The Lycoming County Housing Authority is making it easier for military veterans and their survivors to receive public housing.
On Thursday, the authority updated its policy to give veterans and their spouses preference when selecting applicants to receive public housing, including Section 8 vouchers.
The policy now provides those applicants with reference points toward their ranking on the authority's public housing waiting list, said MeriLyn Severson, authority executive director.
Preference points also are given to county residents, those who are employed, are enrolled in or have graduated from an educational or training program, are in the low income bracket or have been displaced.
Barbara Hoover, resident services director, suggested the policy change, Severson said, adding that it is important to implement the policy change.
The authority members agreed, voting unanimously in favor of a resolution implementing the policy.
The authority also approved a policy change that will create a jurisdiction-wide waiting list for those seeking public housing.
Prior to the change, those seeking public housing could have their names placed on one or more of eight waiting lists maintained by the authority, Severson said. But, the lists were cumbersome and hard to manage.
With a single jurisdiction-wide list, applicants for public housing will be able to turn down an opening at a particular housing development if they do not want to live there without losing their place on the waiting list, she said.
The authority agreed to open a Section 8 waiting list, beginning at 8 a.m. Monday. The waiting list will be closed at 4 p.m. Jan. 31.
Section 8 provides vouchers for people who are eligible for public housing but want to live somewhere other than in public housing.
Severson said she does not want to give people "false hope" that more Section 8 funding is available.
The list simply will provide the authority with a pool of applicants for when those now in the Section 8 program leave it, she said.