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During a news conference held Oct. 19, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced that the Housing Authority of Cook County has opened its wait list for Housing Choice vouchers for the first time in 18 years. She said that the program will be open to 10,000 applicants, who will be determined at random. Residents have until Nov. 2 to apply. Applications can be accessed at https://myportal.thehacc.org/.

“In the most recent report published by the DePaul Institute for Housing Studies, over 180,000 households across Cook County are facing housing instability,” Preckwinkle said on Oct. 19. “This means that they’re paying more than 30 percent of their total household income just toward rent. In many cases, that percentage is larger. This is unacceptable.”

Richard Monocchio, the executive director of the Housing Authority, said that his agency had already seen high demand for the applications.

“At 10:30 a.m., we had 6,000 applications already,” he said. “We are going to take applications and will cut the list off on Nov. 2, and randomize it to make a list of 10,000. Those 10,000, we hope to be able to house within the next four years.”

Monocchio said that eligible applicants must be at 50 percent of the area median income or below.

“For a family of four that means income can’t exceed $45,500,” he said. “For a one-person household, it’s $31,850.”