A single mother of two came to the Chattanooga Housing Authority's landlord fair desperate to find housing. She has one month before her Housing Choice Voucher expires.
"For the past three months, I've been looking relentlessly, nonstop. Basically, this is my last resort," Bridgette Lewis said.
Lewis was among more than 50 Housing Choice Voucher holders attending the housing agency's landlord fair Tuesday. About a dozen landlords came.
"We're trying to help people on the Section 8 programs find suitable homes," said Chanda Strickland, property manager at Mountain View Property Management in Hixson.
Landlords interested in renting to Housing Choice Voucher holders can call 423-668-2374.
The city's homeless program coordinator, Heather Cook, private landlords, a Rainbow Creek Apartments representative and a property manager with a listing on Youngstown Road also were available.
The purpose of the meeting was to help people who need to connect with landlords willing to rent to them.
Housing officials said they expect to open the Housing Choice waiting list and sign people up for housing vouchers again before the end of the year.
CHA plans to have another landlord fair after the waiting list opens, said CHA's Executive Director Betsy McCright.
For years, the housing authority issued thousands of vouchers, but not everyone found housing.
"The one thing that's kind of been missing in our staffing is directly connecting voucher holders with willing landlords," McCright said.
Only 30-50 percent of people with vouchers found housing in 2014 because so few landlords accepted vouchers, according to CHA officials.
Housing officials assigned a housing navigator this month to connect vouchers with landlords willing to rent to them.
Theresa Biggs, the housing navigator, hosted her first landlord fair Tuesday.
The housing authority needs to get 120 people leased by the end of the year to get full funding for its voucher program.
"We're trying to achieve full utilization, which has eluded us for a couple of years," McCright said.
Contact staff writer Yolanda Putman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 757-6431.