Economy

Thousands in Wichita seek rent help in Section 8 program

Since moving to Wichita in April, Jannetta Brass hasn't had much success in finding work at her chosen profession of funeral director and embalmer.

So she works the graveyard shift at a Wal-Mart. Her three children — ages 12, 10 and 8 — sleep at an overnight day care five nights a week and spend the other two with their mom in the Salvation Army's homeless shelter.

"I know it's going to get better, but I'm kind of glad they (the children) are going through it with me," Brass said. "The little one, boy Raymond, he always gives me hugs, 'Mom, it's gonna be all right, we're OK, we're all together, that's all that matters.' "

Brass is thankful for the shelter, which has kept the family off the streets. But she hopes to get some help moving out of homelessness through Section 8, a federally funded and city-administered program that provides rent assistance to people with low incomes.

Even though Wichita's housing costs are among the nation's lowest, there are still thousands like Brass who are seeking help.

The city recently opened an application period for people to get on a waiting list for Section 8 assistance — the first time applications have been accepted in more than a year.

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