Thousands of Dallas Housing Authority voucher applications lost

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by BRAD WATSON

WFAA

Posted on April 7, 2011 at 6:13 PM

Updated Friday, Apr 8 at 10:57 AM

DALLAS - The wait is far from over for thousands of low-income people who were hoping to win a voucher for subsidized housing from the Dallas Housing Authority.

All the online applications made Wednesday for the vouchers through the agency's Web site were erased because of a software problem. So, they'll have to do it again.

Demand is always high for the vouchers that allow tenants to pay no more than 40 percent of their income for rent. Those at the DHA said about 15,000 applications were made online for the vouchers Wednesday. However, they were all lost.

"If you had seen the process, it was beautiful," said Maryann Russ, Dallas Housing Authority president and CEO. "It was very easy to do, very user friendly, but it did not work."

Russ said the agency's software vendor, Yardi Systems, tested the application process except for the volume of entries. When so many were submitted in a short time, the software overwrote them.

Yardi is looking into a solution that Russ said she expects will hopefully come by next week.

"They're going to have to pick up the cost of this," she said. "... They'll have to pay for the advertising; they'll have to pay for the additional staff time."

When the online system is fixed, DHA will reopen the application process for the first time since 2006.

After applications are in, a lottery picks those who get the vouchers. How many depends on federal funding. Then, 5,000 other applicants are placed on a waiting list.

"I am really sorry for the inconvenience this has been for all the families and individuals who applied, but all I can tell you is you will have another shot," Russ said.

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