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Over 1,000 families qualify for aid program to cover 70% of rent in Hialeah

Hialeah residents find out if they qualified for housing vouchers
Hialeah residents find out if they qualified for housing vouchers 02:59

MIAMI - After months of waiting and over 5,000 people signing up for the Hialeah Housing Voucher Program – the one that will pay 70% of the rent for low-income families – people have been notified they made the first cut to get federal aid to pay rent.

"This is a wonderful opportunity," said Miami Linda Light. She is one of a thousand people who received this letter from the Hialeah Housing Authority.  

"In a million years, I never thought this would take place, but it did," said Light, who is beyond excited. She is currently living in another city, but is aware the program has a requirement, those picked have to live in Hialeah. 

"I'm ready, bags packed, let's go, get in the car!" 

Alfonso Johnson, 32, also made the cut.

"We give priorities to the elderly, the disabled and homeless people," said Julio Ponce, director of the Hialeah Housing Authority. He says the next step for those elected will be a second letter. 

"I believe is (sent) today that now gives them an appointment to come into the office and bring their documents," said Ponce. 

They have to show their income is less than what the federal government requires, and that they can afford to pay 30% of the rent. 

"I feel that is doable being on social security income," said Alfonso Johnson who filed the application as a disabled person. 

Back in April, dozens of people in need of affordable housing showed up at the John F. Kennedy Library, in Hialeah. Yet, nearly 5,000 applications were submitted online and only 1,000 were chosen and were notified by letters.

"After that, we will issue a voucher, probably in the next 30 to 45 days they will be looking for something to move into," said Ponce.

Marilyn, who is not in the top 20, says there's still light at the end of the tunnel. "It means that I have a chance to have my own place." 

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