” Reames said. If the number of applicants exceeds 5000, applicants will be selected at random.

“There are 46,000 or nearly 50,000 families who need affordable housing based on their income in Kent County and currently there are only about 35,000 affordable housing units available,” she said.

As of 11 a.m. Monday, Reames said they have already seen 1,100 new applications. The application process will remain open through 11:59 p.m. Friday. People can apply by logging on to

“It’s really important so that all families who live in our community have an opportunity to decent, safe and affordable housing,” she said. “And to feel stable, like they’re not going to lose their housing next week because someone in their household lost a job.”